Hosting Christmas dinner on a budget

December 3, 2021 • Lewis Goldsbury

Bringing all your loved ones together this Christmas?

Whilst no one said you had to break the bank to make hosting Christmas dinner a success, doing it on a budget can feel like an impossible feat. Especially once you start writing that shopping list!

To throw a fabulous Christmas dinner on a budget, give these 7 tips a try. Good luck!

Ask your guests to chip in

When hosting Christmas dinner on a budget, there’s no harm in asking your guests if they can bring a bottle along. Or even to take care of a side dish or particular element of the main meal. Try putting together a list of things you’re happy to delegate. Think honey-roasted carrots, gravy, the cheese board – it’s hard not to get hungry thinking about it! Then share the list with your guests. Chances are they’ll be delighted to contribute and show off their culinary skills!

This could help lighten your load, allowing you to focus your budget and your efforts on the main course. If you need a little help making sure everyone’s on the same page, try the Perfect Potluck Schedule. It’s free to use and makes planning a group meal a piece of cake!

Switch to own brands

There’s something almost taboo about shopping on the cheaper side when it comes to Christmas. But there shouldn’t be! Think of it as shopping smarter, not cheaper. Own brand items are often just as good, if not better.

If you need help hunting for the best deals, head over to a consumer website – such as the MoneySavingExpert. There you’ll find lots of deals and thrifty tips. Helping you stay on budget from now, all the way through to next Christmas!

Stick to your shopping list

It’s that time of the year when the shops are full of scrumptious treats and nibbles. Whilst these are tempting, the pennies soon rack up.

As you make your way down the supermarket aisles, try and resist the temptation. Only fill your trolley with the things that you need. Making a shopping list beforehand will make it easier to stick to a budget.

Cooking from scratch

Pre-prepared foods and microwave meals are convenient and are often just as tasty as meals cooked from scratch. Nonetheless, they are not always the most economic choice when it comes to feeding a table full of people. Preparing your own ingredients may actually pay off if you’re cooking for a large group. Not to mention, it’s often a bit healthier (not that calories count at Christmas!).

And if you want to cut back costs further, consider opting for tinned or frozen food. Using anything but fresh food is often a big no-no around Christmas time. But don’t let the naysayers fool you. Frozen and tinned food can not only be cheaper but did you know that heating frozen or tinned vegetables generally boosts antioxidants compared to just eating them raw? Who knew!

Pick your recipes carefully

Have you ever tried a new recipe and ended up with a handful of random ingredients that are never touched again? We’ve all been there!

If there’s a recipe you’ve been dying to try but you don’t have all the ingredients for, see if any of your friends and family have any of the more unusual ingredients to hand. This could help you avoid spending money on items you can’t see yourself using again or finishing.

DIY table decorations

Having a gorgeous, festive dinner setting is sometimes just as important as the meal. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune to turn your table into a beautiful winter wonderland. There are so many thrifty DIY hacks out there.

Try using natural Christmas decorations such as pine cones, holly, cinnamon sticks and logs. You can find a few of these items out in nature, free of charge, and they’ll go a long way to spruce up your festive table.

Plus, if you have leftover wrapping twine and ribbon, you can use this to tie around your cutlery or napkins! You could also use scraps of fabric. And for a tablecloth substitute, try using a cosy cable knit blanket.

Again, you could also ask your guests for any spare decorations they may have at home.

Make the most out of leftovers

When we think of Christmas, we think of laughter, joy and, most importantly, full bellies. No matter how hard we try, we always tend to overestimate how much our loved ones will actually consume. So, what should you do with your leftovers?


  • Crumbling up your leftover mince pies or Christmas pudding
  • Mix it with some ice cream
  • And then put it in the freezer for later!

This will give you a tasty treat post-Christmas day. You can also get creative with your leftover veg and meat. Browse this list of Easy Christmas Leftover recipes for some inspiration.

Christmas really is a magical time of the year. But often the cost of food, decorations, and presents can pinch your pockets.

If you need a helping hand this Christmas, we have a variety of products on offer to support you. You can apply for flexible finance for a range of home essentials – including fridges, cookers and other Whirlpool large appliances – straight from our website. And if you’re a member of our Good Payers Club, you may be eligible to apply for a Shopping Card. Whether you’re looking to furnish your home at Argos, or stock up your freezer in Iceland, the Shopping Card lets you apply for a prepaid amount to spend at a range of retailers.

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This entry was posted in Budgeting Tips and How To's
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