It’s probably the most important and well-loved meal of the year, which is why you will want to make sure that everything is just right. However, catering for lots of people can prove costly, and the last thing you want to do is compromise on quality or taste. Thankfully, there are lots of different ways that you can cut costs without having to downsize. Shopping around and doing your research is key, and you may find that it’s a lot easier to save money than you think.
Here are four useful tips to bear in mind:
If cooked right, turkey can be delicious and moist and also serves as a lean, healthy alternative to other meats. Opting for turkey is a good idea if you’re worried about overindulging and they can be found at reasonable prices. So how much should you spend on one? It really depends. You could spend as little as £15 or pay well over £100. Frozen turkeys from supermarkets tend to be a cheaper – a large one will cost around £20, which will feed 8-10 people, and a fresh turkey of the same size will cost around £40. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for low quality meat – shop around and find a mid-size turkey that fits in the mid-price range.
Stocking up on vegetables is essential for a big family Christmas dinner and means everyone will still be getting their 5-a-day! Read up on healthy vegetable recipes in advance so that you’re prepared for the big day. Although it’s a great time saver, avoid pre-packaged and pre-chopped vegetables as these can often be more expensive and mean you get a lot less for your money. Instead, start by making a list of timings for what you need to do, so you leave plenty of time for chopping. Most of the vegetables should be in season, e.g. sprouts and root vegetables, which is great for keeping costs down. It’s also best to shop around – whether that means taking a trip to your local market or comparing supermarket prices.
The Christmas cake
Those beautifully decorated Christmas cakes also come with a hefty price tag. For a cheaper alternative, buy a plain fruit cake (or make one yourself!) to ice and decorate. All you’ll need is some marzipan to cover the cake (optional), along with some icing sugar and water to make a white icing to go on top. This also gives you control over how much icing you put on, which is great if you’re trying to cut back on sugar. And finally, you can buy some small decorations from a craft shop or pick some up at a Christmas market to place on top. Remember to keep the decorations so that you can use them again next year.
No Boxing Day is complete without leftovers and it’s also a great way to save some money once the festivities are over. You’ll probably want a mini detox, especially if you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol levels. Using leftover turkey to make curries and stews can be low in fat if you avoid cream and butter. You can also use your leftover vegetables to make healthy vegetable recipes.
Saving money at Christmas doesn’t have to be a chore and you can still enjoy all your favourite festive dishes at a fraction of the price by shopping around for the best value for money.