How to get the most from your Christmas grocery budget
It's all too easy to overspend on your Christmas food shopping: buying duplicates of items we already have in stock from last year, buying in greater quantities than we need, buying more than we can store or getting distracted by random discounts tempting us to dig deeper into our pockets.
By using up what we have and shopping carefully, we can avoid adding to the UK's Christmas food waste mountain and save a considerable chunk of our original Christmas budget. These savings we can use either to cushion the January bills or to put towards a few extra delicious Christmas dinner upgrades!
Keep your eyes on the prize this year with these tried and tested tips for getting the most from your grocery budget.
Before you shop, use up what you have
Can you eat down the items in your freezer and fridge currently? Not only will you create space for preserving your Christmas goodies and any leftovers, we can also make sure that anything perishable gets used up before we pile in that Christmas shop on top of it. We don't want to be clearing out stinky salad soup or furry pesto in early January!
Using up items we already have in stock will save us money in the run up to the festivities as well, giving us a little more in the budget for a few special Christmas dinner upgrades: perhaps organic chipolatas and bacon for 'Pigs in Blankets' instead of the conventionally raised options? Or some locally grown veg from the Farmers' Market?
A great tip for organised cooks: when using up those perishable items in family dinners, double or triple the recipe and set aside a few extra potions to whip out of the freezer when things get fraught closer to the big day.
Check for Christmas food stashes
Check those awkward kitchen corners for Christmas foods you may have stashed last year in forgotten 'safe places'- you may still be surprised to turn up quite a few usable items!
Is that a half-full bottle of brandy lurking in the baking cupboard? That's one to tick off this year's shopping list and at least a fiver saved.
A forgotten Christmas pud? Unopened jars of mincemeat and cranberry sauce? Tick, tick, tick and more savings to put into January's pot or towards tasty Christmas upgrades, such as spending a little extra on organic wine to accompany your meal!
*** Please be cautious with food safety, no one wants food poisoning as a Christmas gift! The general guidelines are that anything past its 'Use By' date or smelling 'off' needs to go. Foods with a 'Best Before' date should be safe to eat after that date, but they may no longer be at their tastiest. To be extra sure, use the Still Tasty website to double check whether a food is still good to eat. ***
Use our guidelines to plan portion sizes and make your list
Christmas dinner is the biggest food event of the year in most British houses, so these portion guidelines for the classic turkey dinner are generous enough to allow for a real feast plus Boxing Day leftovers without being over the top.
Simply multiply these amounts by the number of people at your dinner, going for the higher guideline figure if you're cooking for less than four folks or those attending are known to be particularly greedy!
All these weights are based on adult appetites, so adjust accordingly if you're hosting children:
Turkey: 500g - 675g per person, based on the weight of the whole bird
Roast potatoes: 225g - 250g per person
'Pigs in Blankets': 2 - 3 per person
Stuffing:125g - 150g or 2 - 3 stuffing balls per person
Three vegetables, e.g. Brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips: 75g per vegetable per person (i.e. 225g veggies per person)
Cranberry sauce: 50g per person
Bread sauce: 75g per person
Gravy:125ml per person
Get your non-perishables now
We can avoid the worst of the seasonal shopping rush and make sure we get exactly what we want by getting in all of our non-perishable and frozen Christmas food a few weeks beforehand. With this in mind, it's a good idea to divide your 'big' shopping list into perishables and non-perishables.
Book your last-minute delivery slot asap
If you order your shopping online for delivery, firstly, well done - by not taking the car out to the shops, you're cutting your Christmas carbon footprint. Secondly, make sure to get that last-minute delivery slot booked as soon as you can so that you aren't receiving perishable goods too many days before the day. We want everything lovely and fresh!
The very best seasons greetings from all of us here at Greenredeem - we hope you have a wonderful time!