What with all the gift buying, stocking filling and party hosting, it’s safe to say that Christmas is an expensive business. In 2016 the average family spent £174 on Christmas dinner – undoubtedly a hefty amount to add to your total Christmas price tag.
If it falls to you to host Christmas dinner this year, panic not, we have some handy tips to help keep costs to a minimum.
As with everything Christmas-related, planning is key. Make a list of everything you’ll need for your Christmas dinner, right down to the last Brussel sprout. When you’ve finished your list, check through it and be ruthless – cross out any items that aren’t strictly necessary for a successful dinner.
If you meticulously stick to your list and avoid impulse buying, you can keep track of your spending, ensure you have everything ready for the big day and shop around to find the best prices.
If you want to plan your Christmas feast digitally, Trello is a nifty (and free) project management app, which will help you organise every last detail.
Trawl through your cupboards
Before you plan your Christmas dinner menu, have a rummage through your cupboards and see what you can use. A packet of gravy or bread sauce from last year, if still in date, will save you a few pennies this year. If you’re hosting a dinner party or buffet, you could base the menu around what you already have in your kitchen.
Sorting through the darkest corners of your cupboards also provides you with an excellent opportunity to get rid of all those out of date items!
Once you know what you need to buy you can shop around and make sure you get the best deals on all your essentials. Discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl offer excellent value for money, while stores like Poundland and Home Bargains enable you to buy cheap decorations and accessories.
My Supermarket is a handy app that will help you find bargains in the aisles, so you never have to pay more than necessary for your festive foods and trimmings.
Buy a little every week
Every time you do a weekly food shop, add a few items from your Christmas dinner list. This will help you stock up all you need for the big day while avoiding the need for a big splurge a few days before Christmas.
Ask guests to bring a dish
If you’re cooking for a lot of people, there’s no shame in asking guests to contribute. Perhaps some could bring along side dishes while others supply puds, nuts or crisps. And everyone can bring a bottle. Sharing the burden will really help to keep costs down.
Avoid mountains of waste this year by controlling portions. It’s natural for us to pile our plates high at the Christmas dinner table, but inevitably we can’t eat it all. Try and dish up the meat and vegetables before the plates reach the table. You don’t have to be stingy with the portions but be realistic. Guest can always ask for seconds if they wish.