Budget Living

Why You May End Up Spending Less Than You Thought On Your Christmas Food Shopping This Year

With just one official payday left before Christmas – not counting you lucky folk who get paid early in December – many of us are turning our thoughts to our Christmas spending. Particularly the all -important festive grocery shop.  It looks like the majority of UK adults are budgeting to spend a bit more than they would on a normal food shop over the Christmas period. Be it the impact of Brexit on food prices, more mouths to feed than usual or simply buying a few foodie treats to celebrate the holidays, in general people do believe they will have to spend more on their groceries through December to have the Christmas they want.

Christmas budgets

Our own research has shown that of the 64% of adults planning to spend more on their groceries this Christmas, the average spend among them is anticipated to be £180.20 a week. When you think that the usual average weekly food shop costs £84, this is more than double the normal spend!

When we asked people why they were budgeting to spend so much more on their Christmas groceries, the top three reasons were:

  • Food for Christmas Day will cost more than they would usually spend on a meal (45%)
  • They will be entertaining more friends and family than normal (39%)
  • They plan to buy larger quantities of food to stock up for the whole festive period (38%)

What’s in store for Christmas shopping?

However, we think that people may be in for a pleasant surprise when they hit the shops to pick up their groceries this year. Despite stories like Marmite-gate hitting the papers and giving the impression that prices are skyrocketing at the moment, the reality is that price hikes are unlikely to kick in before the New Year, giving us all a much needed reprieve going into an already expensive time of year. In fact, supermarket prices in general are looking to be about 1.7% lower than they were this time last year, which is great news for those of us sticking to tight budgets!

On top of that, the usual supermarket price wars are well underway and stores are going all out to get customers to spend with them. We’ve already seen Sainsbury’s and Tesco battling it out with cut price champagne and just in the last couple of weeks, M&S have launched a credit crunch Christmas lunch, feeding four people for just £12.25 per head. It’s clear that there are plenty of bargains to be had by shopping around and lots of people will probably find that they can spend less than they planned for on their groceries. What a great way to start the festive period!

How can you save on your supermarket shop?

Heading out for the Christmas food shop can seem like throwing yourself into the lion’s den, so we’ve put together a few of our top tips to help you survive your trip(s) to the supermarket this Christmas!

Christmas tips:

  1. Be strict with yourself. If you’re trying to keep to a budget this year, write yourself a shopping list and do your best to stick to it to make sure you don’t accidentally go a bit overboard. That means you should definitely step away from the super-sized novelty chocolate bars, unless they’re on your list, of course!
  2. Make the most of loyalty points. If you have a stash of loyalty points or vouchers, Christmas is definitely the time to cash them in! Many stores also run bonus points offers, so picking up the valuable extra points now to redeem in the New Year is a saving future you will thank you for!
  3. Make the most of and be careful of – special deals. They’re everywhere. 3 for 2s, 3 for £10s, and other discounts are all over the shelves this year. While they can be incredibly useful and save you a lot of money – especially if you’re buying in bulk ready to entertain friends and family – be a little wary of them, too. It’s easy to get lured in and end up with a load of stuff you don’t really need and will struggle to store and get through!
  4. Don’t be afraid to haggle! A headless gingerbread man might not look too pretty, but he’s still just as tasty as his friends! If there’s any damage to food or its packaging, supermarkets will often reduce the price if you ask. Just make sure the damage doesn’t affect the shelf-life or freshness of the food before you buy!

Still got presents to buy? Take a look at our guide to looking after your wallet as you navigate the seasonal sales! Let us know how you’ll be saving money this Christmas in the comments!