Christmas dinner: Six ways to cut Christmas dinner costs including using an air fryer & shopping tips
If you’re the designated Christmas dinner chef you might be wondering how to cut costs on Christmas dinner this year to make the pennies go further.
As Christmas Day nears, and present-buying is well underway, you may have started to see the effects of the festive period on your bank balance. Once you’ve dished out a few quid for a Christmas tree, decorations and presents for family and friends, you might be dreading even thinking about the huge food haul that is expected over the Christmas period.
With the average cost of Christmas day celebrations coming in at £905, and £146 of that being spent on food, it is more important than ever to find ways to cut costs as the cost of living rises. To help, WorldRemit’s Caz Gundu, a Zimbabwean-British cooking influencer, has shared her top tips on cutting the cost of Christmas dinner; from sourcing better value ingredients to minimising cooking time to save money on energy bills.
Combining cooking tips and food shopping hacks, you could make some much-needed cuts this Christmas time. Here are six easy ways you could save money over the festive season.
6 ways to cut the cost of Christmas Dinner
1. Spatchcock your chicken or turkey
When we think of cooking the Christmas turkey, we tend to think about the lengthy ordeal of standing by the oven and frequently checking the meat to ensure it doesn’t dry out. This of course uses hours of energy and ramps up the bills in the process.
A way to minimise the gas and electric bills and cut down cooking time, spatchcock or butterfly the turkey, or even use a chicken as a cheaper alternative. Simply cut and remove the backbone and apply pressure so that the bird lays flat on the tray. Not only does this quicken the cooking time, but it allows for more to fit in the oven at the same time. This further helps to save time and energy, letting you get back to your family, friends and festivities.
2. Make your meat go further
Make sure you use all of the meat and don’t be afraid to add chicken wings to the main meal. Wings and thighs don’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts and are perfect for young children to tuck into.
To save time, marinate your wings the night before, so the seasonings can soak into the meat. Of course, be generous with the seasonings. Alternatively, if you have people who don’t like the bone, cook until soft and the meat should fall right off.
3. Buy mixed seasonings rather than individual seasonings
Pre-made seasonings with all the flavourings, such as garlic or barbeque, help lower the cost of ingredients. You can buy mixed herbs with parsley, basil, thyme, marjoram and oregano, which are perfect for seasoning meat, potatoes and vegetables. Not only are they generally cheaper but buying mixed seasonings saves the stress of looking for individual ingredients during the Christmas season.
4. Buy dried herbs instead of fresh
Dried herbs last a lot longer than fresh herbs but still have the same delicious flavour.
Stocking up on cheaper dried herbs will reduce the amount of waste produced and also save you money in the long run as they will last longer.
5. Buy from a wholesaler
At Christmas, you will probably have more mouths to feed than usual, which comes with a larger price tag. Buy from a wholesaler if you are cooking for extended family or have a lot of guests. For instance, an overnight market allows you to buy more products at a cheaper price. However, be sure to head down early to ensure you get all the items you need!
6. Optimise your air fryer
Have you ever thought about using an air fryer for Christmas dinner? Air Fryers have soared in popularity over the past few years and for good reason. Free up space on the hob and cut gas bills by opting for this electrical appliance. Not to mention the delicious crispy roasties they can make in under half an hour.