Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s a time when the world is coated in a charming layer of frost which we can admire from the comfort of our warm cosy homes. It’s a time when we draw the ones we love close to us and hold them a little bit tighter. It’s the time of year when we all get to regard the world with a sense of childlike wonder as we dive under the tree to unwrap our presents and sit around the table, unbuttoning our waistbands in anticipation. For many, though, it’s also a time of incredible anxiety. Last year, the average Christmas spend for a UK family was over £700. For those whose financial circumstances are less than ideal, the coming of the season can provoke feelings of dread, not excitement.
While there are plenty of ways in which we can save money on our presents and cards, these festive mainstays are only part of the problem. For many us, the prospect of the traditional Christmas dinner is not only a logistical effort akin to the average military operation, it can also be an extremely costly affair. This can push us right over the edge of our budget and make borrowing seem extra appealing. While some families can make an advance payday loan or credit cards work for them, some prefer to save rather than borrow. If you fall in the latter camp, there are some effective hacks that can help thrifty families to save a fortune while still having a Christmas dinner to remember for years to come…
Go meat free
For many of us, the sight of a huge turkey at the centre of a dinner table is as ubiquitous as crackers, baubles and tipsy in-laws. That said, there are many compelling reasons to go meat free this Christmas. There’s compelling evidence that a vegan diet free of meat and dairy products is beneficial for our health and the environment as well as being generally lower in cost. The increased demand has led supermarkets to up their game with a range of vegan alternatives to the traditional Christmas roast from nut roasts to tofu ‘turkey’ with all the trimmings. The rising cost of meat and dairy is a huge factor in families choosing to opt for a vegan Christmas dinner. Many vegan meals can be made for £2 a serving or less while Asda’s vegan mince pies taste every bit as good as their buttery counterparts at a bargain price.
If you do buy a bird, choose her carefully
If you absolutely can’t have a Christmas without meat, be sure to choose your turkey carefully. It’s easy to pay £20 a kilo for the best of the best while a budget bird is more likely to fall at around £3 per kilo. Find a bird that will offer more meat per kilo when cooked. Depending on who’s coming to dinner, a bigger or smaller bird may be more economical.
Keep it merry by ditching the booze
Another major cost incurred at Christmas time is the bulk buying of beers and wines and while the taste of either can enhance the quality of the meal, the cost can be prohibitive. And let’s not overlook the unfortunate effects that one glass too many can have on certain members of the family. A good alcohol free mulled wine can bring you the taste of Christmas at a fraction of the cost of its boozy cousin.
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