How To Save Money On Christmas Dinner Without Compromising On Taste

December 13, 2023 • Chris Bardsley

Christmas can be an expensive time not just in terms of buying presents, but also when purchasing all the ingredients needed to cook Christmas dinner.

In recent times, the cost of living crisis has pushed food prices up further still. If you’re worried about affording Christmas dinner this year, know that you are not alone, and that it is still possible to have a great Christmas even if you’re on a budget.

So that you can make your money stretch this Christmas, the Fair For You team has put together the following tips on buying Christmas dinner for less. Most importantly, how to cook an amazing feast for the family without having to compromise on taste!

Fair For You Food Club Card

The Fair For You Food Club Card is available to use in Iceland and can be used to help afford your food shopping at any time of the year including at Christmas.

How it works is that you can load up to £75 on the card. Repayments are set at £10 per week, and you can even choose which day of the week the repayments leave your bank account. Fair For You operates as a not-for-profit, meaning it won’t cost you any more than you borrow to use the Food Club Card.

As the full amount you choose will be pre-loaded onto the card, it is ready to use at the checkout at your local Iceland store. This means you can spend the money now, and then repay the amount after Christmas.

Click the link above to see if you could be accepted, along with the other essential information you need to know about the Food Club Card.

Plan Your Menu In Advance

With Christmas dinner, the emphasis is always to put on a huge banquet. In reality, there’s only so much anyone can eat in one sitting. Plus, not everyone likes all types of Christmas foods.

By being clear about exactly how much food you need to feed your family, and ensuring you don’t buy anything that won’t be eaten, this will immediately cut the cost of your food shopping.

When writing your shopping list, work out how many people you need to feed at Christmas, remembering that portions should be relative to adults or kids.

An example of a Christmas menu could include:

  • Turkey (or a meat free alternative)

  • Potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Sprouts

  • Seasonal greens

  • Parsnips

  • Pigs in blankets

  • Stuffing

  • Gravy

Even if you want to add in sides, starters or dessert, when you break a Christmas dinner down, it’s not too dissimilar from a Sunday roast. What we mean here is that there’s no need to stress! Instead, focus on the foods that your family will both eat and actually enjoy.

When purchasing each individual item (especially meat) there are also portion servings to guide you to ensure that you won’t buy more than you need. Often, buying a small joint of meat rather than a whole turkey can be much cheaper and is perfect if you’re a smaller family.

Did you know?: Research has shown that shopping while hungry can cause people to spend 60% more. So if you can, always eat before hitting the shops to help you save money.

Choose Your Bird Wisely

The most expensive turkey for 2023 is on sale for a whopping £318.

In contrast, Lidl and Aldi are selling fresh turkeys from just £3.75 per kg. As many blind taste tests have revealed over the years, the most expensive turkey (or other Christmas delicacy) doesn’t always mean the best taste. With budget supermarkets often having award-winning ranges, there’s absolutely no reason you need to miss out on delicious food just because you’re watching the pennies.

Not a fan of turkey? Chicken often works out cheaper than turkey due to being a smaller bird.

Outside of poultry, you could also explore other meat options such as pork or beef to find the best savings. Also, for vegetarians or vegans, it’s possible to make your own meat free nut roast which can also be done on a budget.

Remember, this is your Christmas dinner, so choose whatever suits your family! There are no rules.

Consider Using Tinned Vegetables

There can be a bit of a debate about whether fresh or tinned vegetables are cheaper, and in many respects, it depends where you shop.

But based on the Asda Just Essentials range which starts at just 19p, tinned vegetables could be yet another way to save on your Christmas dinner. Alongside tinned carrots and potatoes, there’s even stuffing mix and gravy granules all coming in at under 40p.

Wherever you happen to buy tinned vegetables from, a huge advantage is that the food will last longer compared with buying fresh. This can make it easier to spread the cost of Christmas, as anything tinned can be bought well in advance.

Use Price Comparison Websites On The Morning You Shop

Supermarket prices are subject to continuous change. Unless you keep up with the prices, you might not be getting the best deal.

Websites such as Priceable allow you to see what items cost across all supermarkets in just a couple of clicks. So whether you’re hunting for deals on turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Christmas pudding or anything else over the festive season, you’ll always know where the deals are.

As part of this method, be prepared to split your shopping up over multiple supermarkets. Also consider looking at non-branded alternates which can offer just as much taste but at far cheaper prices.

It’s probably no surprise that Aldi has been rated as the cheapest supermarket for 2023, and has also locked their prices from 2022. Aldi has a festive inspiration section on their website where you can compare prices before hitting the shops.

Make Homemade Dishes Where Possible

When purchasing foods such as pigs in blankets, stuffing, mash potatoes and gravy, it’s often cheaper to make these from scratch rather than buy pre-made food.

The simple reason for this is that buying pre-made means you’re paying for the convenience, not to mention the transport and shipping involved. So by making what you can yourself (you can also get the kids on board!) you can avoid paying over the odds for a lot of what you’ll serve for Christmas dinner.

Cook What You Can In An Air Fryer

When it comes to ‘not compromising on taste’ - there’s no reason why you can’t experiment with cheaper cooking methods without it affecting how delicious your Christmas dinner is. That means, it’s time to bust out the air fryer!

The latest research suggests that air fryers cost 51p less per hour to run, which can soon amount to huge savings especially over the Christmas period where we all cook more.

In case you’re wondering, according to Lakeland, it absolutely is possible to cook a Christmas dinner in an air fryer! On their website, they have provided guidance for cooking turkey, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots and even chocolate Christmas pudding cakes all within an air fryer.

As well as being healthier, air fryers typically cook food much faster than a traditional gas oven or electric oven. All of which can reduce the amount of energy you need to cook your food, which is also one of the ways that air fryers can save you money.

Check Your Cupboards

Before hitting the shops, it’s always worth double checking to see if you have any essential ingredients already in your cupboards. Items to look out for include tinned vegetables, stuffing mix, gravy mix and basics such as flour.

Even if you’re able to make some Christmas desserts out of what you have lying around, it can make a huge difference, especially compared with paying over the odds for things you actually don’t need.

Fair For You - Check Out Our Money Saving Tips This Christmas

We know that Christmas can be a stressful time when it comes to managing your finances. But with some careful planning, you can save money and still enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner.

Alongside checking out our Food Club Card, you may also want to learn more about how Fair For You works. We can make it easier to afford appliances and other essentials for your home through our fair and flexible repayment system.

To discover more money saving tips for this Christmas and beyond, check out our Blog.

You can also follow Fair For You on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to hear about our money saving tips and advice.

This entry was posted in Finance, How To's and Blog
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