Passover is behind us, and with it all the myriads of expenses associated with celebrating this, and any, holiday. Passover may be one of the most expensive Jewish Holidays and therefore probably causes the most stress! Passover is also a time of freedom. A time to celebrate like royalty. What better way to celebrate freedom than by being free from debt?
You can take this post and substitute any holiday instead of Passover and the principals remain the same. As with all things related to Personal Finance there are basic tenants that apply to all situations.
You can skimp and scrape to make the holiday more affordable. Shop sales, shop in advance, make do with less- these are all great ways to make the cost burden less. You can purposely choose to make food that is cheap and filling. You can cut down the expensive desserts, side dishes and snacks. But the fact remains that Passover is EXPENSIVE.
Add to the fact that Passover is in many places the beginning of spring and winter clothes need to be put away and summer clothes taken out. We had this exact situation this year when the first days of Passover were COLD and my kids wore all their winter clothes but second days were HOT and it was time to switch to short sleeves and shorts. Again, all the same frugality rules apply. Shop sales, use hand-me-downs, do with less, push it off as much as you can. But if you have children who grow, new clothes are a necessity. And even if you are as cheap as can be (I shop Walmart and Children’s Place- even for formal wear, try never to pay full price, and didn’t buy myself anything) it is still a large expense.
How do you do it?
How do you finish Passover with no debt?
The only way I know how is to use all the frugal tips and hacks to stay within my Holiday Budget. Frugality and hacks help you stay within a predetermined budget, the tips and tricks don’t make you money or make the holiday more affordable on their own. Meaningful actions can help you stay within your budget.
How do I determine my Holiday Budget?
Very simply. It is the amount of money I have in my Holiday account. There is no math involved. No calculations. The money in that account is the money I have to spend. Click To Tweet
All year, I put 5% of my paycheck into my Holiday account and 5% into my clothing account. This is automatic. As soon as my paycheck hits my bank account- I transfer the money into my separate Capital One 360 savings accounts. (That is an affiliate link. If you sign up for an account using that link, then we BOTH get a bonus!) If I get any “extra money” like a bonus, I might dump that in there too. This year I took some of my tax refund and used it to bulk that account up.
Celebrating Holidays are extremely important to me. It is not something that I will be flexible about. There are certain expenses that will have to be paid no matter what. I am not doing without Matzoh and wine. Its not happening. By saving money ALL YEAR for holiday expenses I am able to do that. This year we were lucky enough to have enough money to splurge a bit on things that are not strictly “necessities”. We were able to celebrate with expansiveness, without feeling TOO pinched. (Don’t worry! I still shopped sales and was careful with what I made, bought etc! I’m not rich enough to go ALL out!).
Now I have to work on rebuilding that account to start saving for summer vacation and the next holiday! It never ends!
How Do you Do it?
This is the question that comes up in all conversation leading up to Passover (possibly more than the 4 questions are asked!) How do I do it? How do you handle all the expenses? There is no magic secret. There is only planning ahead and being strict with your budget. It means sacrificing a little each month so you can be able to celebrate without going into debt. The best way to do this is to have a separate account where you put these savings. If you leave it in your checking account- YOU WILL SPEND IT. Unless you are a mythical creature with amazing self-control and in that case, why are you even reading this?
Some Tips to Help with Holiday Expenses:
- Take out a credit card with a good sign-up bonus. Many credit cards offer a bonus for spending a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time. Usually, you spend enough money before Passover to qualify for the bonus which can put money back in your pocket. As always with credit cards: Don’t spend more money than you would have just to meet the bonus. Don’t spend a dollar just to save a dime! I do not recommend getting a credit card unless you can pay if off in full!
- If you cannot pay all your bills and you will be going into debt, stay away from reward cards. You can look around for a no-interest card that offers no bonuses but will give you more grace time in paying your balance. If you don’t qualify for a no-interest card, try to get a card that has the lowest possible interest rate. This will help save you tons of money on your debt.
- Shop Sales- Look around. Shop around. Calculate how much you can save by shopping online, different stores etc.
- Plan you Menu Accordingly- Make a menu that is centered around what is cheap and easily available.
- Do without- If you can’t afford it, think about whether you really NEED it or you just really WANT it. Then put it back.