Christmas can be a tough time of year if you're on a strict budget - especially for families. With abundance all around us, we can often feel under pressure to keep up with the hype. From expensive gifts to all of the seasonal favorites around the table, it can be a lot to deal with. Creating an elaborate Christmas meal just like we see on TV can seem impossible when we're restricted financially, but don't panic - you don't need to spend serious cash to make a meal that will bring the whole family together. We've got a few handy tips to keep in your Christmas stocking from the good folks over at BBC Food.
Ditch store-bought and go for homemade. When it comes to festive nibbles to pass around pre or post-dinner, then it may seem easier to grab some ready-made ones from the store. Unfortunately, retailers are often pretty crafty when it comes to hiking the prices up, but you could save a few bucks by making your own. It might take a little time and patience, but why not get the kids involved and make it fun?
Search for cheaper alternatives. If the purse strings are a little tighter this year than on previous occasions, you might find yourself longing for some of your favorite festive treats. Dishes like smoked salmon are often a staple on December 25th, but they usually come with a price tag that would make St. Nick himself shudder. Don't deny yourself the indulgence completely, instead look for recipes that are similar but cheap to make. Smoked salmon trimmings are often much cheaper than the whole fish and make a great pate, like this recipe.
Go big (or small) on the bird. Buying a bigger bird will inevitably cost more money, but can go further in the long run. For example, a nice plump turkey could see you through the main event and even make a nice curry the next day, making two meals out of one item. Alternatively, if you always plan to eat leftovers but never do, then consider buying a smaller bird. There's no sense in buying more than what you need if it can save you money.
Check your cupboards first. Getting out to the store and throwing everything in the cart can seem like the sensible thing to do, but how many of us have put the groceries away to find that we've already got a pack of something in the cupboard? Checking what you've got left might strike some things from your list.
Do you have any tips for keeping it thrifty this Christmas? Let us know in the comments.