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How to save on your Christmas dinner

Christmas is a time of excess but there are still ways to save money. Here's how to enjoy your Christmas dinner this year even if you are on a tight budget.

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Use your points

If you have collected supermarket loyalty points throughout the year, you can use them at Christmas to save on your Christmas food shop.

Many retailers will have offers on Christmas products and you can collect points on these in the run up to Christmas. If you start collecting early enough, you will be able to save money by paying for your shop with points.

Always check your points online or on the app to keep track of how many you have before you go shopping.

Try something new

The Christmas turkey is the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner table. It may seem counterintuitive to move away from tradition at Christmas. But if you are open to change, you can make some great savings on the cost of your dinner.

Think about choosing a different meat this Christmas. Cheaper options for your Christmas dinner include goose, beef, chicken or pork. If you must have turkey, buy a frozen, rather than a pre-stuffed bird. You will usually pay half the price of a stuffed turkey and you're free to choose your own filling.

Use an organic veg box. If you haven't subscribed to an organic or farm veg box before, take advantage of one of their offers for new customers this Christmas. Choose a box with the vegetables you would usually have for your Christmas dinner to save on buying organic vegetables at full price elsewhere.

Cater for everyone

If you're in charge of Christmas dinner this year, why not have a free-from meal to save costs as well as the hassle of multiple dishes? Meat and game are typically more expensive than vegetarian options so something like a nut roast could mean you save on your budget.

If you're cutting out dairy, swap out butter for oils like rapeseed or olive oil which you can continue to use for your general cooking. Use dark chocolate to create a dairy free dessert like dark chocolate truffles.

If you're buying ready-made foods it can be hard to avoid gluten but the traditional Christmas dinner can easily be made without it. Gluten free bread can be expensive but you can get it for a reduced price if you buy near its expiry date. Freeze it straight away and take it out to make breadcrumbs when you're preparing the stuffing.

Start planning early

Christmas food is on sale as early as October so spread the cost and purchase over time with your regular shop. Check expiration dates before you buy and keep a list so that you don't forget what you already have!

Use the vouchers you get along with your receipts to save money on specific products. It's usually cheaper to buy in bulk so if you buy a bigger turkey than you need, plan for turkey based dishes on Boxing Day too.

Check your cupboards for unused seasoning and unopened tins of food. If you do this in advance you can find ways to use them over the Christmas period. For example beans can go into one pot stews along with leftover meat and vegetables. You can also use it to make a side dish on Christmas Day.

Make your own

Alcohol is one of the most expensive food and drink purchases at Christmas. If you serve mulled wine you can use a less expensive bottle of red and save on your alcohol budget. Making it in your kitchen will add a wonderful Christmas scent that will fill your home. Mulled cider could work out even cheaper and both are very easy to make.

Canapés and roast potatoes are easy to make and more expensive to buy. You can save even more money by avoiding pre-chopped vegetables and getting others involved in this prep instead.

If you can fit it all in, save on heating costs by cooking your meat, potatoes and vegetables at the same time. This means you won't have to reheat one dish while the others are being cooked.

Start new traditions

This Christmas could be the time to decide if you even want turkey. What are your family's favourite dishes? You don't have to follow a rule when it comes to what you eat on Christmas Day.

Find inspiration online and in supermarkets for ways to add elements from a traditional Christmas dinner into your favourite foods. If they are in season they could work out to a cheaper dinner this year.

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