10 ways to save money on your Christmas food shop

December 8, 2022 • Chris Bardsley

When it comes to Christmas food shopping, it’s not just about the big day itself. There’s Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and all the days leading to New Year's Eve as well. Each of these occasions brings a new wave of entertaining and celebration - and a whole lot of food.

Fair for You is here to help you spread the cost of Christmas - whether it’s on food, kitchen appliances or a few sweet treats for the kids (and parents). If you’re thinking of applying for a Fair for You loan this December, make sure to double check our Christmas deadlines so you don’t miss out.

Getting organised early can help you to keep track of all the different festive meals - while staying on budget. It’s especially important if you have fussy eaters or family members with different dietary requirements.

Making your own Christmas dinner doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. With a little planning and some simple recipes, you can save money and have a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.

Always choose a cheaper supermarket

When it comes to Christmas food shopping, choosing a cheaper supermarket like Lidl or Aldi, can save you much needed pennies. From pigs in blankets to extra special desserts, Iceland has a truly delicious selection of Christmas food that everyone can enjoy. You could even apply for the Fair for You Food Club Card to use in-store and online at Iceland. Check to see if you’re eligible for up to £75 credit, and spread the cost of your festive food shop over the next few months.

Plan your meals and write a list of ingredients

There's nothing worse than getting to the shop on Christmas Eve and realising you're missing a key ingredient for your holiday feast. To avoid this holiday disaster, be sure to write out a comprehensive shopping list before heading to the store. Include every last item you'll need, no matter how small, to make your Christmas dinner perfect. With a complete shopping list in hand, you can be confident that you'll have everything you need to make your holiday feast a success. Plus - if you have a list, it feels like you’re more likely to stick to it, rather than letting those extras creep into the trolley as you walk around.

Go homemade

By making your own dishes, you can control how much you spend on ingredients and avoid wasting money on pre-bought items that you may not even end up using. Plus, you'll get to enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you made something yourself!

Roasted vegetables are a great option for a homemade Christmas dinner. All you need are some basic veggies like carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. Simply toss them in olive oil and your favourite seasonings, then roast them in the oven until they're tender.

You could even try roasting your veggies in an air fryer instead this Christmas to save money on energy bills. It can be more cost effective to heat up an air fryer over an entire oven. Fair for You has a wide range of kitchen appliances to help you with your Christmas cooking this year. Whether you need an air fryer or a new oven for Christmas dinner, we’ve got your back. Check to see if you’re eligible for a loan with Fair for You and spread the cost of your new appliance with weekly, fortnightly, four-weekly or monthly repayments. We’re here to help you save money this Christmas. Head to our blog on how to save money with energy efficient appliances to find out more.

Buy non-perishables in advance

Buy your non-perishable food items in early December so you can take advantage of sales and avoid the last-minute rush (and prices) at the store. Some great non-perishable items to buy in advance include canned goods, dry goods like flour and sugar, and drinks like wine and beer. Grab all your favourite festive treats when they’re available and keep them in the cupboard until Christmas. You could even take advantage of those offers on mince pie… and hide a pack for yourself (we won’t tell!).

Shop frozen where possible

Stock up on all of your favourite festive foods when they are on sale and then simply defrost them closer to Christmas day. Some great examples of foods that freeze well include turkey, ham, mince pies and Christmas pudding.

If you only have a small freezer right now, it might be time to size up with a larger model from the Fair for You retailers catalogue. You can start batch cooking and freezing more food in preparation for Christmas - and other events throughout the year. Fair for You can help you spread the initial cost of the freezer so you can save money on groceries in the long term.

Batch cook some easy meals

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, between presents, parties and food. One way to help ease the financial burden is by batch-cooking some meals in advance. This way, you can have a few home-cooked meals ready to go for those days between Christmas and New Year's Eve, without having to spend extra money on eating out. Plus, it's a great way to use up any leftover Christmas food.

So what are some good recipes to batch cook? Chilli or bolognese are always popular options, but really anything can be premade and frozen for later. Just make sure to have plenty of freezer space available! And if you're feeling really organised, you can even make a big batch of Christmas cookies or cake to have on hand for dessert.

Own label versus branded

There are plenty of ways to save money when you're grocery shopping, and one of them is by choosing own-brand items over branded ones. Own-brand products are often just as good as their branded counterparts, but they usually cost a lot less. If you take a stroll down the supermarket aisle, you'll notice that own-brand food items often have a different look to their branded counterparts. They might be packaged in plain, more generic-looking packaging, and they might not have the same flashy marketing or branding. But don't let appearances fool you - own-brand products can be just as good as, if not better than, their branded equivalents.

There’s always leftovers

Turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes… there’s always plenty to go around. And while some people might be tired of eating the same thing day after day, there are plenty of ways to mix things up and make your leftovers go further.

While we’ve picked a few of our favourites below, there are a whole host of ideas on the BBC Good Food website: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/leftover-christmas-turkey-recipes

One great way to use up leftover turkey is to make a turkey pie. Simply combine the turkey with some of your other favourite leftovers like carrots, peas and potatoes, add a creamy sauce and pop it all in a pie dish. Top with some puff pastry and voila – you’ve got a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love.

Another great way to use up leftover turkey is in a turkey salad. This is a great option if you’re looking for something lighter after all the holiday feasting. Simply dice up the turkey and mix it with some chopped celery, grapes and mayonnaise. Season to taste and serve on a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich.

And if you’ve got any leftover gravy, why not turn it into a delicious turkey soup? Just add some chopped-up turkey, veggies and some broth or water. Season to taste and enjoy!

Ask everyone to help out

One way to help offset the cost of Christmas dinner is to ask each family member to contribute a dish. This way, everyone can chip in and you won't have to shoulder the entire burden yourself. Just be sure to coordinate ahead of time so that you don't end up with six different kinds of dessert - and no main course.

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