Worried about being done up like a Turkey this Christmas Day? It’s probably one of the most expensive meals of the year, but there are lots of ways to keep the costs down whilst still creating a wonderful festive feast. Here’s our ten top CAP Christmas dinner tips to whet your appetite…
1. Set a budget: It’s really easy to get lost in the festive hype and end up buying treats and festive bargains, which you don’t actually need. So be realistic, think about what you actually need, create a budget and then stick to it. Your bank account will thank you in the New Year.
2. Make a menu for the week: Before you go shopping, plan ahead all your meals for the Christmas week. If you have a plan you’re less likely to waste food that you bought on a whim or overspend in the supermarket buying random things not on your list.
3. Be supermarket savvy: There are plenty of deals to be had, but don’t get drawn in by the first one you come across. It pays to do your research – mysupermarket.com is a great way to scan the shop prices from the comfort of your armchair.
4. Size matters: If you are smart at turning leftovers into other meals, then it might be worth getting a larger bird, which can work out cheaper per kilo. However, if that’s not your thing, then you’d be wise to buy something smaller, or even opt for a turkey crown. Alternatively, if chicken is on offer, you may want to break with tradition for a cheaper bird.
5. Stuff it: If you decide to go for a whole bird, you should aim for 500g on-the-bone weight per person but you can cut costs by making up the some of the weight with sausagemeat stuffing – cheap and also very tasty.
6. Waste not, want not: There are lots of creative ways to use up those leftovers, such as potato cakes from cooked potatoes, stock from the turkey carcass and soup from uneaten vegetables. Have some recipes up your sleeve ready to make the most of your leftovers before they hit the bin.
7. Homemade winners: Gravy, mince pies and pigs in blankets can all be made relatively cheaply and easily at home. Save some pounds and impress your dinner guests with the time and care you have taken to create things from scratch.
8. Make your own: Crackers and table decorations can cost a small fortune so get crafty and try making your own. Hobbycraft sell a pack of 12 cracker snaps for just 80p so all you need is some old toilet rolls, leftover wrapping paper and a few cheap choccies to pop inside. Get the kids involved and you’ll have a fun afternoon activity planned too.
9. Spread the costs: If you have a large family, why not ask everyone to bring a dish and share the costs out. That will take the pressure off you, and probably off them too, plus it’s more fun having everyone join in.
10. Spread the joy: Finally, if you can’t face making Christmas dinner, then why not volunteer your time at your local Salvation Army serving meals to those who’d otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day?
If you'd like some help fine tuning your finances then try a free CAP Money Course – click here to find a course near you!