TRIM the cost of Christmas dinner with our budget-friendly guide.
Festive food prices have jumped by 9.3 per cent since last year according to research firm Kantar, with an average meal for four now costing £31, up from £28.36.
But there are ways to shop smarter and beat the hikes.
Lucy Alderson has all the money-saving advice you need, from where to buy your turkey, sprouts and trimmings to the best times to bag a bargain.
WHEN TO SHOP
IF you missed the window to nab a supermarket delivery slot, you will have to brave the aisles for groceries.
Joseph Seager, who runs the Thrifty Chap blog, recommends going to a 24-hour supermarket late in the evening.
“You’ll avoid the crowds and should still be able to get what you need,” he said.
It’s a gamble, but you can save by waiting for last-minute flash sales.
“It’s worth holding out till the Christmas week to make your purchases,” said Al Baker, who runs money-saving blog The Penny Pincher.
Shopping on Christmas Eve could see you scoop big discounts — often up to 75 per cent off. But there’s no guarantee you will get everything you need on your list so be a bit flexible.
“I bought a turkey on Christmas Eve last year as a yellow sticker bargain deal at 90 per cent off — it’s been in the freezer ever since and will be used this Christmas Day,” said Al.
If you’re not fussed about eating turkey for Christmas, you can find big portions of beef and lamb for a few pounds.
Tesco has also sold veg for 5p and some Asda stores have even given it away in previous years.
Be sure to download cashback apps before you make the trip and don’t forget your loyalty card.
Shopmium, GreenJinn and CheckoutSmart all pay you a percentage back when you buy certain items and then snap a pic of your receipt after shopping.
USE FRIDGE AND FREEZER
AVOID a Christmas Day kitchen meltdown by cooking your veggies in advance and freezing them.
Simply pop them back in the oven when you need them. Don’t over- stuff your fridge or freezer as they work most efficiently when they’re about two thirds full. That means they’ll cost less to run and keep your food fresh for as long as possible.
Keeping everything organised will stop you forgetting items and leaving them to go off.
Once open, condiments like cranberry sauce and horseradish sauce should be kept in the fridge.
Potatoes can be kept in a cool, dark cupboard, but if you’ve got space in the fridge, they will last three times longer, according to food waste charity WRAP. Check out the A-Z of food at lovefoodhatewaste.com to find out where to store everything else.
WHERE TO SHOP
WE compared the cost of festive staples in UK supermarkets to help you find the cheapest meal. Aldi and Lidl have the lowest turkey prices — £15.99 for a medium frozen bird, enough to feed seven to ten people.
Lidl is in a Christmas veg price war with Aldi and Sainsbury’s — from tomorrow you can get Brussels sprouts, potatoes, parsnips, carrots and more for 19p a bag.
Morrisons has Baileys for £9.99 until tomorrow, Aldi has prosecco for less than £5.
Prices change all the time, so check before you shop using a comparison site such as trolley.co.uk.
THE BEST OF OUR XMAS TASTE TESTS
WE’VE put supermarkets’ own-brand festive favourites to the test to reveal which ones offer the best quality for the price. Marks out of 20.
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference turkey gravy flavour, £1.25 for 150g: Thick and chunky crisps, they taste just like your Christmas dinner. Yum.
Aldi Specially Selected classic panettone, £3.99 for 750g: Aldi’s loaf wowed us with its light, brioche-like dough and gentle spices.
Morrisons Winter Warmer mulled wine, £3.89 for 75cl: Packed a punch with lots of cinnamon and spice. Gives you a glow!
Sainsbury’s Country Cream, £4.75 for 70cl: Creamy and boozy. A close dupe of classic Baileys, but it’s a fraction of the price.
Tesco mince pies, 99p for six: Packed with citrus flavours and festive spices. The pastry was just right – not too stodgy and not too thin. Santa will love one.
Pigs in blankets
Asda pigs in blankets, £2.40 for 12: These herby, peppery sausages wrapped in crispy bacon stole the show. A definite for the big day.
Sainsbury’s Wensleydale and cranberry, £2 for 200g: Juicy berries and a hint of Christmas spice make it a perfect choice for a cheeseboard.
M&S Brie, bacon and cranberry pizza, 490g, £6: This was a yummy, indulgent treat, full of flavour, and the puffy dough base was just delicious.
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