Image courtesy of Tim Riley
Image courtesy of Tim Riley

There are always a lot of costs at Christmas and food can be one big one. If you are having family over or hosting a party, then you may end up buying a lot of extra food and drink and the cost can really add up. There are ways though, that you can keep those costs down so that you do not overspend.

Firstly consider whether you should cut down the amount of people that you invite to your home. If you visit people, rather than them visiting you and let someone else throw the parties, you could end up saving a lot of money. You may rather not do this though or it may just be traditional or too late to change plans now. Therefore you will need to look for ways to do it on budget.

No one likes to look cheap and so it understandable that you may not want to go for cheap brands of food and drink, but it is always worth looking. Sometimes cheaper items can looks and taste as good and if they are removed from packaging, no one will be any the wiser. If you buy branded items, then it is worth looking on supermarket comparison websites to see where you can get them cheapest. If you end up driving all over the place to different supermarkets, you could end up spending more than you have saved on petrol, but it is still worth looking as you could make some significant savings. Also look for special offers on items, but check those use by dates and make sure that you are not buying things you do not need just because they are on offer.

Buying the right amount of food and drink is always hard. You do not want people to go hungry but you also do not want lots of waste. Make sure that if you do buy extra that you will be able to use it up before it expires. If it is food that you are cooking, make sure that it can be reheated and so plan what you will do to use it up afterwards so that it does not get forgotten and has to be thrown away. If you buy too many bottles, then save what has not been opened for other occasions or even to give to people as gifts.

It is worth considering asking guests if they can contribute. It does not seem unreasonable to ask people to bring a bottle to a party and many may do that anyway. If you are cooking meals, then you could ask guests to bring nibbles, starters, puddings, snacks or drinks so that you do not have to do all of the work as well as paying out all of the money. It may not be something that you are used to doing, but once you start asking, people will get used to it and do it every time and it will spread the cost more fairly between everyone.