- Make a master Pesach year-to-year list. Mine is here.
- It's only eight days. You can do without.
- Arm yourself with a solid knowledge of Pesach-related halacha.
- Pesach shopping starts now. Actually, yesterday.
- Go back to basics.
- Invest in long-term items instead of throwing out money on short-term items. Think future.
- Reach out to your friends and community and share/pool resources.
So, now that we've got the principles down, I'm just going to toss out a few assorted tips, coupons and deals that will help you save money on Passover essentials, like matzoh, and incidentals, like tea.
- Keep your eyes peeled for those buy-$50-worth-of-groceries-get-5-lbs.-of-matzoh-free deals that pop up every year at the major supermarket chains. Have in mind that they tend to happen very close to Pesach and you might want to get your shopping done sooner.
- Here's a $2/1 coupon for a 5 lb. package Streit's matzoh. (Please note, even though this coupon is from a ShopRite circular, it is a legitimate manufacturer's coupon and should work in any store. I printed and clipped it and used it at a Denver Safeway without a problem.)
- If you'd like to serve fish on Pesach but don't like the idea of shelling out $7-$8 for each roll of KLP (Kosher la'Pesach) gefilte, here's an fyi for you: Kirkland Atlantic Salmon Frozen fillets and Kirkland Frozen Steelhead Trout, both bearing an OU for year-round use, are also KLP, according to the OU. This is the Costco brand of frozen fish and it is great quality. These are all skinless, boneless, center-cut (no waste), individually wrapped fillets. The trout is slightly cheaper than the salmon, and tastes just as good; I substitute it in recipes calling for salmon all the time. One fillet=2 appetizer-sized portions and there are usually 7 fillets in each bag. Costco fish works really well in this great Pesach recipe, which is a staple in our home.
- Gefilte fish a must for Pesach? Try sending for these A&B gefilte fish coupons, with this caveat: when I requested them a while back, they arrived about three weeks later, but I've gotten numerous reports from readers that they never received them.
- Although this goes against my usual buyer's instincts, I don't buy top-of-the-line appliances and housewares for Pesach; I prefer to save those for year-round use. Remember, Pesach is only eight days. That means that, even factoring in the extra guests you'll have, the wear and tear on your Pesach kitchen stuff will be a fraction of the amount that you put on your non-Passover items. While you don't want to get really cheap, low-quality items, it's perfectly ok to buy 18/0 silverware instead of 18/10, or Pfaltzgraff instead of Lennox, or Farberware instead of Calphalon. As the years progress, your needs will evolve, your tastes will change, you might want to upgrade or maybe you'll just grow tired of what you have, and knowing you haven't spent a fortune on an item that you've barely used will make changing it out a little easier. You might think this is in conflict with my recommendation that you "invest in long-term items instead of throwing out money on short-term items," but it's not. I'm suggesting a balance between building up a cache of housewares that will help you save money for many Pesachs to come, but without investing in top-of-the-line products.
- We're often so focused on the expense of Pesach food, that we forget how much we spend on cleansers for The Big Clean. I recall going through an entire large bottle of Purex in just three days last year, when my washer was going non-stop the week before Pesach. Unless I find a fabulous sale paired with a high value manufacturer's coupon stacked with a store coupon, or a great online deal, I tend to buy most of my cleansers at the dollar store. Yes, the dollar store.
- Here's a little factoid that was news to me this year: many dollar stores, especially the large chains, will accept manufacturer's coupons along with their own store coupons. Family Dollar in Denver accepts manufacturer's coupons, and when you stack them with their store coupons and very low prices on brand names, many of the cleansers I buy there come out to near-free. You can also get brand-name Passover sponges, dishracks, and placemats there for a song. Most of their prices on paper goods rival those of even Costco.
- Many stores raise the prices on Wissotzky Tea (which is the KLP herbal tea standard) to $4 or $5 per box before Pesach. Instead, go to Walmart or Target or any supermarket and pick up one of the KLP versions of Bigelow Tea, a national brand that goes for around $1.50-$2/box and is excellent quality tea. We drink it year-round. If you prefer to buy it online, here's a link to 6 boxes of my personal favorite, Plantation Mint, on Amazon for $12.38 (Subscribe & Save price, with free shipping=$2.06/box). Bigelow's KLP hechsher is from KofK. Each year, I pool together an assortment of Bigelow KLP flavors in a lined basket, which makes for a nice change from the usual Wissotzky tea box.
- What would a Passover seder be for the kiddies without a table littered with frogs? Get 12 dozen of these pretty cute frogs at Oriental Trading for $4.99 plus $6.99 shipping. Oriental Trading has a ton of fun things in bulk for children, so if you get together with a few other families and pool your merchandise order so that it's over $49, you can get free shipping with promo code RT1135200. (You can also get 4% cash back if you click through their Shop at Home link first.)
- Click here and look at page 35 for a list of the CRC's recommended Passover food for pets. Over the years, we've been buying our little beagle Science Diet, which is one of the recommended dog foods again this year. Click here to download some high value coupons for Science Diet pet food. Click here for a $7/1 coupon for Prescription Diet. Click here for a $2/4 cans coupon for Evanger's pet food.
- There are no dog treats that are recommended for Passover (almost all contain some form of chometz), so here's a low cost solution: when you're clearing the table after a meal, pile everyone's leftover soup and gravy into one plastic bowl. Soak 2 pieces of plain matzoh in it overnight. Break up the matzohs and either let them dry out or give them to your dog the way they are. Instant dog treats, for the negligible cost of two sheets of matzoh. Dogs love matzoh!
Please share some of your frugal Pesach suggestions in the comments below.