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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Guest Post: 10 Tips for Saving Money, Time, Nerves, and Health on Pesach

by Rosie (Thank you!)

1)Keep a log of what is spent each year and how much of each item was used up. If new items are to be purchased for the following Pesach, such as fry pans, tablecloths, knives, etc, put that on the log and put the log in a place where it is accessible all year. Keep Pesach in mind when buying furniture and baby gear as to how easy the items will be to clean. Throughout the year, buy needed items on sale such as aluminum foil, food storage bags, etc.

2)Pay income taxes prior to Purim rather that wait until Pesach. The government gets your money one month sooner but you avoid the headaches. It is truly sad to see people trying to work on taxes when they could be cooking for Pesach.

3) Have your plumbing lines snaked prior to Pesach and make sure that all toilet tissue is good for plumbing. Do not allow anyone to flush tissues or wipes and find a nice way of telling people to flush once for #1 and twice for #2 to avoid clogging toilets. Emergency plumbing work costs more. Be sure to have plungers handy and apparently dawn dishwashing liquid can help some drain clogs.

4) Old refrigerators that are rarely used, tend to die on Pesach when lots of food is put in at once and the refrigerator must work hard to cool it down. Frequently check to see that the refrigerators are working and that the food is cold.

5) Make all routine auto maintenance and health care visits prior to Purim or after Pesach. The exception will be for children returning from yeshiva, seminary, or college and need to see the dentist. This will save on time spent on oil changes or dental hygiene appointments that can be scheduled for after Pesach.

6)Purchase clothing prior to Purim to avoid running out erev Pesach to buy items that could have been planned long before.

7)Plan only one activity for chol ha moed that costs such as a trip to the zoo and the rest should be kite flying in the park or other free activities such as a public library that has toys and activities. Give the kids a choice of the activity that costs.

8) Expect the unexpected. Don’t let your car run out of gas like we did one erev Pesach. Chicken pox tends to come out on Pesach and one year 5 of our children came down with it the day of bedikas Chometz. Keep on hand fever reducers for epidemics and remember to have either laxatives or prune juice on hand for stomach aches due to change in diet. Pesach cleaning can trigger asthma attacks. Keep a few windows open if a gas stove is kept running on a yomtov.

9) Plan some type of treat for after bedikas chometz such as Passover chocolates. Everyone should be congratulated on a job well done.

10) Make cleaning products from kosher for Passover vinegar or baking soda. Use spray bottles and don’t fill buckets of water if there are babies in the house that toddle or crawl, unless they are sleeping.


Experimental Knitter said...

Chicken pox tends to come out on Pesach and one year 5 of our children came down with it the day of bedikas Chometz.

Or you could vaccinate against chicken pox.

Abba's Rantings said...

"Chicken pox tends to come out on Pesach"

ditto to knitter

"find a nice way of telling people to flush once for #1 and twice for #2 to avoid clogging toilets"

it also saves on the water bill.
in israel (presumably elsewhere as well) the toilets have two flushers, one for #1 that uses less water and the second #2 that uses more water.

rosie said...

Our children are grown and the vaccine was not in existence when our children were little. Vaccination can prevent some but not all cases of chicken pox.

tesyaa said...

None of our 6 kids had chicken pox at Pesach time - I feel lucky! (Though the youngest could possibly get it, I guess). Rosie, what you are saying is absolutely true - my 3 older kids had no vaccine and had full-blown cases of chicken pox. Of my younger kids, 2 of them who were vaccinated ended up getting it also, but very mild cases - one of them so mild that I didn't recognize it as chicken pox until the 5th day when I recognized a scab as the END of chicken pox. So I highly recommend the vaccine.

I suppose it's possible a vaccinated child could get a very mild case and actually get chicken pox a second time - but my unvaccinated cousin (now an adult) had 2 cases of chicken pox naturally. Go figure.

Experimental Knitter said...

No vaccine is 100% effective, but look at what life was like before vaccines.
This vaccine is over 90% effective.

rosie said...

I just looked up the latest figures for Jan, 2011 and if a child has received 2 vaccines, he is considered to be 100% protected. The first vaccine is given at a year of age and the second is given about 5 years later. Children under a year are unprotected except for the inborn immunity and maybe 20% of children with only one vaccine get chickenpox.
While chickenpox erev Pesach may not be the threat that it once was, the point is that viral illnesses make the round in the spring when the outside temperature goes up and down and it could make children come down with something on Pesach and that parents should be prepared with over the counter medications.

Isreview said...

Some great tips thanks:)
So true about "Old refrigerators " great point!

Abba's Rantings said...

my fridge died once a week before the chag, or rather i killed it. lesson: don't use hammer to remove ice from freezer walls.

oven once died on chag. gas company guy thought i was from mars with all the foil on the stove.

tesyaa said...

Abba, years ago I heard a very Orthodox rabbi say (in his pre-Pesach preparation lecture) that if the coverings on your sink or stove or counters gets grungy, just take it off and replace it (on chol hamoed of course). (After all, you have already cleaned and possibly kashered what's underneath). If the gas company were coming to my house I might remove the cover temporarily just to spare myself the embarrassment!

Abba said...


"parents should be prepared with over the counter medications."

OTC cought and cold products are not FDA approved for children under tha age and are frowned upon by some health practitioners for kids older than that as well because of lack of studies on the use of said products in pediatric populations. (even many manufacturers themselves voluntarily limit products for above 4.)
also the FDA recently initiated action against many prescription cold and cough products, including some for kids.

