It is not surprising that the Christmas holidays are going to be a hugely expensive period for you.
Whether its buying presents for family and friends, buying a Christmas tree and decorations, attending events or purchasing heaps of festive food and drink for the big day – the costs can very quickly amount to a shortfall in funds.
But here’s the catch:
The Christmas dinner doesn’t have to cost you a kidney.
On the contrary, you can still provide your guests with a superb meal without breaking the bank.
Fancy finding out how?
Read our five tips on creating the perfect Christmas dinner on a budget!
Don’t have time to read our tips in full? Here’s a breakdown of the fundamentals.
✔️ Tip 1: Save money on your Christmas booze by buying in bulk
✔️ Tip 2: Don’t overspend on the Christmas dinner by getting your quantities right
✔️ Tip 3: Keep the costs of buying ingredients down by cooking from scratch
✔️ Tip 4: Avoid over-paying on core Christmas dinner items by buying in advance
✔️ Tip 5: Avoid wasting surplus cooked food by being creative with your leftovers
Tip 1: Buy your booze in bulk
With the vast majority of the UK population enjoying a tipple or two over the festive period, this is potentially going to be one of your biggest outlays.
In this respect, you need to plan accordingly.
The good news for you is that the major supermarket chains become fiercely competitive in the booze department in the lead up to Christmas, meaning that there are some excellent deals to be had.
Notably, you will likely find that supermarkets offer their best deals and promotions on alcohol when you are prepared to buy in bulk. For example, if you’re after a good number of beers for the big day, supermarkets will typically offer a rock-bottom price when you pick-up multiple packs of cans.
Similarly, you will also find some exceptional deals when you buy at least two or more bottles of spirit. In most cases, you can ‘Mix and Match’ your chosen bottles, which is fantastic.
Tip 2: Get your quantities right
When it comes to sourcing the ingredients for our Christmas dinner, we are all guilty of buying significantly more than we need to on the age-old ‘just in case’ conundrum.
However, if you’re looking to make the Christmas dinner on a budget, then it is crucial that you get your quantities right.
How many guests are coming to the table?
If some attendees are yet to confirm whether or not they will be able to make it, consider giving them a cut-off point.
Otherwise, you will end up buying more food than your guests will be able to eat. Avoiding wasting valuable funds is the top priority.
Once you have established the number of people that will be attending the big day, you’ll need to make some estimations as to how much of each item you’ll need.
You don’t want to under-budget in the quantity department, especially when you consider that most of us like to over-indulge at Christmas.
You’ll play safe by adding 20% on top of your perceived quantities. Ultimately, even if you do go slightly over, you’ll still spend less than what you would have of done in buying ingredients for guests that ended up canceling at the last minute.
Tip 3: Cook from scratch where possible
When it comes to the specific food itself, you should strive to cook as much of the Christmas dinner from scratch as possible. This will benefit you on two-key fronts. First and foremost, you will all-but-certainly find that the cost of cooking key food items from scratch is significantly cheaper than buying ‘Ready-Made’ items.
Moreover, not only does cooking from scratch add an element of ‘Wow’ to the end product – but if done correctly, it is likely to taste much better than buying it in.
For example, why waste money on pre-made pouches of expensive gravy when you can easily make it from scratch?
You’ll find that most of the ingredients are already sitting in your cupboard!
Similarly, it is also wise to stay away from vegetables that have already been pre-cut. Sure, this removes the need to spend hours peeling and chopping but buying your vegetables pre-cut will cost you more.
Get your fellow family members to help out with the cutting duties and enjoy the Christmas vibe in full.
Tip 4: Buy in advance
Although major supermarkets typically engage in booze pricing wars in the lead-up to Christmas, this isn’t always the case in the core food department.
Because retailers know that you’re buying essential food items for the big day, they often increase their prices.
As you get closer and closer to the 25th, expect this trend to continue. As a result, we would suggest buying what you need well in advance.
While some items are best purchased fresh as close to Christmas as possible, others are perfectly fine to be kept in the freezer.
Moreover, when it comes to non-fresh food items like chocolate, sweets, and crisps – you can buy these as and when a promotion arises.
Buying your food in advance comes with another benefit in the budget department: Instead of having to find the required funds to pay for everything in one go, you can spread your purchases out.
Tip 5: Be creative with your leftovers
Although we have explained the importance of getting your quantities right, rarely will you get it spot-on.
You should expect a good number of leftovers from the Christmas dinner. This is likely to leave you with surplus Turkey.
If you are, don’t be fooled into thinking that you are limited to just Turkey sandwiches.
On the contrary, there are heaps of Turkey-based dishes that you could try making – so be creative!
This could include anything from a Turkey curry, soup, or salad. To help you along the way – the team at Good Housekeeping has listed 24 Best Leftover Turkey Recipes for you.
Can you think of any other cost-saving techniques that can be implemented to yield the perfect Christmas dinner on a budget?
Please let us know in the comments section below!