Categorized | Featured, Passover 2011, Pesach

Passover 2011: 10 Tips for Planning Pesach on a Budget

Posted on 15 March 2011

passover 2011So much of Passover 2011 is about the food so let’s start with how to save $$$ on cooking.

When planning a low cost Passover 2011, there are some money saving habits you’ll want to adopt. Some of these habits may feel a bit strange to you, but hey, making Pesach is all about learning new disciplines anyway, right?

· Fruits and Vegetables are inexpensive so start with them if you want to save money. I know there are so many more prepared foods now for Passover 2011 than there were when you were a kid, but those prepared foods are expensive!

pesach 2011Start first with fruits and vegetables when you are planning your meals, snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods. Cooking with fruits and vegetables may require you to adjust your cooking style if you are used to making lots of kugels and starchy side dishes yet there are two main benefits you’ll want to get excited about. One is the healthy benefits of using fruits and vegetables and if that’s not enough to motivate you, think of the $$$ you’ll be saving! There are thousands of recipes of fruit and vegetables side dishes and main dishes and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised about how tasty they are. You might even lose weight on Pesach! (Think sliced butternut squash with a honey glaze instead of squash kugel. Ratatouille instead of lasagna, baked apples with strawberry glaze instead of apple/strawberry cobbler, watermelon for breakfast instead of sugary cereals, plain matzah with avocado and cheeses instead of matzah rolls and prepared kosher for pesach waffles…doesn’t need to be all potatoes!)

· Become familiar with price differences. This is a tip you’ll want to apply ‘year round, and it “pays” bigtime ($$$) to get used to price differences. For instance: fresh herbs and spices are cheaper than bottled spices, canned fish is cheaper than fresh fish. Sure fresh salmon tastes wonderful, but if you are really in the spirit of penny pinching, you can find great recipes using canned tuna or canned salmon (be mindful that most canned goods need a special OU-P). Fresh herbs and spices taste better than bottles spices so if you plan ahead of time to check them for bugs, your foods will actually turn out better! Who doesn’t want that anyways?!

· Buy in Bulk. Check with your grocery store and ask if they offer discounts if you buy a case of goods or in “bulk”. For instance, my health food store offers 10% off of a case of flour. Items you can typically find lower prices on if you buy in bulk are wine, grape juice, meat and fish. This is more typical of smaller grocery stores and yet the larger chain grocery stores can afford to mark cases pretty low.

· Check with the OU on what items don’t need to have special Pesach brands. Buy brands that are always kosher for Pesach all ‘year round instead of buying the specialty Pesach brands. For instance, plain raw almonds or dried fruit or toothpaste and dishsoap may not need a special Pesach certification and therefore may be significantly less expensive if you buy a regular brand than a Pesach brand. Create a good list on what doesn’t need a special Pesach hechsher and purchase these items before prices go up.

· Bake from Scratch. When it comes to baking, you might be averse to using fruits or vegetables in your baked goods so do a search for Gluten free recipes and Low Carb Recipes and make them from scratch. Again, Passover baked goods and prepared mixes are pricey, so the more you learn to bake from scratch, the more $$$ you’ll save. If you’re concerned that your Pesach cakes from scratch won’t taste as good as mixes, stick with recipes that you can’t mess up with Potato Starch, such as Ice Cream, Chocolate Mousse, Puddings, Sorbets, etc.

· Get Organized. Keep a list from year to year that lists EVERYTHING you have for next year. If you don’t have a list from last year, go through your Pesach 2011 inventory with a legal pad, and list every single spice you purchased last year, every plastic fork, (really how many) and every roll of foil that you own. You’ll save lots of money if you aren’t buying duplicates of what you already have and didn’t know about. This applies to food, paper goods, and kitchen utensils you can save from year to year- ANYTHING that can be stored and reused!

A reader of Jewish-life-organized.com suggested saving receipts and tracking Pesach purchases along the way to keep a simple budget going and to also prevent buying the same thing twice.

(Be sure to get your copy of Pesach Perfectly Organized at Jewish-life-organized.com, so the organizing and preplanning of Pesach becomes a no brainer and you can breathe easy 🙂

Okay, enough about how to save money on food and cooking for Passover 2011. What about clothing, shopping, and how to spend your time on Pesach? Trips, activities for the kids, new clothing? We all need new and fresh options for what to wear and what to do on Pesach.

· Make a list of all clothing needs and sizes for each member of your family. Check with friends to see if they’ve recently outgrown a size and you can do a “switch” or shop at consignment shops. Consignment shops are very good about ruling out yucky clothes so no need to worry about that. Find an upscale one in your neighborhood and shop till you drop. You can really find children’s clothes for very low prices.

· Plan Play dates with other families for your younger kids. Find people that have similar minhagim on gebrokts or nongebrokts and you can feel comfortable sending your kids to their friend’s houses or having their friend’s over.

· If you prefer to do things as a family, you can visit free parks, museums, and nature options. There are many free museums and parks in every town so plan ahead and bring picnic lunches. Preplanning special arts and crafts activities will also save you $$$ if you shop at dollar stores now or begin a crafts closet containing toilet paper rolls, tissue boxes, doilies, and tissue paper.

A variation of this article appeared in the OU’s Jewish Action so get your hands on a copy if you can or go to OU.org!

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