At the heart of every magical Christmas Day is the all-important festive lunch. Who doesn’t love indulging in a feast of turkey, crispy roast potatoes, and of course the 'pièce de résistance': the Christmas pudding? However, even more than the crunch of the crispy potatoes or the salty goodness of the gravy, is the coming-together of all the family to spend quality time together on this special day. Priceless.
What’s not priceless, though, is the cost of ingredients. Especially if you’re cooking for lots of family and friends this year. If the thought of your festive grocery shopping bill is putting you off your mince pies, follow our top tips for saving money on your Christmas lunch.
This is the golden rule whenever you’re trying to save money. If you do your shopping last-minute, it’s far more likely that you’ll throw things you don’t really need into the trolley. Carefully plan what you’re going to serve on the day, how many portions are required, and write out a detailed shopping list. When you’re in the supermarket, make sure to stick to the list and try not to get sidetracked by tempting offers or tasty treats.
Use a Price Comparison Website
You can compare supermarket prices online using handy comparison sites. Mysupermarket.co.uk is a good one, or if you’re app-savvy then try out Grocery Pal on iTunes or in the Google Play Store. Even just a quick scan of the major supermarkets’ websites for a comparison of what deals are on offer on some of your more expensive goods like meat and alcohol can save you significant amounts on what’s inside your Christmas trolley.
Ask Friends & Family to Bring a Dish
It might sound like cheating, but the more help you can get, the easier, more affordable and more enjoyable Christmas Day will be. It even helps people feel more involved on the day, and can make for great tabletop conversation. Ask everyone to bring something along with them (maybe co-ordinate a little beforehand to avoid duplicate items!) and you’ll soon have many of the key ingredients of a Christmas feast sorted for you.
Raid the Cupboards
Many of us feel that we need to start completely from scratch for Christmas, and this is where the serious overspending can happen. Before you go shopping, have a thorough search through your cupboards for anything you’ve forgotten about. You’ll almost certainly find something that will come in handy. Just be sure to check the use-by dates.
Use Those Leftovers
There’s a reason why bubble and squeak is so popular nowadays in fancy restaurants - it may be made of leftovers but it’s also utterly delicious! There’s so much you can do with the leftovers of a Christmas dinner, and gourmet turkey, pigs-in-blankets and stuffing sandwiches can make for a Boxing Day meal to rival the big day itself. Also, look online for curries made with the leftover meat, pasta bakes with the leftover roasted veg, and much more.
Choose your Turkey Wisely
If you’re the sort of family that likes to eat Christmas leftovers until New Year’s Day, buy a large turkey and get value for money. If you know you’re unlikely to want to look at another dry-as-a-bone turkey for a whole year, buy a small bird - or even a chicken. We won’t tell if you won’t.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk