How to avoid panic-buying this Christmas – and save money

How you can save money and avoid panic-buying this Christmas – and the products you need to get early to avoid missing out

  • Coles boss asked customers to plan for Christmas to avoid any food shortages 
  • Shoppers told to make a list, use online delivery and buy early when possible 
  • Nutritionist advised filling freezer with fresh meat and seafood to avoid rush
  • Only 99 days until Christmas and festive products already available in store 

Christmas is just 99 days away and supermarket bosses have warned shoppers to plan early and avoid panic-buying.     

Coles’ chief operating officer, Matthew Swindells, told the Today Show it would be a COVID-safe festive season this year but he was confident Australia has a secure supply chain to satisfy customers.    

Shoppers were given money-saving tips like how to extend the life of a Christmas ham – and told what to buy early to avoid disappointment on the big day.

Money-saving tips included what to buy, when to shop and how to prepare a Christmas ham weeks ahead of the big day

Money-saving tips included what to buy, when to shop and how to prepare a Christmas ham weeks ahead of the big day

Panic-buying was seen across Victoria after the state's stage four stage lockdown was imposed

Panic-buying was seen across Victoria after the state’s stage four stage lockdown was imposed

Coles' chief operating officer, Matthew Swindells, warned it would be a COVID-safe festive season this year but said there was a secure supply chain in place

Coles’ chief operating officer, Matthew Swindells, warned it would be a COVID-safe festive season this year but said there was a secure supply chain in place

Supermarket shelves in Australia were stripped bare when the coronavirus pandemic first hit in March – and again when Victoria’s stage four lockdown was introduced.  

Buyers are now being urged to fill their pantries when special deals come up over the next two months – like 40 per cent off chocolates – which can also be used as little gifts. 

Mr Swindells said Coles still had ‘a few tweaks’ in regards to the expected shopping rush but urged customers to help relieve pressure on stores. 

‘We have got the speedy safer shopper protocols. Have a plan, have a list, know what you want to buy, use online, use click and collect, we have doubled the capacity there. 

‘Don’t leave it until the last minute and try and pick quieter times to do your shopping, maybe don’t pick Saturday or Sunday afternoon,’ he said.   

Use a ham bag or pillowcase to store ham ahead of time and soak in water and vinegar mixture every few days

Use a ham bag or pillowcase to store ham ahead of time and soak in water and vinegar mixture every few days 

Nutritionist Joanna McMillan revealed what to buy early and how to store fresh produce to get the best taste at Christmas.

She has already bought a whole ham as it lasts for longer and warned a half ham or chopped ham has a shorter shelf life.

Tips for Christmas

Look for specials on chocolates which you can get for 40 per cent off and use as small gifts

Fill the pantry with nuts and fruits which will last until Christmas

Buy crackers and chips ahead of time and store, buy cheese and dips a couple of weeks prior

Store meringue nest for quick desserts with fresh fruit and yoghurt 

Buy a whole ham as it will last longer than a half or cut ham

Purchase entertaining packs of smoked salmon on special    

Freeze meat such as pork loins or turkey and defrost ahead of time 

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‘You can buy a ham bag or just use a pillowcase. Soak it in a mixture of about 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of regular white vinegar,’ she said.

To stop the ham from drying out, repeat the water and vinegar process every few days and it will store for weeks.  

The health and wellness expert said shoppers should by fresh meat like pork loins or prawns to store in the freezer.      

‘My family’s tradition, when we are opening our presents, we always have smoked salmon on brown bread,’ she said.

‘Buy a big entertaining pack and pop it in your freezer so you’ve got it ready. It’s really about utilising your freezer for your fresh produce so you don’t need to buy anything with preservatives.’ 

She warned against buying pavlova cases before the big day as they have a shorter shelf life.

The seasoned entertainer suggested meringue nests which would store unopened instead. 

Ms McMillan suggested buying mince pies when they come on special and storing them for closer to Christmas.  

‘Christmas puddings are best bought ahead and traditional fruit cakes as well, they keep for a long time and the flavour improves over time.’ 

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