A traditional Christmas dinner for a fiver

posted by in Budgeting, Money saving

Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner, nom, nom, nom

Although Christmas is a magical time of year there’s a lot of pressure on everyone at Christmas to spend beyond their means. Retailers and their marketers and  advertisers go into overdrive in a desperate attempt to part as many people from their cash as possible.

The Christmas meal is a big thing for everyone, whether you’re on your own or feeding the whole family. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. You easily do a Christmas meal for a family of four for around £20 in total. That’s around £5 per person!

The Xmas dinner list…

Okay, so we want a starter, a main Christmas meal, some dessert and a bottle of wine to wash it down with. Can this really be done for around £20 and serve four people? The honest answer is, yes, quite easily.

The starter for four

Soup sir? Freshly made soup is always great as a winter warmer. Butternut squash soup is delicious and you can make enough to feed four people (and have some left over) for under £3.

The ingredients: Butternut squash (1kg) 95p, onion 17p, fresh thyme (31g) 70p, and add some toasted croutons by shallow-frying some stale bread. This is a fresh and creamy start to your meal and soup is simple to prepare.

The main course for four

Yummy, turkey and all the trimmings! The first question to ask yourself, especially if you’re entertaining yourself and not a larger family is: Do you need to buy a whole turkey? You can get a turkey joint from most supermarkets for £5 to £6.

For a larger family you can pick up small or mini turkey for under £10. Check around the supermarkets as some even come with sage and onion stuffing stuffed into the deal as well.

Remember that the leftover turkey can be served cold on Christmas night, or on Boxing Day. And don’t forget that staple post-Christmas meal, turkey curry.


Turkey can be too dry without sauce, but before buying any, think to yourself: are you going to use it after the big day has been and gone? Even spending a pound on cranberry sauce is too much if you’re only going to use it once; and check your cupboards from last year before buying any.

You can get a cranberry sauce for under £1 from most supermarkets, and if you’re partial to bread sauce, you can get a mix from as little as 30p from Tesco. Gravy mix can also be as cheap as a £1 (again check your cupboards first), or make your own gravy from a stock cube.

Get stuffed, it’s as cheap as chipolatas!

Stuffing can also be picked up for under a £1. It’s so cheap I’d recommend getting two packets, but that’s because I love sage and onion stuffing! Have a go at making stuffing balls for those who can’t get enough.

Chipolatas are popular at Christmas and go well with turkey. You can pick up a selection of these for less than £2 in most supermarkets. You can even spend a little more and go up to £3 for some gourmet ones.

I’m from Yorkshire, so I love Yorkshire puds. You can pick up 8 ready baked puds for under a £1 or make your own if you’ve got the ingredients in. They’re easy to cook and smothered in gravy they’ll go down a treat!

Spuds! You can get enough spuds for four people for under a £1 but if you want the popular Goose fat spuds the best place to look is Aldi and Lidl where you can pick up a bag for under £1.50.

More tea vicar?

If you want to play the Russian roulette with Brussels sprouts I’ll leave that up to you, just beware of elderly relatives later in the afternoon. You can pick up some sprouts from the likes of Aldi for less than 50p. Make sure children eat every single sprout on their plate. It’s character building.

Carrots are also cheap at most supermarkets, buying them loose is a good idea also, and you can do the same with the parsnips which are delicious when roasted (I put horseradish on mine).

Pie eyed on booze and puddings

The cheapest Christmas puddings can be picked up for as little as £1; the Tesco value version is a bargain at 98p! And mince pies can also be found for less than a £1 for six. Don’t worry about thinking they’re cheap – these pies feature surprisingly high in taste tests.

And finally to wash all this down, get a decent bottle of red or white wine for around £5 (don’t forget to be drinkaware).

Bon appetite!

PS. Let us know if you can do it cheaper and leave a comment below.

Prices listed in the article were commonly found in retail stores at the time of publication.

Matthew worked as an IVA drafter prior to working in social media. In a former life he wrote scripts for Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. He has 3 chickens, 2 dogs and a rabbit.

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  • Valeria

    By the way cranberry sauce can be freezed and stored for a long period of time . That´s why when festive time comes I always use previously prepared sauce taking it out from the freezer. In such way you can save your time while preparing other stuff

    • moneyaware

      Good tip! Thanks for commenting.

  • Bootes

    In the North East of Scotland a dish called skirlie is popular and is made at Xmas as well as all year round with chicken and mince . Oatmeal. pin head oats is sauted in a pan with chopped onions, suet if your traditional or vegetable oil if not ,basically mix it all in a bowl then add to pan and stir until the fat/oil soaks into the oatmeal and the onions soften , lightly burnt patches are acceptable,salt and pepper and either serve on the side as it soaks up gravy well. Or make it without the oil just mixing the oats and fine chopped onion together then stuff the dry ingredients into the cavity and let the turkey juices soak in. costs pennies tastes great and is filling .No Xmas dinner in the N/East would be served without it .

    • moneyaware

      Sounds good – thanks for sharing!