Thursday 9 December 2021

How to do Christmas dinner on a budget!

 One of my favourite meals of the year is our Christmas dinner. I love everything about it. Shopping for it, preparing it, cooking it, eating it and the leftovers. It's just us for Christmas dinner this year. My dad and his partner are staying at home and Becky is finishing a night shift on Christmas morning so we will be eating a little later than usual but I am sure it will be amazing just like other years.

I am all about saving money and have been shopping for the Christmas food, drinks and treats for the last couple of months. Adding a few little extras to my normal weekly food shop so haven't noticed that much difference in the bill but hopefully will notice it on the big Christmas food shop.

Christmas dinner

Making a delicious Christmas dinner on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on quantity, quality or taste. Here are some ideas:

Set a budget and stick to it.
Start planning as soon as you can to set aside the funds you will need. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a beautiful meal. Start with a firm figure of what you can afford to spend. Just think of it as a roast dinner with Christmas crackers! I always add everything to the online shop to give me an idea of what all the essentials cost,

Shop in advance where you can!
Buy the freezer food now instead of waiting until the big Christmas food shop. I already have our meat and party food in the freezer and even some of the fresh food. If you can buy it early and freeze it, do it.

Don't buy too much meat!
Remember that by the time everyone's piled their plate with side dishes, veggies and pigs in blankets they'll only want a few slices of turkey or whatever meat you are serving! You don't need the biggest of turkeys, it will take an age to cook and there is only so much that one family can eat.

Replace old favourites with cheaper alternatives!
There are some parts of the traditional Christmas Day meal that we can’t imagine doing without. However, you can substitute cheaper alternatives for some expensive foodstuffs. Instead of buying certain things from M&S have a look in Aldi or Lidl, they have some amazing stuff in!

Make food from scratch.
The supermarkets sell a wide range of pre prepared food that you cook straight from the pack, things like stuffing balls, chopped vegetables and ready to roast potatoes and parsnips but these are often more expensive than buying and making these things yourself. You can easily make gravy from the giblets, roasting juices, flour and a stock cube. Stuffing for the turkey can be made from ingredients you already have in your cupboards. Pre cut vegetables are tempting when you are busy but get your family to help with peeling and chopping veg.

If you aren’t a confident or talented cook, you could compromise on making from scratch. Buy a cheaper plain Christmas cake but decorate it yourself? All you’d need is some marzipan, icing and cheap plastic cake decorations from the pound shop. Prepare your own party food too. Think things like sausage rolls, mini pizzas, chicken bits on sticks.

Buy a Christmas pudding.
Making your own Christmas pudding can be fiddly. Once you’ve bought all the ingredients it probably won’t work out much cheaper than buying one. A great way to enjoy Christmas Dinner on a budget is to buy a low priced one. Lidl, Aldi and Asda’s puddings have received great reviews and don’t cost that much.

Cut down on the cheese.
Don’t overbuy on cheese as it often doesn’t get eaten. Everyone just needs a taster of each cheese. Choose a small piece of Cheddar, Stilton and Brie with some nice crackers.

Don’t buy all the drinks.
One of the main areas where you can spend a small fortune when hosting Christmas dinner is drinks. We try and cater for every possible combination that people would like but the problem is that there is now such a wide variety of popular drinks that it is simply impossible to have everything. Remember that you are not a pub! Keep things simple with a basic choice of wines, beers and soft drinks.

Avoid temptation.
Don’t be tempted to pop out for a few extras in the run up to Christmas. Ask yourself would Christmas dinner be ruined without it?, if not don't bother!

Use leftovers.
If you end up with leftovers then make sure you make the most of every bit so that the money isn't wasted. A turkey curry or turkey sandwiches the next day can go down well and you can always make a stock or soup from the bones.

Are you cooking Christmas dinner this year? Do you have any tips?


  1. Always shop at ALdi or Lidl! We always try to and I'm sure we save between 20 and 30%. As it happens, I have today just ordered our turkey crown. Cost us an absolute fortune last year but I've managed to get a free range one (...I insist on free range) for about twenty quid. ANd yes, always use leftovers although my challenge is getting the family to do so!

  2. All brilliant ideas and it goes to show you can still have a good Christmas on a budget x

  3. Thaank you so much for these ideas! 😃

  4. We have at least 3 different joints of meat instead of a turkey. Then the leftover meat is put in a slow cooker for stew for Boxing Day (we actually have Christmas dinner Xmas Eve)