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A new report suggests that Christmas dinner may not need to cost as much as you might think – and you could pay just £2.66 per person for the feast.

Good Housekeeping has found that if savvy shoppers are willing to go to various supermarket chains to get their Christmas food rather than doing all their shopping in one place, they could get the whole dinner for just £21.31 for eight people. The festive basket includes a £9.99 turkey from Lidl, sprouts and carrots from Aldi, and Christmas pudding and mince pies from Sainsbury’s.

For people who are looking to save but aren’t as willing to drive to several shops, the cheapest option is Iceland at £27.84. Lidl came in second and is just slightly more expensive at £28.13, with Morrisons in third with £29.12.

Discount Christmas

In recent months, traditional retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have cut the prices of many items in order to better compete with discount chains like Aldi and Lidl. It seems this thinking has spread into Christmas dinner shopping, as the cost of the average meal is now down 3% on 2013.

Discount supermarkets appear to be becoming more successful every year, as savvy shoppers are tempted by deals and offers from smaller retailers. However, the biggest discount supermarket – Aldi – was actually more expensive for Christmas dinner than Iceland at £32.06, showing it’s still cheaper to shop around.

Buying early

If you’re looking to save money on your Christmas food shop, one of the best ways is to start early. Buying a frozen turkey rather than a fresh one is a great example, with Lidl stocking one for £9.99, and Iceland and Aldi’s costing just £11. In comparison, a fresh turkey can cost around £10 more than a frozen one, so it could be a good way to save a few quid. Just remember to defrost it in good time ahead of Christmas Day or you could be looking at a disaster.

Saving money doesn’t always mean compromising on taste either. Good Housekeeping’s mince pies taste test found that Iceland’s deluxe mince pies came out on top, despite only costing £1.50 for a pack of six. That means you can serve up tasty mince pies for just 25p each, giving you an excuse to scoff them all before Christmas.

However, perhaps the best way to save money on Christmas food shopping is to cut down on how much you buy. Figures released in 2012 by the government's waste reduction advisory body Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign found that Brits collectively throw out 2 million turkeys, 5 million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies after the Christmas feast, showing that some of us may be buying more than we need. Plan your Christmas meal beforehand, so you only need to buy what you know you’re going to cook and what you’re going to eat, and you could save a bundle.

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