We hope Yule like our Christmas dinner ideas!

Written by Mel Brown on 2 December 2021

Supermarkets are busy; turkeys are flying off the shelves and you can’t decide how many sprouts to get for Christmas dinner. But did you know that as a nation we spend £4.7 billion on Christmas food every year, with the average household spend at £172*?!

Here are some tips for Christmas shopping on a budget:

Write a list to stay on track with your budget!  
Making and sticking to a list is a good way to reduce your spend this Christmas. It’s really easy to be tempted to get a few extra bits when you’re out shopping, so be strict with yourself about what you want and what you need.

When you go into the shop to get one or two things, make sure you avoid the temptation to fill your basket with extra things you might not need. Be strict with yourself and don’t buy things for the sake of it – even if a good offer catches your eye!

Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry
Make sure you eat before you go shopping!  If you go to the supermarket when you’re hungry, you’ll be more tempted to throw a few extra bits in the trolley. Have a quick bite at least before you go, and make sure that you stick to the list!

Try new products and shop somewhere new!
Downshift from branded products in the run up to Christmas – try cheaper alternatives and see if you notice the difference. It’s not just food products you can swap too. Getting non-branded cleaning items and toiletries is a great way to save money! Cheaper supermarkets are extremely popular now and you’ll really notice the difference at the till.

Be prepared and browse bargains online!
Look online before you go shopping to find the best deals. Try sticking to one shop instead of having to go to lots of different shops to save money on fuel. Or if you do online shopping, try totting up the basket on a few different supermarket sites to see where you can save.

While you’re in the supermarket or browsing online, keep an eye out for items that you need in the run up to Christmas, along with any special offers or discounted food which you can freeze ahead of the festive period.

Slice the cost of vegetables!
Instead of buying more expensive premade dishes and pre-cut vegetables this year, get the family involved in chopping vegetables. This doesn’t mean you’ll have loads more to do on Christmas Day as you can pre-chop and freeze them! Cooking dishes from scratch is also a good way to have a fresh taste and to save money.

Meat free Christmas ideas!
Try something new this year and go meat-free by having a vegetarian or vegan Christmas dinner – this is a great way to save money on expensive meats!  Nut roast is a very filling and satisfying dish, and it’s super simple to make too. You could even try baking a vegan Wellington to still have a luxurious centrepiece, but at a fraction of the cost!

Invite neighbours who might be spending Christmas alone this year
Christmas is all about spending time with others so having a neighbour over who would otherwise be on their own would be a wonderful way of brightening their big day. Ask family, friends and your neighbours who are coming for Christmas to bring a dish too. This is an excellent way for everyone to show off their culinary skills and it will help to keep your costs down too!

How to reduce food waste at Christmas
Only buy what you’re going to eat, so if you’re a living in a house full of sprout haters for example, then don’t get them this year to save the cost and the waste! Switch from traditional Christmas meats like a whole turkey to a just the crown, or even a chicken this year. Save on waste by only getting what you need.

What to do with Christmas leftovers
Whether you’re going to be making a turkey curry or refried roasties, make sure to plan so you’ve got everything you need. Bulk out leftovers with vegetables to make full meals, freeze food and have meals prepared for when you need them instead of increasing waste! If you run out of room in the freezer, continue the season of giving by sharing leftovers with friends and family, or elderly neighbours.

Go alcohol free this Christmas! 
You can still enjoy the festive season without an expensive booze bill. If you’re going to Christmas parties, volunteer to be the designated driver and save by drinking soft drinks. You can even offer friends a lift home for less than what a taxi costs to cover the cost of fuel!

Stay healthy with homemade remedies!
Don’t catch tinselitus this Christmas – home remedies like chicken soup, ginger, honey or fruit and vegetables packed with vitamin C can help to keep you healthy so you don’t spend Christmas in bed!

Food shopping at Christmas can be stressful and expensive. So be prepared and go with a plan. Plus, have a look at our Financial Wellbeing Hub for other ways that you can budget and save money!

Read our other blogs on how to budget this Christmas:

* Data from GoCompare


Filed under Money Saving Ideas

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.