We all know Christmas is around the corner and while we all enjoy getting together with family and friends, the expense is always going to be an issue. You have bought presents and wrapping paper and you have travel costs and that is before you think about how you will feed all those relatives who will be descending on you for the festive season.
Nobody wants to feel that their Christmas dinner is a bit of a let down, but here are some very small changes you can make which will save you pounds and nobody will even notice. In fact, chances are they will be impressed at your ingenuity.
- Get invited to someone else's house. OK this is tongue in cheek – but if you really are struggling for money this year – this will be the cheapest option for you. Offer to bring a few bottles of wine or to do the washing up and you might find that the offers start rolling in.
- Share the load – ask your guests to bring a course each. As the host you can provide the main meat course. But ask someone to bring the veg, another person to bring dessert and another to take care of the snacks. At the end of the evening share out the leftovers and everyone is happy. It will save your guests the guilt of turning up empty handed.
- Buy at the last minute – this is risky, but worthwhile. Some stores will mark Christmas items down by up to 50% on Christmas Eve, knowing that they will not open again for a couple of days. Try to get on the good side of supermarket staff and find out when the markdowns will begin. Just have a frozen chicken in the freezer just in case the worst happens and all that is left is the seafood platter.
- Buy it boned – meat which has had the bones removed will slice thinner and go further. It may be slightly more expensive to buy but will go further with much less waste.
- Don't go overboard – remember that on Christmas Day everyone ends up feeling absolutely stuffed and there are always leftovers for days and even weeks to come. Try to think more carefully about who you are buying for and how much they will eat. There is no need to get a turkey for 12 when you are only feeding 6.
- Watch the nibbles – crisps, chocolates, nuts (which never get eaten), pate...this list goes on. Unless your fiends and family will be waiting for hours for the turkey to be cooked, then keep snacks to a minimum. The size of the Christmas meal is huge – all those snacks will just ruin their appetite.
- No one actually wants port! - why is that we only buy port and sherry at Christmas? It is usually something we bring in on the off chance that our old Aunty might pop in. The best and cheapest thing to do is to buy what you know your family likes to drink. At the end of the day, once they have downed a few glasses of wine or G&T's chances are they won't really care what is in their glass.
- Get ready for next year – Once this year is over, start to think about next year. Buying in the January sales is the best way to find wrapping paper, cards, decorations, crackers and even long lasting food items. They will all be at amazing prices compared to before Christmas and you will kick yourself if you don't take advantage.