My 3 Course Vegan Christmas Dinner for £3.50 – Savvy money saving student shares her story

Money savvy student Poppy Barr shares her money saving ideas with, as the 23yr old tells us how she is making a Vegan Christmas dinner with all the trimmings- all for just £3.50 a head.

Here is her story…

“…It’s no secret that Christmas is one of the most expensive times of year, and with the impact of Coronavirus in 2020, money is tighter than ever. Statistically in the UK, the average household spends an extra £800 in December, with a 16% increase in money spent on food in the run up to Christmas (ref). But is it possible to cut costs without cutting the magic of Christmas?

Poppy set herself the challenge of a 3 course Vegan dinner for under £5

“…As a vegan foodie and budgeting enthusiast, I set myself the challenge of creating a three course vegan Christmas dinner for under £5 a head.

After looking online for the best deals, I settled with a shop from Asda and found I could make a meal with all my Christmas favourites for £3.50 a person, leaving enough room in the budget for some fun additional extras too.

Shopping List (for 4 people):

●     Vegetable stock cube (x2) – £0.07

●     Onion – £0.08

●     Coriander – £0.20

●     Bread – £0.85

●     Carrots (770g) – £0.33

●     Potatoes (1kg) – £0.40

●     Stuffing (120g) – £0.23

●     Brussel sprouts (320g) – £0.51

●     Parsnips (320g) – £0.31

●     Meat-free chicken style joint (500g) – £5

●     Vegetarian cocktail sausages (200g) – £2

●     Onion gravy (40g) – £0.14

●     Christmas pudding (£2)

●     Mince pies (£1)

●     Alpro custard (£0.88)

In terms of the starter, I went with a simple carrot and coriander soup with bake at home baguettes.

I wanted something that could be made in advance to save having to cook too much on the day, and it needed to be a lighter option so as to not ruin the main event.

I personally can’t have soup without bread, so bake at home baguettes are a great option to get that fresh baked taste (and smell!) without having to actually put the effort into making it – although if, like a lot of the world, you’ve taken up baking throughout lockdown, homemade bread would really take this to the next level.

Poppy’s parsnips only cost 31p

For my main course, it had to be a roast with all the trimmings.

As a vegan, I managed to cut costs by avoiding expensive meats and replacing them with plant based alternatives, such as a meat-free chicken style joint for my “turkey” and vegetarian sausages to replace the usual pigs in blankets.

My sides included all the classics – roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, sprouts and stuffing, all topped with onion gravy. I based my costs on weight, and while everyone’s portions will vary, it gives a good idea of just how much you can save if you choose the cheaper options!

There are, of course, other ways to ensure you’re staying savvy with your Christmas dinner, regardless of the ingredients you opt for.

Poppy’s 3 courses cost her only £3.50

Although it’s tempting to save time by buying everything pre-prepared, this adds pounds to your shopping total and let’s be honest, nothing beats homemade roast potatoes. Shop around for the best deals and plan in advance – avoid the last minute panic and throwing all-sorts into the trolley on Christmas Eve.

And finally, do not buy too much – while we don’t want anyone to go without, will you really need a kilogram of stuffing or 48 pigs in blankets for a family of four? Food waste is huge at Christmas so plan out how much you will need and make sure you have some great leftovers recipes to whip out on Boxing Day.

Finally for dessert, I went for a Christmas staple – Christmas pudding with custard. Asda’s pudding happens to be accidentally vegan, which is great, and my personal favourite vegan custard is by Alpro.

Poppy’s desert came in the form of Asda’s Vegan Christmas pudding

I know a lot of people prefer to opt for less traditional desserts, but in my opinion you can’t beat a classic at Christmas.

I also included mince pies in my budget as another dessert option, or pre-dinner snack, as it wouldn’t be a Christmas shopping list without them!


I have a number of years experience in money saving and being savvy with the pennies. I hope to bring you as many student discounts as I can get my hands on.