How to go for Christmas food shopping on a budget - M4Money Credit Union

With Christmas comes the celebrations, family time and not forgetting all the scrumptious food.

Inspired by Hazel, our Autumn ‘Money-Saving tips’ winner, here are some money-saving tips when shopping for food this Christmas and beyond:

1. Buy unpackaged raw veg, not packaged salads, which cost more and rot quickly. [Winner’s tip]

2. Never buy branded goods when there is an own-brand version and never buy the regular own-brand when there is a “value” line. [Winner’s tip]

3. Write out a meal plan for what you’ll be making over the Christmas break so that you know what you need to buy and incorporate any ingredients you already have.

4. Always make a shopping list and stick to it. Shops, whether in-store or online, tempt shoppers with enticing offers at checkout/tills. If you hadn’t planned on buying a particular product, don’t feel obliged to buy it.

5. Don’t waste anything – for example, keep bread in the freezer and just take out what you need every day. [Winner’s tip]

6. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach – if you are hungry, you will end up buying food which is less healthy such as high in sugars and fat-content. These may look delicious at the time you bought them however will chip away at your bank account.

7. Take advantage of offers on store-cupboard food such as rice, pasta and tinned food. Not only will this help save money, but if you’ve stocked up, you will take fewer trips to the supermarket thus saving time and fuel costs!

8. Understand the difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’ dates.

  • ‘Use-by’ dates are any food products that need to be thrown away as they pose a health risk. These include perishables such as dairy products, eggs, meat and fish
  • ‘Best before’ dates means that you can still eat it even after the date that’s on the packaging. It’s just the manufacturer advising that the product is past its best quality.

9. Try lower price supermarkets for your weekly shopping… or a local market stall for your fruit and vegetables.

10. Before you go shopping, do a stock-take to help you dictate what you shop for/meals for the holiday.

11. Plan what you can make with the leftovers that you have after your Christmas Day meals. Freeze what you can in portions so that you can eat on days that you haven’t had a chance to cook. This will save you money on takeaways or eating out.