A savvy mum is planning to make her Christmas dinner for less than £2.50 per person. Alison Preest says people "shouldn’t feel pressure" to overspend during the festive period, especially in a cost of living crisis.
The grandma-of-one has instead worked out a way to cook on the cheap this festive season. She said: "Christmas can be so hyped up these days - there’s a lot of pressure to go ‘all out’ and spend a fortune.
"But just cooking up a nice meal and sitting down with loved ones to enjoy it is nice - that’s what Christmas dinner is about. You don’t even have to get turkey - don’t spend £50 on one to then not be able to put your heating on all month.”
Alison, 49,buys all of her ingredients from Asda. She spends £5.20 on a whole chicken, £1.25 on a bag of frozen veg to steam and 80p on a pot of gravy granules.
And she spends the same again - 80p - on a pot of cranberry sauce and £1.49 on a kilo of potatoes for a total of £9.54 Alison says the food makes four portions of food, two of which she and her partner eat on Christmas Day.
The pair then eat the leftovers on Boxing Day - working out at a penny-pinching £2.39 per portion. She added: "In this day and age, having dinner in the evening on any other day can be a bit of a grab and run - that’s what makes Christmas special.
"A lot of people feel pressured to make Christmas day more than it needs to be - but in reality, it’s what you make it and you don’t have to go all out if you don’t want to." Alison learned ‘proper cooking’ at a young age after watching her mother cook fresh, homemade meals - despite the family being strapped for cash.
As she’s on benefits, she now uses the same techniques she watched her mother use to ensure she and her family still have full bellies every night. She even runs a Cooking on Benefits series on YouTube to help other people cook with just a small budget.
And Alison said, despite expectations, there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple and ditching the trimmings at Christmas. She said: "It’s so hyped up these days. People think they need to cook everything - but that’s not a written rule.
"Everything is getting more expensive, and people feel pressured to be spending all this money you might not have to spend in the first place. Or people tell themselves ‘it’s Christmas, so I’ll just buy it’ - but you don’t have to.
"You don’t have to spend a fortune on Christmas to have a lovely day."