1. Buy costumes post Halloween
I got this adorable Winnie the Pooh costume from Toys R Us post-Halloween. Guess how much I paid?
I won’t hold you in suspense – I paid $8, free shipping. Shipping counts for a lot – it saves you the gas, time, and energy of shopping around. It requires some advance thought and for an infant some guesswork, but it paid off!
2. DIY – as much as possible
This is really the key. Costumes, Mishloach Manot packages, the contents of the Mishloach manot… whatever you can.
Bake something – or a few things for the Mishloach Manot (more about this later).
We did the adult costumes on our own. See how here.
I could’ve also done the baby’s but I was too tempted by the adorable plush costume.
This was really simple – you don’t have to be too creative to do this (I traced the word “pooh” from a template I printed. Stay tuned for the full tutorial). I got the Tshirts from a relative who prints them, the puffy paint cost $1.49 in Michaels, and the headbands are made from paint chips and headbands I had. I will include a full list of supplies in the tutorial – sign up for email updates (look for where in the right side of this blog) for the update on this post.
The packages were also done on my own, and the cellophane bags inside- more about this later – which brings me to my next tip:
I was planning on buying mason jars for my food packages, at close to $1 a shot, when I had the brilliant idea to upcycle cans and jars. See how here.
It cost me $4 for 12 instead of $10. (The spray paint was $4 after tax, I had the paint left over from the t-shirts.)
4. Buy in Bulk
Avoid purchasing individually wrapped items and instead buy larger packages and wrap in cellophane. If kosher is a big issue with those you are sending to, include a small taped on note with the certification of each item.
Don’t buy individual cellophane bags – get a large roll, and make the small packets yourself.
I bought this amber roll of cellophane for $2.50 – I used a 50% off coupon at Michaels. It’s enough for the whole project, with extras – including covering my cans:
5. Shop sales
Build your food packages around items you find on sale. If you are hooked on doing a theme, decide on your theme based on what’s on sale at your local supermarket. My iced tea boxes were bought on sale ($2.50 for 10) and they fill a large space. They’re also my favorite, so we know what’s going to happen with the leftovers!
6. Learn the laws
The law is that one must give two kinds of food to one person. There is no reason to go beyond that unless you can afford it. People take advantage of Purim to thank those that have done them good (teachers, etc) but you do not have to do this.
Find the actual laws here – and scroll down to “HALACHAS (LAWS) OF GIVING GIFTS ON PURIM” to learn the actual laws.
7. Deliver early
This is relevant to you only if you live a busy Jewish area where traffic gets crazy.
You might not have thought of the gas costs – but gas costs! And the least efficient way to use gas is in stop and start traffic. One year, my husband and I went to a 6:00 megillah so we can be out delivering by 9:00. There was NO TRAFFIC! I mean less than on a usual day as the entire town was out at the megillah reading. It was amazing! Most homes had someone home with the children who were too young for the reading, and the ones that didn’t got left at the door (very few – and always include a note saying who it’s from!)
8. Think ahead
As a general rule, stocking up tends to help save money overall. The same goes for Purim – if you see something in April you can imagine using for Purim for a great price, grab it. Just don’t forget you got it… Costumes are the most expensive Purim time. The cute containers at the Dollar tree will be gone weeks before Purim. If you leave enough time, you’ll be able to bake cookies in advance and freeze.
I’m not talking about money – I mean costumes. Find a friend who has some costumes she’s previously used, or a local “gemach” for costumes.
10. Include a note, recipe, or other filler
Last but not least is to be creative with what you put into your packages. I had a small empty hole and couldn’t figure out what else to put in – so I put in a scroll with the recipe for the honey candies I made and a happy pooh-rim message! By putting your note inside your package instead of outside, you are filling some space and making the outer presentation neater. Other ideas of what to put in include cheap prizes, or even some grass filler.
Enjoy and have a happy Pooh-rim from the Ceders! Feel free to comment with your money-saving tips!