How to Have a Banging Christmas Dinner on a Budget
Christmas can be an expensive time for all of us, with families in the UK budgeting around £350 for the festive period. Here’s how to save pennies on the Christmas dinner
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But when you’re struggling with your finances, it might not feel like it. We might miss out on the odd Christmas work do, or just send a card to Aunt Ann this year, but the one thing we can’t blow off is the Christmas dinner. But there’s pressure to impress, especially if we’re hosting, so how can we make Christmas dinner that will knock Uncle Ian socks off, and not break the bank?
01. Buy a whole turkey
You might be thinking, ‘I was going to do that anyway’. But buying one large bird for everyone to share is the most cost-effective way to feed large numbers. Also, it means plenty of leftovers for boxing day sandwiches.
02. What about a five-bird roast?
Everyone wants something different? Ann wanted chicken but Ian wanted duck. No problem. Instead of making a turkey, a chicken and a duck, you can get a frozen five-bird roast which includes the stuffing as well! Try Aldi to get a five-bird roast for under £5. And you just stick it in the oven on Christmas morning, fuss-free, more time to spend your Christmas morning with your loved ones.
03. Spread the cost
Buying in advance can be the best way to budget for Christmas dinner. Maybe you’re thinking there’s not that much you can get beforehand because it will spoil but try the frozen section. Let’s be honest, unless you’re Nigella Lawson, frozen Yorkshire puddings are going to beat anything home-made on the day; and they only take a few minutes in the oven. Have a look at tinned vegetables. It might be cheaper to buy fresh carrots, but tinned peas are normally even cheaper than frozen!
04. Be savvy about where you shop
This is great advice for all the time. Whereas it might be nice to shop at M&S or Waitrose, especially at this time of year, it’s not always affordable and we need to be realistic with ourselves. Christmas dinner isn’t worth getting into debt over.
Having a look round these premium supermarkets doesn’t do any harm. Often, they have a lot of exciting and interesting products, so why not take a look around and get some ideas? Everything they have on offer will be something you can make at home with much cheaper ingredients from a budget supermarket like Aldi or Lidl.
05. Cheap gravy can be just as good
Packet gravy has come a long way. These days you can get just-add-water Bisto that tastes like someone has been slaving over the hob all day. And try our hacks, try up some garlic and onions, add hot water, Bisto and the juice from the meat; it’ll taste just as good, if not better than using a premium bought gravy or making it from scratch.
06. Will you really eat all the trimmings?
It’s very easy to overcook on Christmas. You’re thinking I want roast potatoes and mashed, I want broccoli and peas and cauliflower cheese. But all these items will end up in the bin if you don’t eat them in time. Try to be sensible and just buy what you think you’ll eat over the course of three days, after that you’ll be sick of Christmas leftovers anyway!
07. Look for deals
Again, this is great advice for all year round. Shop around and look for deals. Supermarkets will have lots of deals on at this time of year, so keep your eyes peeled for them. Grab the frozen Yorkshires early if they’re on offer, they’ll just sit in the freezer until you need them. And this will help you spread the cost as well.
Worried about Christmas spending?
Working on a realistic budget can make it easier to avoid overspending; and make Christmas more affordable.
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