Monday, March 26, 2007

Five More Pesach Money Saving Tips

An article appeared in the JPost the asks Israelis to 'Think twice about Pessah purchases.' While I think that a rise in spending Pesach time is expected, one has to ask what rise is reasonable. I can't say that I was particularly surprised by the study, but was taken aback by the increase in purchases of makeup for Pesach. Check out the article for yourself.

The article states "owners advertise special deals on many Pessah products but that consumers on a budget must only buy those things they need for the holiday and stay away from excesses. He also pointed out that in order to cut down on unneeded spending, consumers should try to save as many products from one year to the next instead of using something for just one week and then discarding it."

In the spirit of reducing waste and keeping to a tight budget I offer the following tips (I wish I wrote this in November. Maybe next year):

1. Invest in inexpensive tableware, bakeware, and ovenware for Pesach. Disposable plates and cookware might seem to be the cheaper route, but in the long run, they can prove to be very expensive. In my last Pesach tips write-up, I stated "think Pesach all year long." Buying home goods at the last minute is an expensive proposition. Picking them up during a door buster sale in February or August will pay off in the long run, and potentially in the short term.

In addition, if you make Pesach with family and alternate locations, it would be wise to keep an inventory of what everyone has and can bring. There is no need to buy a roasting pan for Pesach another family member can easily show up with their roasting pan.

2. Go easy on the makeup purchases. The holiday is 8 days. This year, Shabbat falls during Chol HaMo'ed. So the days that you can wear makeup are limited, assuming you do not "hold by" Shabbat makeup. I have a lipstick that I reserve only for Pesach. One can also put away samples of kosher l'pesach makeup if they want to wear more makeup rather than less.

3. Shop for new clothing and shoes for yomin tovim throughout the year at end of season sales, on clearance racks, etc. Partaking in the last minute rush will probably give you a headache and is a definite budget killer.

For the last few years I was "in between sizes" and did not want to buy new clothing. This year, I was thrilled to be back to normal quicker than expected and I was able to buy very nice and rather fashionable skirts marketed down to very, very low prices in in late December. I was able to pair one with a shirt and jacket that I already owned, the other with a new sweater I found a few weeks later on clearance. Had I waited until this week and insisted on buying something new, I'm sure I would have paid at least 3 times the price if not more.

But this tip brings me to a new discussion: Does a new outfit really need to be new from head to toe? I think not. But, a large and very frum family that I know (who incidentally was in an extreme amount of debt and in which the husband was frequently unemployed) told me that you *have* to buy new outfits and shoes (!) for everyone. It just isn't a choice, the wife told me. I should have said something, but regrettably I just sat there dumbfounded. I know that they were taught to do such and any argument from me probably would not have gone very far. If there is another opinion out there, it needs to be offered by a leader many times over.

I would love to see Rabbis address what is and what isn't proper expenditures for the Yomin Tovim based on your station in life in less vague terms. Certainly the family mentioned above should be minimizing their expenditures. But, they need permission to do so. If one where to walk through a well-to-do and/or more "black hat" frum neighborhood on Pesach (as I did last year), one could easily be left with the distinct impression that one must dress all of their children in matching and/or coordinating dresses and outfits. One also might get the impression that more than one new outfit is needed, as that appears to be standard also.

4. If you don't want to eat a perishable Pesach product after Pesach, don't buy it or split your purchase with a neighbor. If you find yourself with excess non-perishable Pesach products for which you spent a premium, store them away for next Pesach.

5. If you do your own taxes and are competent in doing so, get them done now if you haven't already. If you are filing an extension and believe you may owe taxes or may owe taxes, send in a payment with your extension. Interest and penalties may have started to accumulate as of the quarter you fell behind on payment. The quicker you can stop interest and penalties from accumulating the better. If you e-file your tax forms through a software program or through an accountant, double check to make sure that they were accepted by the IRS and your state(s). If not, you will need to send them in the old fashioned way. It would be a terrible surprise to forget to check until it is to late (April 16th or 17th depending on where you live).

Related: For those that believe your hand and handle are boleah.


RaggedyMom said...

Great overview. Makes me wonder how many of our "must have"s shouldn't be!

Anonymous said...

good advice, but i must disagree with no. 1, regarding the disposable tableware and cooking utensils. the only thing more important to me than money (that did not come out right) is time. doing the dishes is usually my job, but i really don't have that much time after school, work, family and blogging. so do i really want to waste an hour saturday night with dishes? we even try not to cook food if it requires pots and pans. so for me it is disposable stuff that is a luxury rather than fancy china. friends of ours chipped in and bought us a set of (non-fancy) china when we got married and i'm embarassed to say how many time(s) we've used it.

of course i can enjoy the luxury of disposables because my eshet hayyil does not buy makeup, fancy clothing, etc.

-ari kinsberg

Orthonomics said...

I hear you Ari. Baruch Hashem we have a great dishwasher with a chin cycle on it or I'd be tempted to buy paper all year round. It has literally paid for itself.

I once found a cosmetically damaged, never used, full sized portable dishwasher at Sears for $99. I regret not buying it. But I don't have the space. The next time. . . . . . .

Anonymous said...

not buy kosher l'pesach makeup? what about the livelihood of those of us selling it??? :) lol. chag sameach!!!!

Scraps said...

I only buy new lipstick for Pesach, but as my regular brand is one of the Pesach-acceptable ones, I just continue using it throughout the year. We have been using the same dishes for Pesach since I can remember, and we have an inexpensive set of pots and pans we bought about ten years ago that still look like new (even though it was a $20 cheap garbage set) because we only use them one week out of the year. And of course, any non-perishable Pesach foods get packed away for next Pesach.

I don't usually do a whole lot of shopping before Yom Tov, because usually I just don't have the time for it, forget the money. I pick things up here and there during the year, when I have the time and the budget for it. Also, sometimes my mother and I will go out to the nearest outlet mall during chol hamoed. :)

miriamp said...

Well, we spend a lot on Pesach food... but KA"H there are a lot of us. It's mostly the matzo (only shmurah, including the matzo meal) and the meat (dh is makpid on meat every day of Pesach for simchas yomtov) and the produce. We certainly don't buy a lot of junk, and I'm morally opposed to fake noodles, bagels, etc.

And my in-laws are coming for first days (my MIL has a huge list of allergies, much of it "hidden" ingredients like citric acid) and my parents are coming for last days (my mother is allergic to potatoes) which makes the cooking more interesting.

Oh, and I don't wear makeup, and we don't buy a lot of new clothes, (hard to find tzniusdik anyway) although everyone does need (and I really mean need, we're talking outgrown and/or falling apart) new shoes.

Selena said...

Last year, after Pesach I bought tons of Matza meal, cake meal, and potato starch at huge clearence savings (less than $1 each). Where we live, this stuff is more than $3 a box, and I like to make cakes for Pesach. We also got a few bottles of israeli olive oil for less than $3. I put all of it away, and this year, I didn't have to buy any of that type of baking stuff. It was such a treat!

Leah Goodman said...

I agree with you completely. This year I'm pregnant (first time), and I really wanted a new outfit for the seder, b/c I've just started wearing maternity clothes (finishing my 6th month now). Unfortunately, I waited too long and didn't have time to go shopping in the cheaper areas (Geula), so I ended up looking through my wardrobe for the nicest pre-pregnancy outfit I could find that still fits. In the end, I feel it was a better decision than buying something new just for the sake of it being new.