Abba said...

i meant to type: OTC cought and cold products are not FDA approved for children under the age of 2

rosie said...

The OTC medications that we are stocking up for are for relief of fever in both children and adults. There should also be some type of first aid ointment because someone always cuts themselves while cooking. Kosher for Passover coca cola can solve some nausea and prune juice can help constipation but some individuals need more help than prune juice gives.
If a child catches cold, I think that saline nose drops could help and older children could benefit from breathe right strips which simply open the nose. A baby could benefit from a bulb aspirator. What I am saying is, for grandparents like me, those items might not be in the house and I have to make sure that I stock up the house with them. Many of you already have children's products on hand.

rosie said...

another helpful hint:
If your hands are wet, don't answer the cell phone. The little bit of moisture can ruin it.

Abba's Rantings said...


don't take this the wrong way, but if you have so many experiences with kids getting sick over the chag, maybe you should take a second look at your chicken soup recipe. seriously, we should be immune from everything with all the chicken soup consumed over the chag! :)

Anonymous said...

Putting things like farfel and thick gooey stuff down a sink disposal is a good way to gum up the works.

tesyaa said...

Frugal tip: I have several slow drains in my house that aren't bad enough to call a plumber for, but are annoying nonetheless. I used to buy large bottles of Liquid Plumr at Costco, but recently I have been using a gallon of plain bleach (Clorox or generic) to clear slow drains with even better results. Bleach is much cheaper. Both Liquid Plumr and bleach are bad for your pipes, so don't overdo and rinse thoroughly when you're done.

As for the plumbing, a plumber once told me that the plumbing snake is pretty much just as bad for the pipes as the chemical methods. If you have a real clog you need a snake. If not, I recommend bleach over Liquid Plumr or Drano.

rosie said...

Abba's rantings:
I just made 2 pots of soup for Pesach and put in onions, chicken, carrots, and squash. It will also have some knaidle balls made of potatoes and eggs but I didn't put them together yet. Hopefully it will improve the immune systems of the kids.
One other thing that I have learned the hard way is that if a kid looks sick enough to see a doctor, forget about the fancy kugel and go erev yomtov to the doctor rather than go into yomtov with a sick kid who has RSV, asthma, strep or who knows what.
Probably the stress in the house also contributes to the illness rate along with disturbing the dust and using cleaning products that irritate the lungs and bronchial tubes.
Tesyaa, look up the dawn dishwashing liquid method of unclogging drains. I don't know if it is urban legend but I have read where it really cleans up clogs and is probably worth a try before calling a plumber.

Bklynmom said...

What about the baking soda and vinegar method of clearing slow drains? Anyone try it?

Experimental Knitter said...

Last word- most vaccine require boosters.
Like tetanus vaccines. You get those every few years, right?

Good Shabbos and chag kasher v'sameach.

justajew said...

A few comments on some of these:

#3) In the US, unless you have a special toilet (like they have in Israel), you are flushing a gallon of water every time. There should be no need to flush twice, which is a tremendous waste of water. If your toilet bowl is not empty after one flush, then you have a plumbing problem.

#4) This doesn't make sense - refrigerators work harder when they are empty (except when you turn it on the first time). See here.

rosie said...

Just a Jew,
some people use a huge amount of toilet paper when they wipe and if they divide it up, it will flush more easily. I have lots of experience with folks who need a large amount of toilet paper to do the job. Also, those folks who "wait" to use the john sometimes have more than will easily flush.
As to #4, I am referring to old refrigerators that are rarely used and they are used the first time on Pesach. Surprise, Surprise, the thing goes on the blink, sometimes days after it is turned on for the first time that year. I know lots of folks who had fridges die on Pesach and it happened to us one year but luckily we realized it before the food spoiled but one of our married kids was not so fortunate and lost hundred's of dollars in food and all the lost effort. Usually lots of hot food is put into an empty fridge and then it goes!

rosie said...

As far as shots that need boosters, some shots give full immunity and the
boosters are only given when that immunity wears off after a few years. Some shots don't build an immunity until a series of shots are given.

JLan said...

A note regarding refrigerators:

If you're actually using an old one as a secondary food storage place (i.e. you have one in the basement or some such), it may be worthwhile looking into replacing it. Over the last 20 years there have been a number of increases in efficiency such that in some cases, the difference in energy costs can pay off within 2 or 3 years.

Also, not that it's so relevant at this time of year, but you need to be careful with refrigerator/freezers in unheated spaces during the winter. Many have temperature sensors only in the refrigerator section, so if the ambient temperature is too cold, your freezer may not turn on. That would be a rather unpleasant surprise to discover.

Esther819 said...

What a great post! with a lot of fantastic suggestions! It's true, all this stuff happens right when you're getting ready for Pesach. Just this year, we've had the following:
- Computer crashed at work. (Lesson: Start preparing ahead of time for being away from work, finishing up projects, etc.)
- Got sick (likely caused by the dust, etc. from cleaning)
- This one's kind of funny - following the suggestion in the post, we wrote our tax checks, plus payments for all the bills for my husband's business, and put them in the mailbox for pickup. Wind blew them all down the block overnight, spent an hour hunting through our neighbors' yards in the rain.
- And in the past we've had - husband's glasses breaking 15 minutes before yomtov, forgot keys and got locked out of the house during yomtov, and plumbing "issues" erev Pesach last year.

I passed on one of these suggestions yesterday - someone said a kid was feeling ill, and I said they should make sure to go to the doctor and not wait until the seder to find out the kids actually has strep, etc.

Chag Samech everyone!

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