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Christmas dinner on a budget

With the average cost of Christmas dinner coming in at £10.71 per person, Christmas food buying can be an expensive business. But it is possible to have a Christmas Dinner (including starter, pud and crackers) for less than £3.40 a person* (based on a party of 8). Here’s how to do it.

 

Give them a few nibbles

Cost per person: 60p

It might seem odd to up the budget with party food (before a big meal) but give the rabble a couple of plates of party food and they won’t hassle you about what time you’re going to eat.

To cut down on food waste, go for frozen party food, it’s generally cheaper and you only need to cook what you need. We think that all food is made even better if it looks like a Christmas tree so serve these chicken tree bites and tree tortillas. For a dip mix together 200g light cream cheese, 100g fat free Greek yoghurt and 2 tsp hot chilli sauce.

 

Tasty starters

Cost per person: 50p for soup or 25p for pâté and homemade crackers

At Christmas, supermarkets stock fancy starters, but most of the time you are paying for unwanted packaging or added ingredients. Look at their everyday products and you can find the same thing much cheaper. If you fancy soup, get it from a tin. Spend a little more than you normally would on something like this luxury mushroom soup and no one will ever know.

Alternatively if you prefer something like pate, buy one stocked all year round (it’s a staggering five times cheaper than the Christmas version) and serve with homemade biscuits.

 

The main event

Cost per person: 99p (or £1.50 if you add ready-made veg)

We’re here to tell you that you can cook Christmas Dinner for under £1 a person, but you will have to make a few compromises. Use chicken rather than turkey and ditch the sausages.

Prepare the chicken: Stuff boneless chicken thighs with stuffing made from 2 tsp of cranberry sauce, half a slice of stale bread made into breadcrumbs, half a chopped onion and 30g dried stuffing mix. You then need to roast in an oven for around 35 mins at 180C/Gas 5 until cooked through. Take a rasher of streaky bacon and cut it into two to make bacon rolls and serve with roast spuds and sprouts. You can also add roast veg to bulk out the meal. We reckon one of these trays (which contains ready prepared parsnips, carrots, red onions and Brussels sprouts) will easily feed two people. Plus you just bung it in the oven and there’s no washing up.

 

What's for pudding?

Cost per person: 69p (or 38p per person if you go for yule log instead)

It is much cheaper to buy a Christmas pud than make one. This one is full of fruit and any leftovers crumbled into vanilla ice-cream make a lovely Boxing Day dessert. Brandy butter is the traditional accompaniment but for all the family serve custard. If the family don’t like Christmas pudding but would prefer cake, serve up a yule log and then dress it up with Chrimbo sprinkles like these.

 

Added extras

Cost per person: 57p

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without the cranberry sauce, crackers and mince pies. Be savvy and you can get the lot for under 60p. Get the cheapest cranberry sauce you can and jazz it up with the juice and zest of a satsuma. Everyone will think you’ve made it yourself. A portion of this cranberry sauce will cost about 10p per person.

No one really cares what presents they get in crackers – it’s all about the jokes! Look in your nearest pound shop for boxes of 6 for £1.

Finally, it’s often cheaper to buy mince pies (once you take into account making pastry and buying mincemeat) so splash out on something posh like these ones.

What are your top Christmas tips? Share your savvy stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

*prices correct as of 16/10/18

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