How to avoid the Chagim money hangover

Spend enough time in Israel and you’re bound to hear the phrase “Achari Hachagim” meaning “after the holidays”.

When someone says that, it means that he or she will deal with a particular task after the holidays are over. The two big holiday periods in Israel are Pesach and the Tishrei holidays. Once one of these holiday periods are on the horizon, procrastination becomes legitimate, as you are so busy preparing for the festivities that you will only get to said tasks after the holidays. As these holiday periods conveniently sit on opposite sides of the year, all you have to do is procrastinate a little longer and the next chagim come into view.

What if by making a few small changes you could avoid using that phrase and, like a family member calls it, avoid the hangover of big credit card payments?

  1. About ten days before every chagim period, the news features stories comparing the costs of the average holiday shopping cart at the various Israeli supermarket chains. However, by the time the segment airs the stores have already raised their prices. Filming has ended, they looked good for the camera, and now stores advertise the “holiday sales” which are not always as low as they were for the reporters. If you go about three weeks before the holidays and buy all of your shopping aside from the immediate perishables, you will likely get better prices AND will avoid the long lines.
  1. Many people have the custom of buying new clothes, jewelry and other gifts for Rosh Hashana.  It should not be about how big or how much you spent. It should be about the thought that was put into it. Put a limit on how much you are willing to spend on everyone and do not go over it. Don’t wait for the last minute to start shopping.
  1. Rosh Hashana sales will be all over the place. Stores love to just advertise. STOP. Don’t rush to buy it just because it is on sale. Do your research before you buy. Often the price is jacked up immediately before the “sale” to make the regular price appear to be a bargain. Worst case you miss this sale. 😦 There will always be more sales, and November is the month of sales and it’s just around the bend. Remember, if you weren’t planning on buying it, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is. 
  1. The kids are off. There is no need to always go to paid attractions. Most major cities offer free or very cheap activities for families to do during the day inside the city or even in your neighborhood. Look at your city’s or local council’s website and see what they offer. If you’re part of your neighborhood’s Whatsapp group, they advertise local activities all the time and many of them are 100% free.

Remind yourself that going into overdraft for the Chagim is not inevitable. Use some of these ideas as well as your own.

How are you planning to avoid the Chag Hangover? What fun activities do you have planned?

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