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The Jewish Holidays are one of the best parts of being Jewish. I am so incredibly grateful to be Jewish and I love every single Jewish Holiday (Yom Tov). We cannot escape the reality that the Jewish Holidays are extremely expensive and end up costing a lot of money.
For those of you who don’t know, according to the Jewish Calendar we are approaching the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Quickly after that comes Yom Kippur, which is followed by Sukkot, which has the first days of Sukkot and the Last Days, which includes Simchat Torah. All in all, there are a lot of times of observance coming up. The Hebrew month of Tishrei is jammed packed with Jewish Festivals. Traditional observance includes going to synagogue but also having festive meals and observing other traditions.
When you are on a tight budget on a regular day, having to spend extra money to have beautiful and respectful holidays can be quite a challenge. When there is very little wiggle room in the budget then there is very little room for extras. So what do I do?
The Jewish Holidays Envelope
I like to use the Modern Envelope Budgeting System. When I create a budget I take a certain amount of money each month and place it into an “envelope”. Many people like to have real envelopes to physically place money in. In my case, I use a “virtual envelope” by placing it into a special savings account at my bank- CapitalOne360.
I like using Capital One 360 because they allow you to open numerous savings accounts and they have absolutely no fees.
There are other banks that have these perks as well but I use Capital One 360.
Saving all year for the Jewish Holidays
Every paycheck (I get paid every other week)- I take 10% of my paycheck and deposit it into a special account which I call my “Yom Tov or Jewish Holiday” Account. This account is for the Jewish Holidays. This means that for 12 months out of the year I am saving for the holidays.
In order to be able to celebrate without having to go into credit card debt, you need to be proactive about saving money for these occasions. This means that I am saving for the High Holy Days from May and I am saving for Passover from October.
Whenever I have “Extra money” such as a tax refund or a stimulus check or a gift- it occasionally goes into that account as well. Sometimes it goes into my “Life Happens Fund” and sometimes into my “Clothing Fund” or my “Emergency Fund”. The point is, every dollar is placed into some virtual envelope (hopefully) long before I need it.
Use Every Hack and Trick in the Book
Regardless of all the money I save, I still need to be extremely conscious of the money I am spending. 10% of a little bit of money means that a little bit of money is saved. Such is the life of a low-income worker. So, I use every hack, trick, tip and coupon in the book. You want frugality- you got it! I plan my meals according to my budget. I plan my décor according to my budget. I buy clothes according to my budget. Everything I do, I try to have in mind my financial constraints.
Spend Money on What Matters
This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy myself and that I make sure to spend money on the things that are important to me and make me happy. Each person will have a different definition of what that is. For some people this may mean spending more money on clothes and less on food. For others, this can mean something different. There are people who enjoy beautiful tablescapes for their meals- for others, like me, a bouquet of fake flowers purchase a few years ago is perfect.
I try to focus my savings on those places that have the biggest impact. I spend more time pricing chicken and meat than a vegetable, because those are pricier and will have the most impact.
So… to recap:
5 Ways to Celebrate all The Jewish Holidays on A Dime:
- Set up a real or virtual envelope for “Holidays”
- Make it part of your budget that money is set aside EVERY SINGLE MONTH
- Use extra money to boost your Holiday Account
- Use every hack and trick in the book to keep to the budget and keep your expenses low
- Enjoy every single minute!
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about The Jewish Holidays. I’ve written about every major and minor Jewish holiday. Well, not every minor Jewish holiday- but maybe I will get to that this year! I’ve written about Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), The High Holy Days, Chanukah and Hanukkah, Purim and Pesach!