Letter: Looking for advice

I am reaching out to your readership because maybe some of them have advice. I am sure some of them are in the same boat too and could use the advice.

I feel bad to bring up another complaint on here about how expensive everything is, but I am not sure what to do. Maybe one of you know about some resources or something that can alleviate the burden.

Pesach is Baruch Hashem coming up soon and the price of making Pesach is giving me anxiety. Groceries are already so expensive without it being Pesachdik. But shopping for Pesach, the bill quadruples. I know that officially money spent for Yom Tov gets paid back. But what if I don’t have the money to spend to begin with?

We are a typical Lakewood income family barely making it month to month to begin with.

I don’t know if it’s the food distributors or the stores that set the prices on the Pesach items, but it’s totally not affordable and I am not sure what to do. Are there stores that sell Pesach items at lower (more normal) prices? Is there a way to get stores to lower their prices? I know I am not the only one that doesn’t know how I am going to afford the Pesach food and all other Pesach expenses. I really don’t want to take tzedaka either.

So please tell me, what options are out there? Are there any grocery store owners or food distributors on here that read this? Maybe they can be sent this letter and come up with ways to lower the prices so that they really don’t hurt us more.

Thank you and I hope that some helpful suggestions come in here so we can all make Pesach without the money stress.

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  1. Mesamchei Lev is partnered with (moderated) to make their prices lower through April 12th. Which is really beautiful. Problem for me is I can’t buy in advance but maybe that can help you. Also to say the stores should just lower their prices is just saying they should suffer instead of you. They need to make yomtov and pay the bills for their families just like you do.

    • Who is the “they” of a store? A couple wealthy investors, a handful of owners and another handful of distributors. Everyone else is in the same losing boat. Don’t prioritize a few askanims parnassa over the entire klal.

    • There needs to be a program set up for people like this woman. The rabbeim and klei kodesh get alot of help all year round in all areas of life. Be it tuition, camp tuition, food for yt and simcha expenses and govt programs. Whether or not they live on a higher dollar amount than most of us because alot of their wives are earning
      high wages. They
      couldn’t otherwise afford to be a rebbi from the start. The middle class isn’t earning enough and isn’t getting any subsidies and isn’t eligible for govt programs. A friend once asked me to call one of these programs and ask how she could get food for yt. The reply was we can’t help. My humble idea is that these programs should be run thru the shul and not the schools. This way everyone is included. Yes I know the school contributes $$$ but the same pple can contribute thru their shuls. These programs are great but more needs to be done.

  2. I recently discovered that (moderated) has very low prices compared to all the other grocery stores. Also (moderated) is very reasonable. Lets see if Lakewoodscoop posts this cuz they dont like to post specific store names (roll eye emoji)

  3. If you keep in mind that most items you purchases for Pesach are no different from the rest of the year, it will help you deal with the cost. You need vegetables, eggs, fish, meat and chicken. Supermarkets bend over backwards to bring you good deals. You don’t have to serve the priciest cuts of meat. Combining beef and chicken for your main dish is also an option. Opt to bake and make your own snacks. Or, stores like Bingo offer fantastic savings. Bingo also offers a basic line of baked goods for Pesach that rivals cost wise with home baking. Parnassa is determined at Rosh Hashana. Your YT expenses are refundable and keep that in mind by saying lichvod Shabbos Kodesh, lichvod Yom Tov. And do those purchases sincerely to honor Shabbos and YT!

  4. It’s too late for this year, but the Moadim L’simcha distribution offers many groceries, meats, plastic goods, produce, etc. in bulk for cost price.

  5. Try approaching shul’s that participate in hesed fund distribution to ameliorate your Pesah shopping anxiety. Respectfully, it’s extremely unfair of you to ask grocery outlets to lower their prices on Pesah staples. They also have to make a living, too.

  6. Very well written as it is known that pesach food prices are very high.
    Something that you may not be aware of is how pesach food is made. I don’t work ion the food industry but this is what I’ve been told. Special runs are done with the food, making sure everything is thoroughly kashered beforehand. It becomes very expensive and that’s why pesach food is more expensive every year, as costs rise every year with paying employees and materials.

  7. If you cannot afford to make Pesach, don’t be ashamed to call Tomchei Shabbos for the sake of your family. Many families get help before Yomtov even if they don’t take all year. They send a large amount of food before Pesach. I did this when I needed it & B”H I’m now a supporter of Tomchei Shabbos. Feel proud to do ratzon Hashem & endure a little shame for the sake of his dear children who need Simchas Yomtov.
    They give it in a discrete & honorable way.
    Also, speak to your Rov & ask for help, he may have Kimcha Depischa funds.
    The grocery stores won’t be lowering prices anytime soon. Bingo has lots of specials at this time of year.

  8. I just came back from grocery shopping and was pleasantly surprised that most items were not inflated for Pesach beyond the regular high cost. Buy your eggs now because the bird flu is spreading which will result in higher egg prices.
    Also, look at the weekly circulars. The items on sale are usually very reasonable even compared to the year-around prices.

