15 ways to save on your Christmas dinner

1. Seasonal vegetables

Make use of the time of year and buy lots of seasonal vegetables. They taste better and are cheaper due to being so readily available. Parsnips, sweet potato, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are all in season in December.

Festive saving: Parsnips – 50p, new potatoes - £1.50, saving £1

2. Buck’s Fizz instead of Champagne

If you enjoy some of the sparkling stuff with your dinner try buying a cheaper option to champagne such as cava or Prosecco. To really make it last mix it with orange juice and enjoy Buck’s Fizz instead – it’s tasty and more cost effective as the bottle will last much longer.

Festive saving: Champagne - £30, prosecco - £5 – saving £25

3. Time your shopping

When competition is fierce, often around early December, supermarkets will discount major Christmas products to attract customers. However, if you wait until too close to the big day many will boost their prices back up to make as much profit as possible from last minute shoppers.

Festive saving: Mince pies in October – £1, in December - £2, saving £1

4. Take hosting responsibilities in turn

By far the simplest technique to save money at Christmas is to go somewhere else! Maybe suggest to friends or relatives that you should gather together on the big day and take it in turns to host. That way you only have to splash out once every few years.

Festive saving: Full dinner - £160, once every 4 years - £40, saving £120

5. Do it yourself

Whatever you do, don’t be put off by the size of cooking a Christmas dinner. Lots of people worry it’ll be too complicated so opt to buy frozen roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings as well as gravy and bread sauce from a sachet. Making those things from scratch is surprisingly easy and is significantly cheaper.
Festive saving: Frozen Yorkshire puddings - £1.50, using ingredients you already have – free, saving £1.50

6. DIY decorations

A festively-themed table can set the scene for the perfect Christmas dinner but can also add unnecessary extra costs. Collect pinecones in the autumn which can be placed in a bowl in the middle of the table and clip some sprigs from your Christmas tree to decorate the table. Plus, a simple red tablecloth can be bought cheaply and is very festive.

Festive saving: Festive centerpiece - £35, using nature – free, saving £35.

7. Make your own mulled wine

Don’t bother buying supermarket’s own versions of mulled wine when you could make your own at home. All you need is a cheap bottle of red and heat gently in a pan whilst adding extra items. Simply use whatever you have around the kitchen such as nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves and citrus fruits.

Festive saving: Pre-made mulled wine - £10, bottle of red - £3, saving £7

8. Buy your bird direct from the farm

Buy your chosen meat direct from a local farm. The prices are always cheaper because you’re cutting out the middleman plus the quality is often superb. If unable to go direct to farm use your local butcher instead to avoid expensive supermarket prices.

Festive saving: Supermarket - £60, farm - £30, saving £30.

9. Make your own canapés

If you’re having guests round for Christmas dinner it’s a lovely tradition to have canapés available on arrival. But ready-made ones are often overpriced and can easily be made at home. Why not sprinkle some pink salt on some popcorn or serve some cheese cubes as a simple appetizer?

Festive saving: Supermarket canapés - £12, popcorn - £3, saving £9.

10. Check your cupboards and get creative

Don’t be convinced by supermarket packaging suggesting there’s such a thing as ‘Classic Christmas Puddings’. There are hundreds of recipes out there and the pudding can vary drastically depending on who’s making it. Therefore have a look through your cupboards and use ingredients you already own, from raisins to almonds to brandy and make a recipe to suit you.

Festive saving: Supermarket Christmas pudding - £5, homemade – free, saving £5.

11. Plan your meals

If you’ve ever shopped in your supermarket a few days before Christmas you’ll know the panic that sets in as everyone begins stocking up as if they won’t be leaving the house for the next month. Don’t get sucked in to the idea that you have to buy an excessive amount of food, plan your Christmas dinner carefully and only buy what you need.

Festive saving: Last-minute shop - £50, only buying what you need - £15, saving £35.

12. Home-grown veg

If you’re fortunate enough to have room in your garden consider setting up your own allotment patch. Christmas dinner essentials such as potatoes and carrots are easy to grow and if stored in a cool dry place can last a fair amount of time once harvested. Not only are homegrown vegetables cheaper but they’re tastier too.

Festive saving: Supermarket vegetables - £10, homegrown – free, saving £10.

13. Make your own stuffing

Ready-made stuffing is expensive but people are often put off from making their own because ingredients such as nuts and dried fruits can be just as pricey. But if you’re inventive you can have a delicious stuffing made from chopped veg and fruit as well as stale bread bought at the end of the day from the bakery.

Festive saving: Supermarket stuffing - £1.40, home ingredients – free, saving £1.40

14. Cracking cracker savers

You can pick up some of the best high-end Christmas crackers in the January sales for a fraction of the price and they often come with some great goodies inside. If it’s too late for this Christmas to buy any in the sales then have a look online for tutorials on how to make your own. All you need is some leftover wrapping paper and a used kitchen-roll barrel.

Festive saving: Crackers in December - £20, in January - £3, saving £17

15. Ask guests to bring a dish

If you’re hosting dinner on Christmas day there’s never a better opportunity to make use of everyone’s goodwill. Ask your guests to bring a contribution to dinner, whether it’s dessert, drinks or even Christmas crackers. It will make the day feel more festive and it’ll help you save money.

Festive saving: Entire meal - £160, providing essentials - £70, saving £90.

There are more money-saving tips in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.