As the year has progressed in 2012 we, just like a fair few other people, had hit a financial hump that meant we had to tighten our belts and spend only where necessary and make-do with the little we had rather than procrastinate over the things that we didn't!
I started thinking about how much money could typically be spent on ONE MEAL on Christmas day and realized that some families this year just couldn't put the funds together to lay out a meal as they might usually, or skip the meal all together!
Well! Thanks to the wonderful people over at Aldi, I was given the opportunity to visit one of their stores and demonstrate to you, my delightful readers, the way in which to fully enjoy a Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings and to feel as festive as ever without having to spend anything more than just $25!
Yes! $25 is all I have spend on my Christmas meal this year, which will feed at LEAST 6 people and includes starters, desserts and snacks to the side!
I know you might be wondering how on earth this is possible, but I can assure you that [with Aldi] it is so very possible and you won't be let down! Aldi has a nice selection of both fresh and frozen meats, fresh or canned vegetables, boxes goodies and baking goods to form your own from scratch!
Our dinner on Christmas day is going to consist of:
- Tomato Soup Cups
- Mac & Cheese Cups
- Sweet Potatoes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Yorkshire Puddings
- Cut Green Beans
- Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Wholewheat Dinner Rolls
- Seasonal Confetti Cake
- Red Christmassy Icing
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Cheese and Crackers
- Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
- Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Cider
All of the above can be purchased at Aldi and all of the above can cost LESS than $25!
Here is how it is done:
I picked up FRESH sprouts for just over $1, Fresh carrots too! Sweet potatoes were 99 cents a bag and green beans, corn and cranberry sauce are all canned - less than $1 each and easy to cook and serve! The gravy packets are 50 cents each, but you can always make your own with a little dripping, corn starch and bouillon - don't be afraid to experiment, but make sure you experiment well in advance of the big day so that you are prepared!
Yorkshire puddings can be made from scratch with a few ingredients from your pantry such as flour, eggs, oil and milk! They are a traditional treat served alongside your meal in England and are usually filled with a little gravy! These are so delicious but can be quite fattening and so they are always, like everything else, optional!! I can personally never get quite enough! I adore them!!
Cans of soup are 59 cents per can so a few cans of soup makes a fair few cups to serve to guests! You do NOT have to serve them a TON of soup - you will ruin their appetite so play it cool with a small serving to get their taste buds flowing! You can choose mushroom soup if you prefer, mix and match where you see fit!
Some children prefer not to eat soup and so I always like to provide little cups of mac & cheese to keep them interested or on the side with their meal - you can buy boxes for 49 cents each in Aldi and a little goes a long way! You can also make it fresh from pasta and cheese for just a little extra if it fits within your budget!
Dinner rolls are under $2 a bag and there are plenty to go around for at least 2 each! Most people only have one and some people do not bother with "filler" and so you should do very well here! These rolls are delicious and sweet and make a nice pairing with the soup or on the side with the meal!
We are going with boxed mashed potatoes for our meal because they were only 99 cents for a giant box! They also have giant bags of potatoes for $3.50 a bag though and so if you prefer roasted potatoes, these would be perfect, and cost friendly for you to buy! They will last you the meal AND the rest of the week!!
The seasonal confetti cake, lava cake and icing cost less than $5 in total for all and make enough dessert to go around twice!! All you need to add to make them is a little oil, which most of you will have in your pantry and an egg or two, which again most of you will have on hand - failing that, Aldi usually have a dozen eggs for less than $1! Last time I looked they were 79 cents!! Amazing!!
Note: Do not be afraid to ask guests to bring a side or a dessert! Most will be happy to contribute and some even prefer to contribute, so go ahead and ask!
The crackers were just over $1 and so were the pretzels! These you can just open, plate on a platter and serve - a little cheese on the side will only cost $1.50 and you can choose cream cheese if you prefer! Make the meal your own - a smaller budget does not have to restrict you!
Non-Alcoholic Cider (along with various other flavors) is available for just $2.49 a bottle! We will only be using one here, but you can get creative with juice cocktails or soda mixes for a similar cost! Don't be afraid to think outside of the box! Also, if you ask your guests to bring along a drink too, you will be perfectly covered!
And so what about the meat!? Well, as I said before, you do NOT have to buy the biggest and best piece of meat in the store! You are not feeding an army, you are feeding a table of people who will not miss leftovers if they know the meal was put together with love and dedication! Leftovers are a luxury you just do not have to have! Make those last $5 or so stretch out with some thought and see what you can find! Aldi boasts several cuts of pork, beef, chicken or even enough ingredients to make a bean or veggie nut roast! Easily achieved for under the cost!!
And there you have it! You have the basics for a WONDERFUL meal for less than $25 with starters, extras and the main course! If you want to switch around the menu, this is easily done! With insanely low prices and with all of the value and taste, you can incorporate your needs into their selections with very little stress!
Tips on making it work:
1. Go to the store with a list of the items you would like to buy already written down! Do not stray from the list unless an item is unavailable and stay within your budget! You won't regret it so much later if you stick with the plan in the moment!
2. Remember that Christmas dinner doesn't have to be about the most expensive ingredients! You CAN buy boxed potatoes or canned vegetables and mix and match the fresh ones to save a little money here and there for the other items you need in your cart! Think of it like a game - one you are going to win - and have some fun with it!
3. Buy frozen meat or a smaller chunk of meat to save cost - a smaller piece of meat will not ruin the fabulous meal, it will just take away those left-overs, which are always a bonus but not necessary to make the meal itself! Just pick up the piece that you can afford! If you need to switch out one of the desserts or the sparkling cider to make an extra dollar or cut out one veg to succeed, then do this, but again, make it fun and do the thing that works best for you! Where there is a will, there is a way and you will find it!
4. Check Aldi's website before leaving the house for promotions and sales! Know your prices and shop with confidence and preparedness!
5. STAY POSITIVE!! Even if you walk out of the store with Salisbury steaks, mashed potatoes, make your own rolls, scratch together your own cakes and serve water on the side, don't worry! You have achieved a meal and your family is going to LOVE it because it came from you!! - you do not have to put yourself into debt just for one meal! Go with your gut feelings and OWN that dinner!
Alternatives to cake or chocolate desserts are sliced fresh fruit and ice cream - even ice cream alone if you want it! Aldi has so much to offer, you are going to be left wanting for nothing at the end of the day!!
So! What are you waiting for!? Head on over to Aldi today and see where you can save!!
"Joy to the world, and your wallet!" - Aldi
***Updates WILL be coming when I present my dinner on Christmas Day! Please check back for that post!
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Aldi for providing me with a $25 gift certificate in order to shop for our Christmas dinner and to bring you this review! I was not otherwise monetarily compensated and my opinions on Aldi and their products are 100% honest and my own! Prices may fluctuate week-to-week but the deals are always there!! Go forth and save! Happy Holidays!!