Affordable Christmas meal ideas

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some festive treats, but splashing out on your favourites needn’t lead to an overspend. With a little forward planning, you can save a fortune without missing out.

Avoid overspending

With supermarket shelves bursting with festive delights it’s tempting to overfill your trolley in a bid to make Christmas extra special. To avoid overspending, make sure you write a list before you leave home to ensure you purchase your festive feast without splurging.

Stick to family favourites

Tired of forcing your five-year-old to eat Brussels sprouts? Why not start a new Christmas tradition? Rather than wasting money on food that only one or two family members enjoy, try to buy food you know won’t be wasted. By purchasing veg and pudding options your family love, you’ll ensure Christmas goes down a treat – without waste.

Consider frozen

Rather than being a soggy alternative, frozen produce is often just as tasty as fresh. And if you’re not relying on an organic turkey or freshly picked sprouts, you can buy in advance, taking advantage of price deals as they arise. Frozen, too, can be cost-effective as you can just defrost what you need, keeping anything you don't use frozen for future meals.

Supermarket deals

With Christmas comes the annual supermarket price war. Christmas is an important time for retailers, and most will be slashing prices come December in a bid to win the most custom. Keep an eye on offers in your local supermarket and be prepared to shop around for the best deal. Sites like My Supermarket let you can compare prices at home and avoid the winter chill, while Hot UK Deals can help you find the best retail discounts.

Shed tradition

Ever wondered why we feel obliged to buy a turkey each December? For many, only turkey will do, but some of us only end up eating turkey because we feel we should. With a large turkey often taking several hours to cook, why not save money (as well as electricity or gas) by opting for a different meat for your Christmas dinner. Chicken or pork are more affordable (and easier to cook) and pair just as well with the usual festive trimmings.

Size matters

If you do opt for turkey, consider the size carefully. If you’re savvy with your leftovers – creating curries and stews over the whole Christmas period - then it’s probably worth buying the biggest bird you can. But if your turkey experience will end after the Boxing Day leftover sandwich, it’s worth choosing a smaller joint or bird. Be realistic about your commitment to leftovers before making your choice.

Be drink aware

For most of us, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without our favourite tipple. But even if you’re feeling generous, it might not be necessary to buy the leading brand. Supermarket alternatives can be significantly cheaper, with very little difference in taste. Swap Champagne for own-brand Cava, and ditch high-priced spirits in favour of your supermarket’s own brand to make a significant saving. Money Saving Expert have a great deals section on low cost drinks.

Share with family

Christmas is a time we all associate with family – and there’s nothing more festive than a family gathering for Christmas lunch. If it’s your turn to host Christmas this year, don’t be afraid to say “yes” to any offers of help, or suggestions that guests bring dishes. People will be only too happy to bring a box of mince-pies or a bottle of wine to share on the day, meaning your festive food will go further for less!