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Six ways to save on the cost of Christmas dinner

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Rocketing food prices mean the cost of cooking a Christmas dinner is on the up – here’s how you can cut costs.

A study by Opinium found that more than half (55%) of consumers who celebrate Christmas are concerned about the cost of food this festive season.

One in five (21%) of those questioned said they would be keeping Christmas lights off as much as possible to save on energy, while almost three in five (57%) were actively seeking out ways to reduce the cost of their regular food shop.

Francesca Silve, senior researcher at Opinium, said: “Given the rising cost of living, and with the price of every day necessities soaring, it is unsurprising that people are feeling worried about financing the holiday season this year.

“Making cheaper substitutions, buying from the reduced section and cutting back on luxuries may not feel very festive, but as our research shows it’s what consumers feel they need to do to help take the pressure off given the current economic environment.”

Here are six ways to reduce the cost of your Christmas dinner.

1. Shop in Asda – or a budget supermarket

Which? found that Asda was the cheapest big name supermarket at which to do your Christmas dinner shop.

Researchers at Which? analysed the prices of 10 popular Christmas items, including a frozen medium turkey crown, a stock pot; sides of sprouts, potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, carrots, cranberry sauce, stuffing and a Christmas pudding.

The items cost £30.72 at Asda, which was cheaper than Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose.

Budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi weren’t included in the study – both of these are likely to work out cheaper than Asda.

A study by Opinium found that one in seven (15%) people plan to try and buy as much Christmas food as possible from the reduced section of the supermarket to try and combat rising living costs.

2. Scrap the turkey

According to Opinium, 4.8 million UK adults will forgo traditional turkey for Christmas this year due to cost of living concerns.

Going meat-free is a popular way to save cash on Christmas day. According to meat substitute company Quorn, the average price for a large turkey dinner with all the trimmings to serve a family of four comes in at between £42 to £70.

In comparison, the average price of a Quorn Roast Christmas dinner is £20.04. Further cost savings can be made by swapping other meat items, such as pigs in blankets, for vegetarian options.

3. Buy frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables will be much cheaper than fresh ones. For example, according to Quorn, a packet of frozen roast potatoes costs £1.39 compared to £1.75 for a packet of Maris Piper potatoes which you’d need to roast yourself.

Buying packets of frozen carrots, sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower will also work out cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

4. Ditch the oven for an air-fryer

Air-fryers have been a big hit in 2022 due to their energy efficiency and Brits’ concerns over rising energy bills.

Air fryers are up to three times cheaper to run than conventional ovens and produce as good or better quality food – and you can cook your turkey in one.

Using a standard oven to cook your turkey would cost about 68p per hour. So cooking a 5kg turkey for three hours would cost more than £2.

Air fryers cost about 34p an hour to run at current prices – meaning you could cook a turkey for under £1. Cooking the turkey in a pressure cooker is another money-saving option.

5. Plan your meals

Before you go shopping for Christmas dinner items, make a list and plan what you’ll need according to the number of guests.

You can save money by heading to the supermarket at closing time on Christmas Eve and looking for ‘yellow sticker’ items – although this can be a risky strategy.

If you do buy too much, make sure you use up any leftovers. You can make dishes such as turkey curry and soups, and freeze them for later.

6. Split the cost

If you’re hosting a lot of people over the Christmas period, the cost can soon add up.

Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to contribute, whether it’s a financial contribution to the cost of the meal or bringing a food or drink item with them.