It's the day after Pesach. Boy, that went fast! All the preparation, cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping, and now it's Isru Chag. One week and one day, and it's all behind us. Except it's not. Because preparing for Pesach takes place all year long. The more you do year-round, the easier it will be to deal with Pesach next April.
What can you do now to save money on Passover next year? Oh, lotsa things....
- As you pack up this year's Pesach kitchenwares, go through and make notes on what you need for next year. Did you have enough wine glasses this year? Is your crockpot on its last legs? Would it have been nice to have had a hot water urn for Pesach? How about a new warming tray, or perhaps a second one? Make a wishlist. You now have 11 months to shop. Instead of grabbing the first appliance you see the week before Pesach because you'll need it, you can wait until there's a fantastic sale, and then pounce like a cougar, buy it, and put it away for next Pesach. Keep that list in your desk drawer or your coupon folder.
- Same thing with non-perishable food. Make sure you make your copious notes on your Pesach master list, and see what you'll need this year. There's nothing wrong with buying a five-lb. bag of C&H sugar in July for Pesach if it's on sale and you've got a great coupon. We keep an empty box in the basement that's labeled "PESACH" and I fill it up over the course of the year. Extra-virgin olive oil, sugar, Perrier, Pellegrino, foil, plasticware, paper plates, etc. all go in there when I find them on sale with a coupon, etc. Make a separate list of all the stuff that you'll need for next year, take 11 months to shop, and come April, your stress will be minimal.
- Store what you can. Check out my reading list for what you can store and stockpile and what you can't, here. If you have a basement or garage freezer, I urge you to store your flour-based, critter-attracting stuff in there (matzoh meal, cake meal, KLP couscous, etc.). These items will stay much fresher in a ziplock in the back of your freezer. If you don't have a freezer to store those sorts of things in, make sure to bag them in ziplocks (keeps out air and moisture) and keep them in a cool, dry, clean environment. Things like spices and salt can be stored safely in boxes and don't need any refrigeration. Don't store anything flour-based that is open (i.e. open boxes of cake meal); instead, incorporate them into your everyday chometz cooking; i.e. I've breaded chicken with Pesach cake meal with great results. Although many of you have claimed to have had success in storing cake mixes, I don't recommend it...the mixes get a stale odor that carries through the baking. We have eaten at friends' homes where it's clear that they are serving cakes made with last years' (or older) mixes, and while it won't give you food poisoning, it's unpleasant. Sealed jars and cans can certainly be put away for next year, but as you're packing them up, make sure there are no big dents, cracks, or holes anywhere, as those can make the food inside poisonous over the course of the year. I usually take a piece of masking tape and write the year that I've purchased an item on it and stick it to the top of the can or jar, so you can rotate out the older stuff first, throughout the holiday.
- Hit the post-Pesach food sales. You'll find stuff like matzoh meal, KLP sauces and dressings, etc. on sale for ridiculously low prices. Buy up whatever you are sure you will need, and skip the stuff that's super-cheap but you will have no use for.
- Get over to Bed Bath & Beyond today (with your coupons) and raid their Passover display before they put it all away. It will all be on clearance. Of course, use your BB&B coupons as well. We have snagged some beautiful $5 matzoh trays (priced at $29.99 a week earlier) this way.
- Hit the Jewish bookstores and online vendors for Hagaddah sales. Amazon still has this incredible 4 for 3 sale going on for the Artscroll Hagaddah and others have gone on clearance as well. If you like to collects lots of different types of Haggadahs (as we do), you can get the Elie Weisel Haggadah for a mere $6.40 with free Prime or SuperSaver (minimum $25 purchase) shipping.
- If you're on a restricted gluten-free diet, buy up all the non-gebrucks clearance items you can find. This will save you money immediately, not just for Pesach. Don't be shy to ask your friends if they are getting rid of their non-gebrucks Pesach stuff and if you can take it off their hands.
- As you're putting Passover stuff away, weed out all the items that you have no use for. Is there any reason to have four peelers (been there, done that)? How much longer do you want to hold on to that broken mini-food processor? Is that cheap, non-stick extra frying pan that you bought last year peeling and not really usable any more? Why, oh, why, did you buy a garlic flavored mashed potato mix? Is this the fourth year you're storing that grape-flavored ko-jel? If you've got kitchen wares you'll never use and food you'll never eat, throw them out, donate them, freecycle them, bring them to Goodwill, but get rid of them. You'll recover storage space (and a little sanity), and ultimately, disposing of stuff that's not working for you always saves you money in the long run.
- Check your produce and perishables and make sure nothing goes to waste. We overbought potatoes this year, so tonight, before those things start growing eyes and turning yucky, I'm processing all but two pounds and making potato kugels, which will go right into the freezer for the rest of the year. We also overbought romaine lettuce and milk so I'm giving those away to friends. And while it's not really perishable, an extra Costco-sized bag of almonds will become almond flour. If you've got extra eggs, plan on egg salad this week, and you can freeze extra bricks of cream cheese and margarine. Don't wait until the end of next week to discover wilted produce and spoiled perishables in your fridge.
- Hit PartyCity.com or Party City stores now for all of their leftover Pesach tableware. It's all on clearance now and you can get some great Pesach-themed items for a song.