April Budget: How Pesach Affects Things at Our House

A few months ago, in my post on Variable Income Budgeting, I shared that DH and I are both self-employed, so each month our budget looks a little bit different. I also mentioned in that post that we budget a month ahead – i.e. the income that we earn in March gets spent in April. This is especially relieving in a potentially bigger-than-normal month like this one, since we know exactly what we’re dealing with.

In order to accommodate Pesach, we bumped up our spending in five categories:

Hair Cuts – We budget this out over 12 months, but we padded this category a bit since four out of five us will be getting coiffed this month. ($25)

Clothing – I already bought a cute little vest-type suit outfit thing (that’s the fashionista in me busting out the technical term) for DS2 at Costco. Now I’ve got another little bit to buy the rest of us something small and new for the chag. Like hair cuts, clothing is budgeted out over 12 months, so this is really just a bit of padding on top of our regular budget ($40)

“Blow” Money – This category is for DH and I to just have a little bit of cash in our wallets each month. Usually it’s just $10 or $15/person, but I bumped it up a smidge to cover anything fun we want to do with the kids on the very few days of Chol ha’Moed. ($40)

Cleaning Help – $100 for two women to work with me the Thursday before Pesach to turn over the kitchen. This probably will be the best $100 I spend all year! ($100)

Groceries – We came in under budget in both February and March, so I’ve put that “overage” toward our meat and some other odds and ends from Costco – grape juice, grated mozzarella, and five soup chickens.

We also placed our order through the Kansas City Kosher Co-Op, so our actual local shopping is going to be mostly fruits and veggies and more fruits and veggies. Even still, we budgeted ourselves an extra $350 on top of our normal $500/month – we’re having a lot of guests, so I want to be sure that we’re comvered.  ($350)

All together, we budgeted $555 above and beyond our regular budget in order to cover everything associated with Pesach. I realize that for some people, that’s a lot of money, and for others, it’s a drop in the bucket. I’m sharing the numbers to show our process – not to tell you that $555 is the right amount for your family.

We created the margin to do this by (a) lucking out and earning a bit more than normal in March (!), (b) cutting out some of the other non-essential expenses just for this month (for example, our car replacement fund), and (c) keeping a close watch on our spending in February and March so we had some overage to put toward Pesach.

I know it’s a bit late in the game to offer this advice, but another great way to cope with big months like Pesach is to set aside a bit of money each month into a “Pesach sink fund”. Based on our budget, for example, we would need to save about $46/month.

That can be a lot more manageable than coming up with almost $600 (or however much) in one fell swoop. And it’s a lot better than charging it on the credit card and hoping for the best.

So – have your run your Pesach numbers yet? Are you feeling good about it? Stressed? Let’s chat!


  1. I like this post. I also started saving monthly for holidays a few years ago. I have an ING Direct account and every month I have a certain amount directly deposited. It is supposed to cover all the holiday extras throughout the year as well as gift giving holidays (but not birthdays or other kinds of gifts). It is NEVER enough! Each year since I started, I have had to increase it. I sometimes wonder if I am spending more at the holidays because I know I have that buffer sitting there.

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