Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Save on Passover Food

There's no way around it, Passover is expensive.  But you don't have to just give in and open your wallet and spend many hundreds of dollars on food for Passover.  Here are some ideas to help reduce your Passover grocery bill:

Shopping ideas:

  • Decide on a budget and stick to it.
  • Purchase items over several weeks, as soon as they are available; spend less on your regular groceries to allow for this.
  • During those weeks, eat from your pantry.  It will reduce your expenses those weeks, and make room for the Passover stuff!
  • Look for sales year-round on items that can be stored.  For instance, after Rosh Hashanah, kosher wine may be discounted dramatically.  Buy several bottles and put them away.
  • If possible in your area, check out several different stores and make a price list.  Places to consider include grocery stores, warehouse stores, and specialty kosher stores.
  • If there are few places to buy Passover goods in your area, consider making a trip to another city to stock up, but take into account the gas you'd use to make the trip.  See if you can combine a Passover shopping trip with other errands or visits to that area that you'd already be making.
  • Read the ad of the store you're shopping at to find the best deals.
  • Look for coupons on Passover items - but keep in mind that a different brand might be cheaper even without a coupon.  You can check Hot Coupon World's database to find if there are printable coupons for the items you need.
  • Follow blogs that describe Passover deals - including right here!
  • Check blogs that cover your store to see if there are any money-making deals that can be done.  For instance, by combining a great sale with high-value coupons on a different item, you might "make" a dollar or two.  Use this overage towards the purchase of Passover items.
Cooking ideas:
  • Make a menu plan!  Decide ahead of time what you'll be making for every meal.
  • When you decide on dishes, try to choose ones that have lower-cost ingredients. For instance, if only one recipe you want to use needs potato starch, consider cutting that recipe rather than buying a large box that will only be used once. 
  • Try this list of Passover substitutions to see if you can avoid buying a particular ingredient. 
  • Once you've decided what you'll be cooking, go through your recipes and figure out how much of each ingredient you'll need.  Only buy what you need.
  • Make a large turkey and/or brisket for your seder, then use the leftover meat for meals for the rest of the week.
  • Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes!  You can buy a 10 lb. bag for less than five dollars, and possibly even less. There's lots of recipes out there that can be adapted for Passover.
  • Soup is cheap!  Make your own chicken broth.
  • Salads can be fairly inexpensive if made with in-season, on sale ingredients.
  • Don't spend too much on sweets.  The candy can be fun, but don't overdo it.
  • Don't buy premixed matzo ball mix; matzo balls are incredibly simple to make.  Find a good recipe and use matzo meal that you're probably buying for other dishes.
  • Instead of the expensive Passover cereals, try farfel with milk, sugar, and raisins.  It's not my favorite, but my husband likes it.
  • For other recipes that call for farfel, break up enough matzah boards for the amount  you need.  It won't work as well for the cereal, but for other uses it's indistinguishable.
What tips do you have for saving on Passover food?

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