Cut The Cost Of Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is one of the most costly parts of your festive celebrations. Between buying the perfect turkey or other meat, the vegetables, side dishes, desserts AND drinks… it can become a little bit too expensive for some of us to handle. Over the years I have managed to bring the price of our Christmas dinner right down.

Luckily there are ways to control your spending on Christmas dinner and in turn save some money for the rest of your festivities or just for your family.


Get your mits on vouchers!

First of all you need to start utilising websites such as Voucher Codes PRO. They are ideal for helping you stay on top of your costs by offering coupons for some of the biggest supermarkets in the area. You could cut your bills down by half just by using vouchers and making sure that you pay attention to the promotions which supermarkets hold in the run up to Christmas.

To reduce what you spend you may want to get into the habit of asking family members to pitch in with either a side dish, a dessert or some drinks. That way you are still hosting the day but you aren’t spending all the money you have on the food for everyone else. Plus, it might make people happy that they get to feel involved in the whole process and make some things themselves. Get dad to bring peeled spuds, Grandma can bring the pudding, Auntie can bring the Bucks Fizz!

 

It might sound like sacrilege, so apologies in advance- but turkey is incredibly expensive at this time of year. With thanksgiving and then Christmas a month later, turkeys become a commodity which everyone wants in their house. The problem with this is that supermarkets will take advantage and hike up the prices of this big bird to make a tidy profit. It may be a better idea to buy a chicken instead to roast, or check out a veggie nut roast instead! A whole turkey can be wasteful, especially if you’re a small family. Go for just a turkey crown instead, for a fraction of the cost.

The best way to save money when cooking your meal is to cook several things in the oven at once. Of course, your meat will take much longer than everything else to cook, but everything else can be cleverly timed to make sure that you save energy and serve everything at the same time on Christmas Day.

If you have the freezer space, buy reduced vegetables in the lead up to Christmas. Chuck them in the freezer until Christmas Day. 10p parsnips purchased in October, taste just as good as £1 parsnips bought on December 23rd! Read more about freezing food here.

 

Boil all of your veg together in one pan for 5- 10 minutes, then you can put them all on the same roasting tray at the same time if you want them roasted in goose fat, or separate the potatoes and then cook them in the oven on sewerage tray. The same applies to most of the side dishes- if you have small baking trays you can stack them next to each other in the oven.

How To Freeze Food To Save Money

I have spent the last 3 years perfecting the food shop. We have now managed to get our average weekly food shop down to £10 per week… feeding a family of 5! You can read more about that here.

The big food shop

We hit the supermarket at a specific time for each store, when we know that the bargains come out. Our local store is at 6pm, and we know that we need to get there for bang on 6 (if not earlier!). Most of the food that we buy has been reduced down to 10% of its original price. Bread often costing around 10p, vegetables and fruit somewhere around the £12p-20p range. We grab as much as we can and take it home to prep and freeze.

Because we don’t write meals plans before buying our food, we have to go to the shops with a completely open mind, and happy to eat whatever is on offer at the time! It does take some effort to live this way, but the rewards are huge and it means that we get to eat healthy delicious meal for super cheap.

Prepping food for the freezer

Most food can be frozen, and if it can’t we eat it as quickly as possible. Food for the freezer should be prepared and frozen as soon as you get home, to keep it fresh. Food that cannot be frozen can safely be eaten a day or 2 after it’s best before date. I completely ignore the best before dates on fruit and veg, because if it looks/smells/feels good then I’ll just eat it anyway. Common sense tells me when fruit and vegetables are still good to eat.

Most food doesn’t take much effort to freeze. Bread and milk can be just thrown into the freezer as they are. Donuts, I like to take out of the paper bags and put into plastic bags, as it stops them from going stale as they defrost.

When we tackle the shops, I like to set aside an hour or two to get the food prepped for storing. It can be fun to get the kids to help too as it gets them learning basic food preparation skills, and they have fun too. My daughter loves cutting up beans for the freezer.

Food that can be thrown straight into the freezer (It’s handy to bag them first though!)

  • bread
  • milk
  • berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries etc
  • yoghurts- Frubes are great to eat as ice pops too!
  • margarine
  • fresh pizza
  • cakes and donuts
  • grapes- work well as ice cubes as they don’t water down drinks as they thaw.
  • grated cheese
  • cuts of meat
  • pies
  • Ready made soup
  • fresh pesto
  • cooked rice
  • cherry tomatoes- great for throwing into stews, not so great for sandwiches!

Foods that need peeling and chopping for freezing:

  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • herbs
  • onions
  • rhubarb
  • bananas- these can be frozen in their skin but chopped is easy for smoothies!
  • carrots
  • runner, broad, French and dwarf beans
  • parsnips
  • cabbage
  • peppers
  • potatoes- I freeze these for the main purpose of roasting. Boil for 2 minutes ONLY before freezing.

Some vegetables loose their flavour and colour when frozen, so blanching is often a good idea. If in doubt, a quick Google will help! Salad foods such as lettuce and cucumber cannot be frozen as they go slimy when thawed. Vegetables can all be cooked straight from frozen.

This is just a list of some of my favourite foods to freeze. What are yours?