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Money saving

How to save on Christmas dinner

Posted 07 December 2016

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How to do Christmas dinner on a budget.

So, you’ve decided to have people round for Christmas dinner. Maybe you love the idea of being a great host and giving your friends and family a delicious spread they’ll be talking about all year. After all, what’s better than getting your favourite people all in one room to share great food and quality time together? But Christmas dinner is normally quite a bit fancier and pricier than normal and if you’re already on a tight budget, you might be worried about how much all that food is going to cost. Well, never fear because we’ve got some ideas to help you financially survive organising Christmas dinner this year.

Set a budget

If you’re watching the pennies, this is always going to be the golden rule. Setting a budget is the most important thing you can do to make sure you don’t overspend this Christmas.
Before you buy anything, you should sit down and work out how much you can afford to pay towards the meal in total. This will make it easier when you’re out and about doing your shopping, as you can tot up how much everything is costing and you’ll know when to stop buying.

Change where you shop

Why not try getting all the goodies for your Christmas feast from a budget supermarket? If you’ve never shopped at Lidl or Aldi before, you should definitely give it a try. You may find there are certain items that you need to get elsewhere but you should be able to find the main ingredients at one of these stores and you should definitely see a difference in the cost. You never know, this might become a habit for your weekly shop as well saving you money all year round.

Try different brands

When it comes to the brands we buy, it’s easy to get stuck in our ways. But the fact of the matter is there could be a cheaper alternative to a brand that you’re used to buying that you’ll like just as much, maybe even more.

Don’t be afraid of trying a cheaper alternative. In the weeks running up to Christmas, why not experiment with some taste tests and see if there are any items you could be getting for less. Supermarket own brands are often as good as name brands, and you should save money by looking at the lower shelves – supermarkets place the most expensive goods at eye level.

Let an app do the work

Let’s be honest, Christmas can be a lot of work. Why not let an app do all the legwork and tell you where you can find the lowest price for the items you need?
Mysupermarket is a free comparison app, available on iOS and android. It allows you to find the best shop for a single item or your whole shopping list, scan and compare prices in real time and find special deals and vouchers. Pretty nifty!

Pool your money with others

If you’re hosting for a few people, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask your guests to contribute something to the cost of the food and drink on Christmas day.

Better yet, why not ask each person to bring a dish with them. This will save on the cost and the time that it takes you to get everything ready. Just be sure to pre-arrange what you need people to bring with them, so there’s a nice variety and you don’t end up with too many pigs in blanket!

Hopefully, that’s made you feel a little calmer about the cost of doing Christmas dinner this year. Now all you have to worry about is not burning the turkey!

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.