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Enjoy a Tasty Christmas Dinner: Without Breaking the Bank

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 3 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
Christmas Dinner Bank Food Trimmings

As the recession in the UK continues, many households are thinking of ways to cut the cost of Christmas this year. Apart from the Christmas presents and the parties to go to, another major cost this time of year is food. The cost of Christmas dinner could easily set you back between £50 and £75, not including the odd glass of sherry.

For the supermarkets, Christmas dinner is big business. The ‘traditional’ turkey dinner with all the trimmings (including cranberry sauce, stuffing and of course the Christmas pudding) will cost you on average £64 at the leading supermarkets.

Quite a sum, considering you are paying for just one meal, for one day of the year. Your Christmas dinner might cost the same as your average weekly shop, but it doesn’t have to. The good news is that with a bit of forward planning on sensible budgeting you can have a tasty Christmas dinner, without breaking the bank.

Tip 1: Cut Down on the Packaging

Food producers often tempt customers by wrapping their foodstuffs in special seasonal packaging at Christmas time. You should, however, bear in mind that chances are you’re paying more for the fancy wrapping. Don’t be lured in by the packaging and look for the simple products that will taste just as good, without breaking the bank.

Tip 2: Avoid Expensive Party Food

No doubt you will have seen the supermarket adverts for party food, but these are often a prime example of style over substance. They may save you time, but will certainly work out more expensive than if you prepare the party nibbles yourself. Your Christmas dinner guests might even appreciate the home-cooked touch more.

Tip 3: Cut Back on the Trimmings

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without all the trimmings, would it? Although just how many people in your family actually eat all the food stacked onto their plate?

Christmas dinner can often become an ‘all you can eat’ contest, but it needn’t be. Think about the normal family portions you eat each day and, if you use the same sized portions for your Christmas dinner then you will find that you need to use much less food.

Tip 4: Christmas Dinner, Without the Giant Bird?

It’s always a big temptation to buy a large turkey, after all, you can eat the leftovers until New Year, right? Sadly, turkey tends to lose its charm (and it’s flavour) after a couple of days and there’s nothing worse than throwing a huge turkey out into the rubbish.

Think about buying the medium-sized turkey rather than the large one, or why not just buy a turkey crown instead? You’ll still have plenty for the Christmas dinner itself and your family might be relieved at not having to tuck in to curried turkey this year.

Tip 5: Sometimes Less is More

Ask anyone about Christmas and they will usually tell you that every year they buy too much: too many presents, too many sweets and treats and usually too much alcohol too. Try to cut down on the ‘extras’ for one year and see if you miss them. Chances are that you won’t miss them and your post-Christmas diet might not be needed this time.

Tip 6: Avoid the Short-Cuts

Christmas lunch is always the most difficult and time-consuming meal to make, but cutting corners – such as oven-ready roast potatoes for example, instead of a pack of potatoes, or pre-prepared pigs in blankets - will be more expensive and offer you less value for money.

Christmas dinner should be a pleasant occasion for all the family. Yet it doesn't have to be the most expensive meal of the year. Think about the size of your family and the food you need to keep them content. With some forward planning it's possible to have a very enjoyable dinner at a fraction of the cost of previous years.

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