Christmas dinner on the cheap

For lots of families Christmas dinner (or Christmas lunch) is the highlight of the day, and getting it right is essential. But it rarely comes cheap, as the desire to purchase ever more food and extravagant delicacies seems to increase every year.

So here are my tips to saving money on Christmas dinner while not sacrificing on quality!

#1 Shop around

Today Asda cut the price of many staple Christmas vegetables by over 50%. You can find the following on the shelves for just 20p!:

  • Brussel sprouts – 500g
  • Carrots – 1kg
  • Broccoli – 360g
  • Parsnips – 500g

Not to be outdone, Lidl have responded by knocking a penny off of the above prices.

There’s no point paying over the odds for produce. Shopping around and switching supermarkets can save you pounds, and it all adds up.

#2 Don’t bother with the things nobody likes

Brussel Sprouts are the traditional Christmas vegetable that everyone gets but no-one seems to enjoy actually eating! The same can be said nowadays of the traditional Christmas Pudding – your mum (or your mum’s mum!) may have enjoyed it, but it doesn’t go down a treat in my home. Cut out the things your family doesn’t like and save yourself some cash in the process.

#3 Switch brand where appropriate

Don’t pay over the odds for branded items like stuffing when the supermarket own-brand version is more than good enough. This won’t make a difference if you only switch one or two products, but it all adds up. And no, I’m not suggesting that you go Tesco Value for your turkey!

#4 Use your leftovers

Don’t leave your leftovers to languish in the fridge for days. We almost always make turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day with our leftovers. Here’s how we prepare them:

  1. Slice the turkey thinly – the thinner the better. Allow about 150g for an adult, half for children.
  2. Generously salt the meat.
  3. Secret ingredient – bacon! Streaky or not, smoked or not, doesn’t matter – it just needs to be there.
  4. Mayonnaise. Be generous!
  5. A few lettuce leaves, or any other salad leaves.
  6. Thickly sliced bread. If all you’ve got left has gone a bit hard, put it in the toaster for a little while. Butter well.

And, why not, it’s Christmas so treat yourself with a glass of Champagne or other fizz. Which leads me on nicely to the next tip…

#5 Drinks

Everyone drinks more than they probably should at Christmas time, but that doesn’t mean you should be paying over the odds for your booze. All of the supermarkets fight each other on price at this time of year, and you’ll find that what is cheap in one supermarket is expensive in another. I recommend keeping an eye on the Hot UK Deals alcohol section for the latest and best deals.

Lots of supermarkets offer deals when purchasing multiple bottles of wine at the same time, and you can make real savings when you purchase six bottles, twelve bottles at the same time. So if you’re intending on purchasing a lot of wine, buy it all from the same place and make a saving.

#6 Buy at the last minute

This won’t be for everybody, but if you’re not too fussy about precisely what you want to eat on Christmas day you can save a decent amount of money by purchasing key items on Christmas Eve. The supermarkets are going to be shut for a day, sometimes more, and are very keen to offload remaining perishable items (like meat!) for very low prices. Last year we were able to get 750g of wing rib of beef for £8 – easily three times cheaper than we would have paid not one day before!

Other items to look out for here are things that no-one wants after Christmas Day – mince pies, Christmas Crackers, Christmas pudding, and so on.

Have you got your own tips? Let me know in the comments section below! And have a fantastic Christmas!

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