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Save money on festive food this Christmas

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With a large family, I know how expensive Christmas dinner can end up costing, but it actually doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are my top tips for keeping the cost of festive food down this year………..

  1. Buy own brand products at the supermarket, which are often half the price of branded goods but still just as tasty (Waitrose in particular are voted highly).  Many supermarkets now even have their own ‘luxury’ ranges as well as the economy products but don’t be fooled by the stripped back packaging and names of some of their cheaper own brand ranges like Tesco ‘value’ or Sainsbury’s ‘basic’.  This is deliberately done to make them less appealing to customers than the ‘finest’ or ‘premium’ packets.  However they are usually half the price and often taste just as good as the higher end items.  If you want to know more about this ‘downshifting’ you can even go to supermarketownbrandguide.co.uk where there are taste tests and ratings of own brand goods.  Supermarket comparison site mySupermarket also includes a ‘trade down’ option so you can see the alternatives to the branded products you have in your trolley.
  2. Mums go to Iceland!  In a recent blind tasting by Good Housekeeping magazine, Iceland beat 24 other brands to be awarded the title of Britain’s best mince pie and at £1.50 for a pack of six they are also a bargain!  Iceland’s Luxury 12-month Matured Christmas Pudding at just £6 was also runner up in the blind tasting, being beaten by M&S whose pud is DOUBLE the price!  Iceland also picked up the coveted award for best turkey with its Luxury British Whole Brined Turkey with Orange And Thyme Butter.  Iceland are now serious contenders for best festive food brand.
  3. If you have the time, make it yourself!  The array of pre-packaged festive foods on display may be tempting but they will end up costing you more.  If you do want to buy ready-made snacks and canapes, mySupermarket is a great way to compare prices across the different supermarkets.  They will also alert you to any special offers and vouchers that you could take advantage of to save more festive pennies.
  4. Be savvy about how much you buy.  It is so easy to over cater at Christmas – remember, on the whole it is ONE meal (and maybe a bit of extra salad stuff for tea) so don’t cook enough for everyone in the street!  To avoid having LOADS of waste in the first place, use the portion calculator at lovefoodhatewaste.com.  Rather than guessing how many potatoes to peel, you can be a little more scientific in your approach to saving time and money and can only buy or prepare the amount you need!  
  5. When buying booze for the big day, also don’t be afraid to shop own brand!  Morrisons’ Wm Morrison Prosecco Spumante took the top spot in taste tests at £8.25 but the runner-up, Lidl’s Allini Prosecco Spumante, is the real steal at £5.29.  It is also worth heading to Aldi for spirits as they have a lot of non-branded items that are rated highly on taste and cost half the price.
  6. If you’re brave enough, a good time for food bargains can be Christmas Eve as the stores will be closed on Christmas Day and will want to shift their perishables so you can take advantage of cut price offers. Going towards the end of the day or just before the store closes can be a good time to get cut price meat, fish and baked goods.  If you are buying lots of reduced items, you need to watch out for the ‘Use by’ date to make sure you don’t get stuck with 3 meals that all need to be eaten on the same day. 
  7. Although the checkouts are busy at Christmas, still take the time to check your receipts.  Sometimes not all of the festive 2 for 1 or BOGOF offers have been uploaded to tills and it means the discounts aren’t taken off your final bill and it can soon add up.  Therefore check your receipt immediately so that you can highlight any mistakes before you leave the store and ask for them to be rectified. Once you are home, it is harder to prove. If you use the self-scan machine as you shop, it should remind you about a special offer as you go around so that you don’t miss out on them AND you can keep track of the discounts as you go.

For loads more ways to save on your groceries, visit my website letssavemoney and enjoy your Christmas feast!

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