By Orla Connolly
According to David Maher in the Irish Mirror, Irish consumers are set to spend €550 million on food alone this festive season. With reports that the average Irish family will spend a whopping €150 or more on their Christmas day turkey dinner, we thought we’d supply some Christmas culinary tips to keep food costs low and festivities high during the silly season.
Check your cupboards
I know this may seem somewhat obvious, but when was the last time you had a good root around in your own cupboard? You really don’t know what you have hiding in there (those tinned cranberries that got nudged into a corner after last year) and once you do, you’ll be better equipped to know what you need for your Yuletide feast.
Make a list, check it twice!
Now that you know what you have on offer (and what you don’t), you can make a good old fashioned shopping list. Plan your meals for the season so you’ll know exactly what you need to make it happen. Avoid the impulse buy that can often occur when you pass flashing signs promising great deals and remember, if you really needed it, you would have put it on your list!
Make it from scratch
When you buy luxury food items what you’re really paying for is the privilege of not having to prepare the meal yourself. Now, if your cooking often results in trips to the emergency room feel free to glaze over this tip but, if you can whip up a decent Christmas pudding without any danger, why not add that personal touch of Jamie Oliver to your party plate?
Keep up with the price war
At this time of year supermarkets are begging for your business, so indulge in the deals. In the weeks running up to Christmas keep a thrifty eye on their bargains for non perishable items like tinned vegetables and stock up a little at a time. Before you go and do any big food shop for the fateful day remember to check that list you’ve made against online prices and see who is going to give you the best value for your dinner.
Don’t buy all your treats at once
I’m serious about this one! Stocking up on tins of biscuits and boxes of roses to last you until New Year may seem like a good way to be prepared and avoid Christmas stress, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Instead buy enough to last you for Christmas Day and no longer. When St. Stephen’s Day approaches, there’s nothing more disheartening than popping into the shops for a pint of milk and seeing a giant reduced sign on sweets you have sitting at home, still unopened!