I have just come back from the supermarket from doing my annual Pesach shop and SURVIVED!! I took some copiouse notes about the supermarkets manipulation to entice you to spend more money that you had budgeted for. So here are some tips.
Before stepping out the door to go to the supermarket it is highly recommended that you plan a menu for Pesach and, if you are really organized, plan the meals for the whole of the Chag. I do realise that life is dynamic and that the menu needs to be flexible, however , the reason why the menu for the whole week should be planned in advance is that are usually special prices for meat, chicken and fish so that you can advantage of.
I started making a basic Pesach shopping list in 1993 which gives me a good indication of what I need to buy and add the items that I need to buy for the menu that I have planned.
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For more tips about menu planning see my latest video in my series of how to save money in Israel.
Today, I allocated enough time for shopping since checking prices is important to keep to my food budget.
1. I found that I my supermarket they put the more expensive items at the front of the supermarket and the cheaper ones in the middle of the supermarket. So good price checking is required here.
2. Regarding “on sale item”, “special offers” or “1+1”. Before you buy also check other similar items and ask yourself whether you really need these items.
3. Before buying the item on special offer, check out similar items at their price. This is to make sure that the special offer really is a special offer.
4. When there is a sign that there is a special offer on a certain item, make sure that you buy the item on offer by checking the barcode. Usually the sign is not directly under the item on special offer, or there is another item next to the product on offer which is very similar. Remember – take your time and check – this will save you money!! Also I check at the chashier whether these items were in fact on special offer – I found that I had taken the wrong product, saved myself money!!
5. Also read the small print on these special offers: you have to spend a certain amount of money in the supermarket to benefit from the special offer; only members can benefit from the special offer; you are limited to the amount you can buy etc.
So I finished my shopping and I arrived at the cashier. I had bought several items which were substantially reduced, e.g. washing powder and oil and since I start my pantry from scratch I know that my food bill will be higher than normal.
I always recommend to pay the supermarket in cash so it is easier to keep to your food budget. However, at Pesach should I use my credit card and pay in installments? Since we have bought everything that we need for Pesach, and items that were on special offer, I know that the following month my food bill should be substantially lower and therefore, therefore paying in two installments will alleviate this month of heavy expenses then do it. Remember though to keep track.