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In charge of Christmas lunch this year? Here's how to avoid breaking the bank.

Nicholina Mylett, Contributing author

11 Nov 2021 • 4 mins
Man taking turkey out of oven

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, between presents and social events our bank accounts can feel drained. On top of that if you’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner it’s another expense to factor in. However, it doesn’t have to break the bank, we’ve put together a few ways you can cut down on costs without compromising on flavour or creating those special memories!

Start with your budget

Before you do any food shopping, create a realistic total budget for your Christmas dinner and work backwards. We know how easy it can be to run up a significant bill when food shopping. So, preparation is key! Make a list of everything you think you need and go over your list again and try to cross of some items. If you find you’re running out of budget consider more affordable substitutes and keep an eye out for any good deals in the run up to the holiday season. Do you need six cheeses for a cheese board or would three be fine? Sneak dips and snacks out of packaging and serve in special bowls to make even the basics very special.

Choose one dish to splash out on

Not every single part of your Christmas lunch  needs to be the hero item. You can choose one item to splurge on, such as the turkey or some fresh prawns for your starter. All the other items can complement this dish but doesn’t need to be the premium, high-end version of the food. Supermarkets often have veggies and salad ingredients at a discounted price if they don’t look perfect. This is a great way to save some dollars. Just because they don’t look perfect doesn’t mean they don’t taste perfect! 

Check your pantry

Before you go shopping, have a look at what you already have at home. You don’t want to spend money on seasoning, condiments, dressing and any other items you already have. Not only do they add more clutter to your home but will also push the limit of your budget! Looking through your pantry may also inspire some dishes you can make with what you already have.

Bring a plate

Making Christmas dinner can be incredibly stressful, especially if there are a lot of mouths to feed. It can be difficult to try and cook everything to perfection and get the timing right. Why not have your guests bring a plate? Does your aunt make the perfect roast potatoes? Or your brother make an incredible salad? Assign everyone a plate to bring – it gets everyone involved in the Christmas dinner and it will take some time and financial burden off you. You could even suggest setting a price limit for everyone – it’s sure to be a relief to all to have an open discussion about spending.

Portion planning

Let’s be real – we all like to over-indulge a little bit on Christmas – but the turkey sandwiches can get a bit boring after a few days! There are great resources online to help you manage how much food to buy for your meal. It could end up saving you a lot of money and prevent you from eating Christmas leftovers into the new year.


There is a myriad of clever ways to decorate for Christmas on a budget but one simple principle that may help is less can be more. You can select one table centrepiece, baubles in a glass vase or Christmas candle and leave the rest as white space. The same can apply to your house decorations. Decos can add up very quickly. You’re sure to have enough from previous years and if you really want to buy something new – consider setting a dollar limit.

Have you ever made your own bon-bons? Here’s a great DIY project to keep the kids busy and save on your hip pocket.

How to avoid January debt hangover

Christmas can be stressful, and it can be hard to manage your money during silly season. Read how to avoid a January debt hangover for tips on how to manage your budget for this time of year.

How to avoid a January debt hangover

Enjoy your day! For many of us Christmas is really about spending some down time with family and friends. Approaching Christmas lunch with some planning could make for a much more relaxed festive season this year.

Happy Christmas!


Keystart recommends that you seek your own independent financial advice prior to making any decisions about your financial needs. Any examples given in this post are provided for illustrative purposes only.