Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Budget Christmas feast

Christmas dinner

There’s just over three weeks to Christmas, and you’ve probably started your Christmas shopping – on the hunt for gifts, decorations and replacements for the lights that have mysteriously broken sometime in the past 12 months.

It’s also a good time to start stocking up on food and drink, with most retailers offering discounts on alcohol, crisps and other essential Christmas goodies. So what’s the best way to do a cost-effective Christmas shop?

Stock check

Take an hour or two to take stock of everything in your cupboards and fridge – you might be surprised at what’s hiding inside and is still in date. Once you know exactly what you have, you can make a list of what you need for the Christmas Day feast.

Shopping list

This stands for every shopping trip – make a list and stick to it. Sit down with your family or significant other and figure out exactly what you’ll need for Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day at least, to save you stepping outside if you don’t have to. Stick to the list and avoid the impulse buy – the boxes of Raffaello might be on offer but they’re still expensive!

Shop around

Even if you ordinarily shop in Lidl or Aldi every week, pay a trip to Tesco or SuperValu to see what they’ve got on offer, particularly for non-perishable items. And, before you do that big shop a few days before the big day, check your list against any online prices you can find – but bear in mind the cost of your petrol if the Lidl and Tesco are 20km away from one another.

Chicken or turkey?

Although it’s traditional to have turkey on Christmas Day, there’s no law that says you have to! Chicken, beef or lamb are all just as tasty and your wallet might thank you for it. If you do buy a turkey, make sure you get the most suitable size. For a large family that’s likely to feast on the leftovers over a few days, plump for a larger bird. Smaller groups and picky eaters should opt for a smaller bird, or ask your butcher for a turkey crown – a turkey with the legs and wings removed.

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.