  9. There’s no shame in us siblings helping each other. Whether financially, chavarim, Hatzalah, bikur Cholim… the list goes on. Take out of love. You give and take it’s all part of life. Some people give financially some people give their learning some people give with their smile… by taking we allow people the ability and szchus of giving. Reach out to your shul, tomchie shabbos, community rabbis… we are all in this together.

  10. Top Baragin Hunters Unable To Locate A Grocery Store Called ‘Moderated’
    Upon reading in the TLS comments section Wednesday that the ‘Moderated grocery store’ in Lakewood is offering lower prices in the weeks leading up to Pesach, long-time Lakewood bargain hunter, Robert Goodfind, called up a few of his bargain-hunting friends and asked them if they are familiar with a grocery store called ‘Moderated’.
    “No, I never heard of it,” said Robert’s close friend, Chesky Pricewright, “are sure you got the correct name?”
    “Moderated grocery store?! Hmm, I dunno, must be a new store in town,” said Akiva Knowsall, another one of Robert’s bargain-hunting acquaintances. “I’ll have to check it out, if, and when, I’m ever able to find out where it’s located.”
    Mr. Goodfind conceded to reporters later in the day that, even though he has been coronated the king of bargain hunters, even HE can’t seem to locate a grocery store with the name ‘Moderated’.
    “That’s what happens when there’s a store selling products at amazingly reasonable prices,” Mr. Goodfind opined, “the store’s loyal and tight-lipped patrons keep the store’s identity under wraps, so that the store doesn’t run out of their favorite low-priced inventory.”
    “I’m sorry,” Mr. Goodfind apologized to the press pool, “but even the King of bargain hunters can sometimes fail and fall flat on his feet.”
    “I’m truly sorry,” he said, “However, to make amends to all of my loyal, bargain-hunting subjects, I’m willing to give up my precious crown to the fellow who discovers the name of this amazing new grocery store and subsequently reveals the store’s name to me – but only to ME, and ME ONLY.”

  11. I’m in the same boat as you. It’s a struggle but tziddukah is not something I am looking to get right now. However, I shop very carefully.
    I find Pesach food (outside of Matzo and wine) to be around the same price as Succos shopping. Be aware that you are feeding your family for many days (around 2 weeks) with no school lunches and lots of eating-time so right there you have a lot of food expenses.
    During the year, I shop in my local grocery because I can’t run around but for Pesach I compare prices and shop sales. I don’t think local groceries even expect the average person on a budget to shop by them. They know that can’t compete.
    Around Pesach time the paper goods are usually on sale so I stock up but that’s not really a Pesach expense. It’s a savings for the year.
    Also, I use my credit card points to pay down my April cc bill and a tax refund helps, even if it’s not that large.

  12. I feel for you, having been in this situation for many years.
    Please realize that you can save a lot of money by not buying ready made food (all year round, but especially Pesach).
    Simple Pesach cakes (with potato starch, not almond flour, which is pricey) are easy to make and you wont need overpriced bought cakes. also, for breakfasts, you do not need to buy Pesach cereals, instead serve eggs, tuna, cheese.

    Especially if you have young kids, they do not need fancy food. Keep it simple, filling and yummy.

    In my house potato kugel is always a favorite.
    Buy the cheaper cuts of meat. Spice it and bake
    overnight at 275 degrees. It will be soft as butter.

    I try to save $ on disposable plastics by using real dishes for most of the YomTov meals. Yes I know it’s an extra job, but it is more elegant and nice plastic is expensive. I use cheap plastic for CH’M meals. And I do splurge on some nice plastic for when I feel like I need a break from washing dishes.

    I know the basics are very expensive but I hope this helps.

  13. If you are really looking for lower prices you can check out gourmet glatt their ad came out they didn’t parter with any organization and have blowout prices on almost everything you can either complain or take advantage of these prices

  14. Is there any way you can get invited out for some of the meals? that would really put less stress on you to buy a food portion of the yom tov food. If your adamant about not mishing ask a rav..I totally understand where you’re coming from we live paycheck to paycheck and dont get food stamps. We are a family of 7 KH living in a small apaerment way below our needs in NY in order not to go into debt and can’t fulfill our dream of living out of town because we have special needs kids. Which is a seperate expense I have spent a couple thousand dollars from private therapies. BH Hashem provides for us through miracles and we still have food to eat and make enough to stay out of debt.

  15. Maybe out of town could be possibility for us one day but is it a possibility for you? there are plenty of communities where the cost of living is cheaper then NY and NJ where you can put more money aside for YT expenses.

  16. Monsey has just announced that local balebatim want to help struggling middle class consumers who don”t get other forms of assistance to buy groceries for yom tov so they designated a program in three grocery stores where a shoppers pay 40% of the bill and the rest 60% is paid by these wonderful baalei tzedakah.
    The stores are: The Hive, All Fresh and Evergreen
    Registration takes place on RSK.org website till Monday April 8
    Wish we had such an offer here in Lakewood

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