The eight-day celebration of Passover begins on Monday, April 14. Eight days of remembering the deliverance of the Israelites from the bonds of Egyptian slavery, and the passing over of the ten plagues that afflicted Pharaoh’s subjects. Eight days of eating kosher for Passover food, avoiding products leavened with yeast. Eight days of additional Passover groceries.
The items you need for the Seder might include matzoh, matzoh meal, gefilte fish, eggs, honey, carrots, raisins, apples, chicken, beef, lamb, oil, eggplant, oranges, chopped liver, Kosher wine, sweets such as macaroons and chocolates, root vegetables for soup, Haggadah booklets, foil and baking pans, paper and plastic utensils. Then there’s the rest of the week, when many Jews want to continue eating kosher food, and prices can be 20% higher than for non-kosher food. And for Kosher for Passover foods, the cost goes up even more. The processing of kosher foods, particularly meats, requires more labor, less automated machinery and the constant presence of rabbinical supervision.
What’s a baleboosteh* to do, and still enjoy holiday savings?
Planning is the most important aspect for grocery savings. If you are planning your meals on an ongoing basis, planning eight days of Passover meals should not be much different. If you shop with a grocery list regularly, Passover should be no different.
Here’s how to save money on Passover groceries.
- Make a master list in two parts, and keep this list. One part of the list is for items you need every Passover, and the other part is for items you need only for this year’s celebration. Keep notes on prices and where you purchase everything. You can do this on paper, or use your computer’s Excel spreadsheet function. With the saved list, you can quickly scan your pantry and get what you need.
- Order non-perishable kosher and kosher for Passover items online, and keep them to use next year or share them with other Jewish families to spread out the cost. That’s holiday savings for a crowd!
- And in the spirit of holiday savings: if you cannot locate your copy of the Haggadah, here is one you can download and print for free.
- Decide what you can live without for eight days. Do you need kosher tuna fish, salsa and name-brand cola? Know what you must have in order to be kosher, what isn’t strictly necessary and how to decipher kosher food labeling by checking the Orthodox Union’s website.
- Use what you bought for the Seder throughout the week. You have carrots and raisins for tzimmes; now you can use the carrots for a pot roast and the raisins as a snack. Increase your holiday savings by stretching your ingredients.
- If you want to bake, but you don’t want to buy a lot of expensive yeast and flour substitutes, this Passover baking site can help.
- Use saved reward points, loyalty club savings and any other points or perks you have from the grocery or drug store for some purchases. And the coupons you use for many everyday items are just fine to use on kosher products, too.
- Buy only what you need. This is eight days, not eight months of eating.
- If you don’t have a kosher grocery store, check other ethnic stores for kosher and kosher for Passover foods. Jews are Hispanic, Creole, African-American and Asian, and you can sometimes find better holiday savings in these markets than an American kosher market.
- If you travel before Passover, go shopping in kosher markets in another city. Kosher food will always be more expensive, but the prices can vary greatly from town to town.
And when the cooking is done, the table is set, and you are with family and friends, enjoy your holiday savings as you give the traditional blessing: “Let all who are hungry, come eat.”
*Baleboosteh – The Yiddish word for good housekeeper or hostess.