Top pre Christmas budget food tips
Are you starting to think about the size of your food shopping bill over the Christmas period?
By starting early and being prepared, you can spread the cost and take advantage of various offers and discounts - all good for money saving at this expensive time of year!
1. Plan ahead
As well as meal planning for your weekly shop, try and think ahead to what you'll need during the festive period. Divide your shopping list into perishables and non-perishables. Many of the non-perishables will have long use by dates which means you can start buying them now. Add an item to your trolley each week it will help you spread out the cost.
Here are some of the items you can start buying:
• tins or boxes of chocolates
• chutneys & preserves
• cheese biscuits
• soft drinks
• any additional equipment such as large roasting tin
Non-perishables will keep nicely in a cool dry place but be sure to store your goodies away so they don't get eaten before Christmas!
2. Set a budget
Set yourself a food shopping budget and then stick to it. Don't be tempted into buying more expensive brands with attractive Christmassy packaging. Instead try and stick to your usual tried and tested brands or think of ways of balancing out a more expensive product with an own brand product for something else. Look out for good wines, biscuits and chocolates on special offer when you do the weekly shop and don’t forget to compare the specials in the in store advertising flyers
3. Freezers at the ready!
Start thinking about clearing out your freezer. Over the next couple of weeks, plan meals based on what you've already got in your freezer. This will not only save you money but also make room in the freezer for seasonal food on offer and leftovers during the festive season.
Make a list of what's in your freezer and stick it on the door so you don't have to rummage around every time you want something.
4. Foodie gifts
Have a think about who would like to receive a foodie gift - either some edible homemade treats or a foodie hamper filled with their favourite foods, such as yummy homemade fudge, shortbread or gingerbread men. Make a list of the ingredients needed or what you'd like to put in the hamper and try to buy one or two things each week to spread out the cost.
5. Be a savvy Internet shopper
Supermarket prices can fluctuate greatly in the run up to Christmas. Shopping online can also help you stick to a budget by calculating the total as you go along and stops those impulse buys.
6. Home cooked
It's nearly always cheaper to cook a dish at home than to buy ready made at the supermarket. When meal planning over the Christmas period, think about including recipes for using up all the leftovers. And over the next few weeks, try to reduce your weekly shopping bill by including some budget recipes into your meal planner.
7. Ask family and friends
And finally, don't be shy about asking family and friends to bring an item for the table/meal. Most people are happy to bring something and it makes it easier for them if you name a specific item such as bottle of wine or some cheese for the cheese board.
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