Two women preparing Christmas dinner with a boy

What to do now to cut your Christmas food bill (Image: Getty Images)

The crippling cost-of-living crisis doesn’t mean you have to miss your festive feast this Christmas. You simply need to be a shopping expert and start now!

“There is a lot of waste at Christmas as people buy traditional food out of sheer habit that they don’t always eat and often don’t even like,” says chef and author Ben Lebus, founder of online food platform MOB which pioneers affordable , cooking without waste.

“And if you have friends or family coming to stay over the holiday season, it’s tempting to overfill your shopping cart with an excess of food because you’re worried there won’t be enough.”

“But if you plan effectively, shop smart, and organize meal times, you won’t overspend, there won’t be waste, and all your guests will be well fed.”

Here, Ben shares his tips on how to reduce your Christmas food bill without giving up your favorite holiday treats…

Tidy up the freezer

You’ll be surprised to find ingredients hidden in the back of your freezer that could make up some family meals! Use Them: This will free up space to stock your freezer with festive bargains as they hit stores in the run up to Christmas.

Freezing foods well in advance, like fresh stuffing, pigs in blankets, and even a fresh turkey, is an effective way to spread the cost of your holiday store.

Planning is key

Define your holiday season. Create a spreadsheet or use pen and paper to write down how many guests you expect and for how many days. Then you can calculate exactly how many meals you will need to fulfill.

roasted carrots

Almost anything used in Christmas dinner can be repurposed for tasty leftovers (Image: Getty Images)

Plan out what those meals will look like and get creative with leftovers: a risotto on Christmas Eve, a Christmas turkey lunch, sandwiches in the evening, leftover pie with pastry for Boxing Day lunch.

Use what’s left on the cheeseboard to make mac and cheese. And sprinkle leftover Christmas pudding over the ice cream. Plan menus so ingredients overlap so you create not just one meal, but a variety of different dishes.

Forget tradition: eat what you love

Turkey might be traditional but it’s expensive, takes hours to cook in the oven, and many people don’t like it. To save money and energy costs, consider roasting two chickens instead. Ask your local butcher for recommendations on cheaper but delicious cuts of meat like pork belly or lamb shoulder. Or try a Veggie Christmas for a change. Everyone likes Christmas pudding? Ask, and if not, get an alternative dessert that your guests will really like.

A plate of pappardelle with creamy ricotta, baby spinach, fresh herbs and black pepper.

Pasta at Christmas? Go for it, if you want (Photo: Alamy Stock Photo)

Write a shopping list

Once you have planned your meals and the quantities you will need, write a shopping list and stick to it! Then you have effectively solved the arduous task of Christmas grocery store. This will keep you focused and reduce the temptation to overload your cart with holiday extras you don’t need or want.

Shop around and shop ahead

Don’t be loyal to your local supermarket – if you want to get the best deals, you need to shop around. An hour on the Internet can save you a fortune because you’ll find the stores with the best holiday deals. Get ready to travel to secure the best deals of the week. Look for festive bargains like specialty cheeses, chocolates, and Christmas puddings that should last until the big day.

Man walking fast with trolley along aisle in supermarket or store

Hit the stores while they’re relatively empty (Image: Getty Images)

Freeze reduced ticket items

Find out what time your local supermarket cuts its prices each day. Reduced holiday items like piglets in blankets, fresh stuffing, and reduced turkeys or cuts of meat are great to buy now and put in the freezer. If you’re cooking up a roast dinner in the next few weeks, use chicken and vegetable stock to make the gravy and freeze it—that’s one less job on Christmas Day.

Buy ranges of value

You eat with your eyes and food is all about presentation. So don’t be afraid to buy affordable ranges from supermarkets, as no one will tell the difference between green or organic carrots once they’ve been roasted and glistened in honey and olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper.

Spread the cost

Don’t be nervous asking guests to contribute to the menu—let them know ahead of time what you’d like them to bring. This year more than ever people will be happy to help with Christmas expenses. Don’t forget that this time of year is all about sharing with loved ones.

Ben Lebus is the founder of affordable online food platform MOB – for more information visit the MOB website

Have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

MORE: Quality Street’s green triangle gets a makeover this Christmas

MORE: Buying a Candle for Christmas? We have an option for everyone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *