Planning Tishrei on a budget can really be tricky, can’t it? That includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shmeni Atzerest, and Simchat Torah–lots of holidays! In my family, I have a regular monthly food budget. This month, it’s going to be significantly increased because of all of the holidays and guests! The additional expense is part of the reason for last month’s pantry challenge. But I’ll still have to allocate more – for the food, the clothing, the special items (simanim, lulav, etrog, etc.)
1. Set your goal: I always, ALWAYS advise people to set their goal before they get started. If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you know when you get there? My goal is usually focused around the people with the food secondary. Take a few minutes and think about what you want the most out of the holidays. Then write it down so you can work toward it!
2. Menu planning: Keeping within your monetary budget starts with menu planning. Start by shopping in your cupboards and pantry. What do you have? What can you use? This is where stocking up when you find a good price comes in handy!
3. Master Grocery Shopping List: Next, browse the circulars. Around this time, there tend to be good sales on “Jewish” food. I can often get 64 oz of Kedem (kosher) grape juice for $2.50 each! (That’s really a stock-up sale since full price is $6.99 here in stores). Based on your needs and what is available, adjust your menu and make the master grocery list. Then get shopping to make the best of the bargains.
4. Be flexible. It is possible that you will be unable to find something on your list. Uh-oh! Don’t spend a ton more at another store to get that ingredient. Just change your menu to accomodate reality. Something WILL go wrong, and it’s important to not be so married to the menu or idea that you can’t adjust when needed.
5. Make a detailed cooking plan. Time is also something we have to budget for. There is so much to do and a finite amount of time to do it in! Sometimes it makes sense to buy something instead of spend hours cooking it. It is a call only you can make. But making a detailed cooking plan can help you get everything that you need to get done finished on time. More on this in another post.
6. Keep it simple! This is a general motto for planning. It can be fun to do one thing that is elaborate if that’s the kind of thing you like! (If not, don’t do it.) But in general, keep it simple.
Anything you can think to add?