A FRUGAL mum-of-four has revealed how she’s halved the cost of her Christmas dinner – but insists her family don’t miss out on any festive luxuries.
Lorna Cooper, 40, from Paisley, Scotland, has slashed the price of her turkey lunch from £100 to £50 by buying her fresh meat and vegetables in bulk from online retailer Musclefood.com, which is loved by body builders.
Lorna has been able to buy enough to feed 10 people for as little as £45.
She also shops early, looks out for reduced items and buys treats before Yuletide branded goods are launched in store.
“Feeding a family of six isn’t cheap at Christmas but I’ve found with plenty of pre-planning, sensible shopping and keeping an eye out for good bargains, I’m able to do it for a fraction of the cost,” she said.
“We don’t scrimp at Christmas – like everyone else we eat too much and completely over indulge yet can still do it without going over budget.
“In the past, I’d easily spend £100 plus but not anymore.”
Attention turns to Christmas early on in the year in the Cooper household.
Lorna said: “Planning the festive dinner starts for me in October. I start to run my freezer down so I have plenty of room for any bargains I pick up between then and Christmas.
“Checking out the reduced aisles when I’m doing my weekly shop is a great way to spot deals. Prawns are always being reduced so grab them when you see them, put them straight in the freezer and your starter is sorted.
“Think about saving juices from a turkey if you cook one for lunch in the months running up to Christmas and use that for your gravy. You can have it all pre-made so you just need to defrost the night before.
“Buying your favourite desserts well ahead of the festive season is something I always do. Once the supermarkets add a bit of Christmas packaging, prices seem to go up. So I buy late summer, put in the freezer and they’re all ready to be taken out when you want to eat them.”
On Christmas Day morning the family will eat croissants and pastries that Lorna snapped up when they were going out of date and then froze.
Cut-price Christmas: Lorna shares her money-saving tips
*Start shopping early to scout out the best deals
*Look out for reduced items and freeze them to use at a later date
*Get creative with your leftovers
*Buy meat and vegetables in bulk from online stores such as Musclefood.com
*Batch cook puddings and treats with your children to keep costs low
“I buy these when they’re yellow stickered at the end of the day, freeze and take out on Christmas Eve. This can bring the price down from £1 for two to 10p,” she said.
“This year I’ve been keeping an eye on different recipes and supermarkets for inspiration. I spotted a smoked salmon and prawn starter for six which cost £15. I’ve been able to do the same for just £7.12, so we’re having a luxury starter at a bargain price.”
Lorna makes Christmas cookies with her kids for pennies, rather than buying ready to make kits from the supermarkets and bakes cakes and puddings big enough to feed up to ten for just £7.
On Christmas Eve, Lorna and her daughter will prep Christmas dinner, list all the timings and then sit back and enjoy the festivities.
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She added: “Prepping the day before has become a bit of a tradition. We bake a batch of cookies, put the Christmas music on loud and get to work. Come Christmas day, everything’s ready to go.
“Once lunch is over, that’s when I really start to think about what to do with the leftovers to save cash in 2017.”
She also makes sure she uses up her leftovers.
“If you buy a fresh turkey like I do from Musclefood.com, and can’t face the thought of turkey sandwiches and turkey curry, then bag it up in small portions and freeze,” she said.
“You can then add it to pasta, curry or put in a pie whenever you want. It normally lasts me around three months.
“Vegetables can be used for bubble and squeak, which we love, or soup. I always have a big pot of soup on the go which is perfect for a light snack or if you have unexpected visitors. Again, any you don’t eat can be frozen.
“Remember too to boil your stripped turkey for stock, and if you pre-made your gravy, save the juices and reuse another time.”
For other money saving tips from Lorna, fyf20quid.co.uk