7 Money Saving Tips for Christmas Lunch that Won’t Quash Your Christmas Spirit

Wondering how to make your dollar go further this Christmas and NOT blow it all on Christmas lunch? Here are some clever swaps you can make so you can deliver a gorgeous lunch, and keep some money in your pocket, without quashing your Christmas spirit – or appetite.

It’s easy to get carried away and be tempted into buying all the Christmas food options at the supermarket. Costs can blow out as quickly as post-lunch waistbands so it’s wise to have a plan before you even start.

Just because you might be watching your money and pinching pennies doesn’t mean your lunch can’t be a special one. You CAN have an incredible lunch even on the tightest of budgets with a few good budget-friendly swaps!

Christmas lunch
You CAN have a gorgeous Christmas lunch even on a tight budget. Source: Unsplash

7 ways to save money on Christmas lunch

1. Be seafood savvy

The seafood counter can be a real money trap, but you don’t have to go without it. Instead of feasting on prawns as a free for all main course, make them go further by portioning them into smaller tasters.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: Buy fresh prawns to make small prawn cocktail entrees or prawn and pineapple skewers for the bbq. If you’re looking for a real bargain, keep your eye out for bags of frozen prawns on special for even more savings.

Christmas lunch
Save money by making prawns go further this Christmas lunch! Source: Bigstock

2. Minimise the meat

Whoever said that variety is the spice of life, clearly wasn’t paying for Christmas lunch. Instead of excessively buying a whole turkey, a massive leg of ham, or a whole roast, think smaller amounts. You’ll automatically reap the savings and limit wastage or having to store leftovers).

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: A turkey breast roll is not only delicious but also much easier to cook and less expensive than a whole bird. You can also swap the expense of a leg of ham for buying a boneless ham or freshly shaved ham off the bone at the supermarket deli. The best bit? No waste or bone weight!

Christmas lunch
Forget the cost of a whole bird, a turkey breast roll is all the best turkey meat, for less.. Source: Bigstock

3. Keep sides seasonal and save

The cost of living crisis combined with flooding has seen fresh produce prices skyrocket this year. A lot of money can be spent on making salads and side dishes, so choose carefully. As a rule, anything out of season will cost significantly more at the checkout. At this time of year, you’ll find asparagus, capsicum, cucumber, green beans, avocado, radish, lettuce, snow peas, sweet corn, zucchini and more all in season.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: Shop the specials, shop what’s in season and hit the frozen vegetable freezer where you can. Also, consider pre-prepared salads. It sometimes works out cheaper than buying all the ingredients individually. You can buy two bags of Woolworths Finely Shredded Coleslaw for just $5. Just tip into a bowl and you’re done!

Woolworths grab and go lunch salad
Save money AND time with pre-prepared salads. Source: Mum Central

4. Cheap but incredibly cheerful desserts

Dessert is my weakness and the part of my Christmas lunch where I traditionally adopt the more choices, the better kind of attitude. Regardless of if you’re having one dessert or three, to keep on budget, choose desserts that are inexpensive to make. Inexpensive desserts include pavlova, chocolate mousse, and panna cotta just to name a few.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: Traditional Christmas cakes and puddings can be pricey, so consider how much you really want them this Christmas. Having said that, Coles Finest Luxury Christmas Pudding was given the top spot as best tasting Christmas pudding by Choice – and it’s just $12!

panna cotta recipe
Inexpensive desserts are some of the BEST, perfect for Christmas lunch. Source: Unsplash / maddi bazzocco

5. Small and cute cheese boards

It’s the season for cheeseboards but you don’t have to make them so huge they’re a meal in themselves. Keep your cheeseboards small and cute instead of heaving with extras and being overwhelming.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: It pays to have a look at the cheese selection in Aldi as their prices are surprisingly quite reasonable! Alternatively, just look for special sale prices at your local supermarket. Also, if you don’t have soft cheese, do you really need crackers? Choose hard cheeses all the way and save money on crackers!

Christmas lunch
Have a cheese board, but make it simple, small and cute. Source: Canva

6. Ask your guests to bring something

If you’re having family and friends guests, ask them to bring something to help out. Most of us know how much effort and expense a celebration lunch is and want to bring something to say thank you to the host, so let it be something useful.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: Ask guests to bring a salad or dessert to share or even a bottle of wine or two. I promise it won’t be a big deal to ask – your friends and family DO want to contribute to Christmas lunch!

Christmas lunch
Ask and you shall receive. Family and friends usually DO want to help with Christmas lunch!

7. Skip the table fanfare and save

Pinterest and Instagram are the Grinch for making us think that we have to have some kind of winter-wonderland-meets -Meghan-Markle-wedding like Christmas tablescape and frankly, we do not, especially where the budget is concerned. Skip buying new tablecloths, napkins, napkin rings, centerpieces, charger plates, cutlery, and so forth, saving the cash and your Christmas budget will thank you.

BUDGET-FRIENDLY TIP: Lay the table with your favourite pieces you already own, pluck some flowers from the garden and add some bonbons to pull and share. For a festive touch, use a roll of Christmas wrapping paper for a festive table runner!

Christmas lunch
Christmas spirit and Christmas crackers, the table is set perfectly as is! Source: Canva

There you go folks, with a few wise swaps and with planning, you can absolutely have a gorgeous Christmas lunch and save some money along the way. Remember, Christmas is all about enjoying the company of family and friends, not so much excessive and indulgent feasting. Good food, good company and not blowing the budget – what a way to see the year out!

If you have some Christmas lunch money saving tips of your own, drop them in the comments below, we’d love to hear them – and you might just be helping out others too!

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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