Everybody knows Pesach ALWAYS costs too much money.
All that Matzah is expensive! (I'll tell you though, it is less expensive here in Israel. First of all, one less day of eating matzah overall. Plus, only one seder - so you need not buy a TON of hand shmurah matzah and wine and grape juice, only half a ton of each!)
So, in the interest of not completely destroying our budget this month (it's unlikely that my hubby's employer will give him a "shai lachag" - oh well), I'm working on ways to eat simply and frugally over pesach.
One of the biggest problems with pesach food is the prevalence of eggs. Eggs, especially organic ones (I am opposed to factory farm conditions of regular eggs. And yes, I know, organic production is not 100% cruelty free, but since I'm not raising my own chickens, this is the best I can do), do cost money... I haven't found a way around eggs completely, but we'll minimize whenever possible.
Of course, we will make our usual "pesach rolls" using my mother's recipe, since everyone loves them. But using a dozen eggs in one shot is a bit much! So last year I cut back on the eggs and used 9 instead of the 12 my mother said. The rolls came out JUST FINE. This year, I'll cut it back to 7 or 8 and see what happens! (Wish me luck!)
Other foods I plan to make:
Lots and lots of fresh and steamed and roasted veggies. Baked potatoes, as well.
We only eat chicken on Shabbat and Chag, so the chol hamoed days will be vegetarian. Of course, that's a little harder on pesach, but we'll be creative. We make pesach pancakes and matzah pizza. Overall, I'm lucky that my kids think that matzah with butter or cream cheese is awesome. they live on it! When they want variety, they'll sprinkle cinnamon sugar on matzah with butter. I came up with this last year out of desparation when my 2 yr old had a tantrum, crying for graham crackers. This was the best I could do, and it was a big hit. They even ate up matzah AFTER pesach using this...
I'm slowly buying items on my Pesach shopping list. Another big run should do it, until I'm ready to buy the perishables (note to self: start cleaning out the fridge!). Then, I will stick with basics, like eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese, and cottage cheese, as well as whatever fresh produce I can find at those awesome "only in Israel" prices. (right now Yesh has tomatoes for 1 NIS/kilo and cucumbers for 1.20 NIS/kilo, and carrots for 1.30 NIS/kilo - can't go wrong with those... we'll see what next week's specials are. Kind of hoping for a big price break on avocados...)
Please share your Pesach budget secrets! I'm sure I could do better...