How to spend less on Christmas food and drink

As we get closer to Christmas, it’s time to start picking up some of your favourite festive food and drink

From big turkeys to posh chocs – Christmas is a time to over-indulge. So how do you enjoy your festive feast, but get the best value possible? I’ve got a few ideas.

Make a list

Really basic, but it’s the best money saver. Once you know who’s coming over for Christmas, work out exactly what you’ll need, and write it all down. Don’t forget to check your cupboards and freezer for any ingredients you already have.

This is much better than just buying more than you need, which will not just cost you more money but could end up as unused leftovers.

Not sure how much to buy for Christmas dinner? Checkout this portion guide from BBC Goodfood – it will help you know exactly how much food you’ll need to buy.

Hunt for bargain veg

To entice you into their supermarkets, last Christmas many retailers sold vegetables for pennies in a Christmas veg price war. And it looks like it will be the same in 2023.

This year, Aldi have confirmed that from December 18th, they will be selling a 2kg bag of potatoes for just 15p and bags of carrots, parsnips, sprouts, cabbages and swede for just 19p.

Sainsbury’s has also announced they will be matching Aldi’s vegetable prices – but only if you have a Nectar card. They’ve also vowed to donate proceeds from festive veg sales to Nourish the Nation in partnership with Comic Relief.

Lidl have also announced plans to sell Christmas veg at a bargain price of 19p and they’re also including shallots in their offering.

We’ll update you here when we hear who else is entering into this year’s festive veg price war! Update: all the major players have joined the cut-price veg war this year bar M&S. You can even get super low priced veg at Waitrose, so stock up whilst you can.

Frozen or fresh – you decide

Frozen turkeys are cheaper than fresh, so you could save money on one of your most expensive Christmas purchases – only if you have a large enough freezer to store it and you’re willing to put up with the faff of defrosting on Christmas eve!

And this year, Aldi claims to be selling the cheapest turkeys, with frozen from £2.78 per kg and fresh from £4.19 per kg.

Go own-brand

For those non-priorities, you can spend less by trying own-brand versions. For example, you might always buy a bottle of Baileys at Christmas, but most supermarket own-brand versions taste exactly the same – but cost a lot less. 

And own-label mince pies are nearly half the price of the well known cake brand ones, and by the time you’ve consumed dinner and had a glass or two of Baileys, you won’t know which mince pie you’re eating!

Avoid festive packaging

Often you’ll find something is branded with Christmas packaging, but there’s a normal alternative available on another aisle that’s either cheaper or better value.

For example, you can find samosas in the party food section and on the Indian food shelves. Same product, different prices and pack size.

Ditch selection packs

It’s quite rare that someone enjoys all the biscuits in a Christmas tin, all the chocs in a festive box or all the crackers in a bumper cracker selection.

These selection packs more often than not work out more expensive than buying individual packets, so unless it’s in a pretty tin and you want to give it as a gift, you might want to stick to the individual packets instead as once they’re out of the packet and on a serving plate, you wouldn’t know if they were from a festive pack or not.

To put this into perspective, the Jacob’s Festive selection box of crackers is currently £4.25 for 400g in Tesco, whilst Tesco’s own-label cream crackers cost just 49p for 300g – that 78p per 100g cheaper.

Book your online delivery slot

Slots are bookable at all the major supermarkets, with some releasing extra Christmas delivery slots nearer to Christmas. So you haven’t missed out on all the available slots yet.

And don’t forget, if you want to avoid the crowds there’s always lots of ‘click and collect’ slots left, nearer to Christmas.

Wait for some reduced deals

If you can hold your nerve, then the day before Christmas is one of the best days of the year to snap up clearance food, including turkeys, vegetables and fresh gateaux. 

Since many shops will shut on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there’s a lot of food that will need to be cleared from the shelves. Even more so this year, with Christmas Eve on a Sunday meaning reduced opening hours.

But like the clearance section most evenings in supermarkets, you can never count on getting what you want.

It’s obviously a risk buying your turkey discounted on Christmas Eve, so if that’s too much of a gamble, then you can always buy what you need in advance and use Christmas Eve to shop for bargains you can freeze for other celebrations like New Year or even Easter. 

Just make sure your freezer has room as those turkeys, discounted or not, will take up a drawer by themselves!

And don’t forget, after the festivities are over, you’ll often find crackers, wrapping paper and cards reduced to clearance, so if you have room in your loft, then stock up on those Christmas essentials for the following year.

Use your leftovers

Turkey sarnies, turkey curry, turkey soup, turkey stir-fry…just think Bubba in his famous shrimp recital in the Forest Gump movie! It’s possibly the one time of year where we actively enjoy using up leftovers. 

There are so many helpful recipe ideas online including this selection at Olive, that there’s no excuse to let any Christmas food go to waste. 

And if your fridge is packed to the rafters like mine is at Christmas, just make note of the use by dates  so food doesn’t go to waste.  If you don’t think you can finish it before the use-by date, just remember, many Christmas goodies can be frozen, including foods like cheese, mince pies and cake.


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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.