The best Xmas food bargains
Christmas is an expensive time of year, so if you're looking to save money on your food bill, here's where to pick up the best bargains...
It's not only presents that can make Christmas such an expensive occasion. If you've got a lot of family and friends coming round for Christmas dinner, then you're probably dreading hitting the shops and having to spend spend spend.
In fact, according to price comparison website mysupermarket, the cost of a Christmas dinner has increased despite plummeting food prices in Europe. This month, families are expected to pay up to 4% more than last year for their Christmas dinner and the average Christmas meal will cost £81.50. Eek - that sounds like a lot of money to me!
However, I've had a good hunt around for some fabulous supermarket bargains (thanks to mysupermarket), and I've discovered that if you're prepared to shop around you can feed the family for just £20.90.
So let's take a look at what I've found...
(It's worth noting that I've plumped for mid-range deals - so I've avoided value ranges. I've also only mentioned the best supermarket deals in each section, so not all the major supermarkets will be referred to each time.)
Most supermarkets won't have fresh turkeys in stock until 20 December, so unfortunately prices are a little hard to come by right now. However, if you need a turkey early, your best bet is to plump for a frozen one.
At Asda, for example, you can pick up a medium turkey (5kg) for £13 or a large turkey (6.6kg) for £17. If you've got even more mouths to feed, you can also get your hands on an extra large turkey (8.4kg) for £20.
In my opinion, stuffing is the best part of the Christmas dinner (well, that and parsnips). So if you're looking for a bargain, both Asda and Tesco are offering 85g packs of sage and onion stuffing for just 28p.
However, if you're after something a little more festive, Tesco is also offering a 125g pack of winter spiced stuffing mix for 86p and Sainsbury's has a 113g pack of cranberry and orange stuffing for 76p.
For the sake of ease, I am using packaged parsnips. But it's worth bearing in mind that it might work out cheaper to buy loose vegetables, rather than packaged.
Christmas wouldn't be complete without a few mince pies. And at Asda you can get your hands on a pack of 6 mince pies for 88p, while Sainsbury's is currently offering a pack of 6 mince pies for £1 - reduced from £1.19.
The cheapest meal
Having gone through the results above - and using the cheapest item in each case - I've worked out that you can get a family meal for the grand total of £20.90! That's almost £60 less than the average Christmas dinner is expected to cost! Not bad.
Of course, if you want to get the very best offers available, you might find yourself going to several different supermarkets. So if that sounds like a lot of hassle, and you fancy knowing which supermarket is the cheapest for your Christmas dinner, I can tell you that the winner is Asda - totalling just £21.06.
Tesco won the second prize at £24.13, and the Sainsbury's basket totalled £25.37.
Waitrose/Ocado was the most expensive at £31.08 - and that was excluding the chocolate log as unfortunately there weren't any available.
Keep your eyes peeled!
Exactly what you buy will vary from family to family and if you're buying for a lot of people, it always works out cheaper to buy in bulk. But hopefully this shows that with a little bit of shopping around, you really can pick up some fabulous bargains.
It's also worth noting I haven't included deep discounters Lidl and Aldi in the above research - so if you've got one near you, don't forget to check out their special offers as these can be far cheaper than the major supermarkets.
Similarly, have a look around your local food market, if you have one - often you can find a bargain there, too. And check out the supermarkets at the end of the day, just in case anything is reduced.
And of course, if you have any further food tips, please don't hesitate to post them in the comments boxes below.