Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Planning your Christmas feast

Christmas dinner

In our opinion, one of the best things about Christmas is the feast on Christmas day – what more could you want than turkey and ham, heaps of mashed potatoes, a little Christmas pudding and a recovery snooze in front of the fire?

It’s very easy to go overboard, particularly if you’re having people over for dinner, and your wallet can take quite the hammering on top of gifts and decorations as people rush around the shops stocking up as if they’re preparing for nuclear war. So how can you ease the financial burden and still enjoy a slap-up meal?

Inventory

Before you leave the house, do a sweep of your fridge and presses, checking for items like dried fruit, puddings, cranberry sauce, herbs and spices. You might be surprised at what you’ll find – there’s no point in buying things twice! If you’re not sure how you can use the ingredients you already have, use SuperCook.com for some good ideas.

Make your list, check it twice

It’s tempting to stuff your trolley with all manner of treats (particularly tins of biscuits and chocolate) when you’re doing the Christmas food shopping, but chances are quite a lot will wind up going stale in the press.

Once you know how many people are calling around, consult your inventory and make a list of what else you need – don’t be tempted to stray beyond. It’s not the end of the world if everything is eaten on Christmas Day, as these days most shops will be open on St. Stephen’s Day or the day after.

Shop around

It’s handy and less stressful to do your Christmas shop in the one place, but you might wind up losing money. Many shops will be offering discounts in the run-up to the big day, so keep an eye out beforehand and make a note of where the best deals are. Compare unit pricing rather than just the pricetag itself.

If you’re buying treats like biscuits, chocolates etc., try discount stores like Mr Price or Dealz as they’ll often have better prices.

Turkey choice

A big bird might look nice on the table, but there’s no point in excessive amounts of meat going to waste. According to the BBC, a turkey between 2-2.5kg should feed between four to six people. Make sure you’ve got a tin big enough to hold it!

And don’t feel like you have to have turkey on Christmas day – a roast chicken can be just as nice and quite possibly cheaper.

Leftover heaven

Christmas is great for those who love dining on leftovers, though you might get a little tired of turkey sandwiches after the fifth day in a row. Cover any leftover turkey or ham shortly after dinner and store it in the fridge – you’ve got three days to use it. Safe Food has got some handy advice on storing and reusing leftover food.

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When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.
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