How to save money on food this Christmas…
Save money this Christmas with a little help from Loans 2 Go.
In our last article we looked at ideas about how to save money this Christmas. But one of the main areas where we can easily end up overspending – apart from presents – is food.
So how can you save money on your food and drinks bill this Christmas? Let’s take a look at five great ideas on how to do this.
- Plan ahead
The key thing to do to save money is to have a plan. It really is worth spending time before you go shopping to write down everything that you are going to need. This will help you to ensure that nothing is forgotten and also stop you buying things that you don’t actually need. Make sure that you do a thorough check of your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you go, to avoid buying items that you already have in stock but had forgotten about.
Also have a think about why you are buying what is on your list. Just because it’s a tradition to have turkey, it’s perfectly ok to have something else if that would work better for you. Not everyone actually likes turkey so one alternative would be to have chicken instead. Or something completely different altogether. Also if you are having guests, make sure that you are aware of their food preferences, for example in case you need to provide a vegetarian or gluten free alternative as well.
So be creative and think about what you really want, rather than spending a small fortune on a traditional dinner with all the trimmings just out of habit.
- Don’t buy the most expensive brand
There is a lot of pressure on all of us to have the perfect Christmas. And this can lead us into thinking that we have to have the “best” of everything – which usually translates into the most expensive. But don’t fall for this marketing ploy! When doing your food shopping, compare different brands and you will probably find that the ingredients are exactly the same even though the packaging and prices may vary enormously.
So don’t be hesitant to buy cheaper brands, because you’ll probably find that they are just as good. Check all shelves in the aisle as you will often find that the cheaper brands are placed lower down. Also keep an eye open as you go round the supermarket, as sometimes products appear in different size packets in different aisles and you might be able to save money by buying a larger quantity.
Also avoid buying all those little extras that you can easily manage without but that will hugely push up the amount of money you spend. For example we can spend so much money on party nibbles and canapes that we probably don’t need: why fill up on them when there is a huge dinner on its way?
- Shop around for the best deals
No matter where you usually shop, Christmas is a good time to shop around. Most major supermarkets – also many local stores – have a range of different offers and discounts in the run up to Christmas. So it’s a good idea to spread your shopping between them and get the best deals from each. There are many online tools available – for example MySupermarket – that will price up a basket of shopping at various different supermarkets to ensure that you know where to get the best deal.
Also remember to make the most of any coupons, vouchers and supermarket loyalty card points to reduce the cost of your shopping. It’s also worth looking at any introductory offers for online shopping to see if you can organise a delivery that will also get you more money off the cost of your food shopping.
- Don’t panic buy
When you are food shopping for Christmas, particularly as the Big Day gets nearer, be very careful not to panic buy. There’s something about the last minute buzz of Christmas that can spur us into throwing random items into our trolley: things we don’t need and that end up costing a lot of money.
So stay strong and resist panic buying. Keep in mind that the big supermarkets are only usually closed for one day, and in a real emergency you can normally find a petrol station open that will sell at least the basics. But usually this panic is ill-founded; most of us have enough food in the house to feed everyone for days!
- Stir things up in the kitchen
We’ve all heard of Stir Up Sunday, the last Sunday in November when traditionally it’s time to stir up the Christmas pudding. But perhaps the time to really make the most of your cooking skills is after Christmas. There are bound to be a load of leftovers, both cooked and raw food. So make these last for as many days after Christmas as you can.
This doesn’t all have to be about turkey curry! You can get as creative as you like and try out all kinds of vegetable combinations, pies, bakes, soups and puddings. Also check what you have in the cupboard or freezer to supplement the Christmas leftovers and you could find yourself inventing some amazing new culinary creations!
We hope that this article has given you some ideas as to how to save money on your Christmas food shopping. Check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Loans 2 Go.