Gobble gobble - don't over-pay for your Xmas bird

Supermarket turkey and sprout prices are up - again. A frozen turkey is expected to be up to 20% pricier than last year, depending on where you shop. Sprouts are almost 20% dearer than 2012, weighing in at around £2.50 per kilo. Even the humble potato has soared 15% in value.

How easy is to beat the Xmas price rises?

Bird in the hand?

It takes a bit of care but it can be done. For example, Iceland has kicked off the Christmas turkey war with a 5.4kg frozen bird for £14. That's quite a lot cheaper than the nearest equivalent bird - £20 - at Tesco.

A Sainsbury's frozen turkey starts from around £22 for a similar weight, for example. Last year the Grocer Magazine claimed that the price of an average 5-6kg bird was around £17. Even a year on, Iceland is significantly cheaper.

"We've worked extra hard this year," claims Iceland boss Malcolm Walker, "to be sure that our products offer a better price, or superior quality at a matching price, against what you'll find at the 'Big 4' supermarkets."

Price drops

It's a more even match on veg and trimmings. However there have been some price dips, particularly with wine and beer. A Mail survey found that a bottle of Hardy's Stamp Shiraz had fallen, depending on where you shop, from £5.92 to £5 while four cans of Stella had been clipped to £3.50 compared to £4.06.

Cheap alternatives to turkey? The skint foodie recommends roast pheasant. "The great thing about this is that, once you've bunged the bird and the potatoes into the oven, there's no frantic vegetable preparation or dishes that need to go in the oven at different temperatures - just a final few minutes of making the gravy, reheating the bread sauce and plating up."

You could also consider guinea fowl, partridge and duck.

£1.70 each

Last week we demonstrated how Christmas dinner could be put together for a total of £1.70 each, though at the time time there wasn't much information available on the price of frozen turkeys - that's changed now.

Don't forget the likes of Aldi and Lidl. If you prefer free-range, Aldi is offering a free range pure breed bird from 19th December; it's likely it will be extremely competitive on price. Lidl look strong on Christmas nibbles with Maple Butter Fudge boxes from £1.49 and 'luxury' boxes of fruit and nuts at £1.99.

Christmas doesn't need to gobble your budget - unless you let it.

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