The Easter holiday can be hard on a family’s budget. You’ve just made it through Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and now you have Easter coming up quickly. Traditionally, this holiday means new outfits and filled-to-the-brim Easter baskets and lots of delicious food for a special holiday dinner. The cost can add up quickly.
Here are four surefire and easy places for you to save money and still have a special Easter that you and your family will treasure.
Saving on Easter Food and Décor
Make your meal potluck: Ask everyone to bring something to share. Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean that you have to do all the cooking! You provide the main course and ask each attendee to bring something with them. Make sure you ask them to bring something from a specific category but still give them the opportunity to decide what they’ll make. For instance, assign someone a side dish but allow them to pick whatever side they want to make. That way you don’t end up with a lot of desserts and no side dishes, or all drinks and no desserts!
Plan your main course based on local grocery store sales: Meat products like ham, pork, or lamb are popular at Easter so they tend to go on sale. Watch your circulars and stock up when there’s a sale. If you have a bargain grocery store like Aldi or Shop-Rite near you, make sure you watch them closely. You can often get discounts on their already low prices. Then make the most of your Easter dinner by getting the most from your leftovers.
Shop smart for your décor: It’s important to be festive, but your décor doesn’t have to bust your budget. Shop your local dollar store for one-color or plain white paper plates, cups, table cover, and plasticware. You often get more for your money when you buy a plain color, then you can spend a little more on festive Easter-themed napkins to add color. Put a simple wide ribbon (also found at a dollar store) down the middle of the table. For decorations, fill a few small bowls with the eggs your kids have dyed, and let the brightly colored eggs be your centerpiece!DECOR
BONUS CHALLENGE: Can you do it for free? If you’re up for the challenge, try not spending any money on décor this Easter. Instead, clean out your china cabinet between now and Easter. You likely have a tablecloth you haven’t used in a while, and what better time to dust off the china you don’t often use and let it shine at your Easter dinner! Make the dessert that one of your guests brings into the centerpiece or use the dyed eggs. You can also use spare tissue paper you have on hand, and have children make paper flowers and fill bowls with them.
Saving on Easter Egg Hunts
You can easily spend a small fortune on the candy you need to fill the eggs for your Easter egg hunt. Try these new ideas instead for a fun – and less expensive! – twist on the classic egg hunt.
Set the egg hunt up as a scavenger hunt: Decide where you want to hide your child’s Easter basket. Spell out the location on a piece of paper, then cut out the individual letters. (For instance, if you hide the basket in the attic, cut out five small pieces of paper and write one letter from the word “attic” on each piece of paper.) Put one slip of paper in each egg. Tell the child how many eggs she has to find and once she has found all of the eggs, have her unscramble the letters to find out where her basket is!
Write love notes to your kids: Kids love affirmations so take a few minutes to write out reasons why you love your child on small slips of paper. Put one in each egg and hide them around your home. Your child can keep the affirmations in a jar or box in his room to remind him throughout the year that he is loved.
Put a puzzle piece inside each egg: For smaller children who can’t read, buy a simple puzzle from a dollar store and put a piece (or two, depending on how many eggs you want to hide) in each egg. Once the child has found all of her eggs, she’ll have a puzzle to put together and keep.
Dye your own eggs to hide: Instead of buying the cheap plastic eggs, you can always hide real eggs that you’ve dyed. Here are some fun and different ways to dye your eggs, plus what to do with the leftovers.
LOVE THESE IDEAS BUT HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHILD? They can all still work for you! Simply designate a specific egg color for each child to ensure that each child only gets the eggs meant for him or her.
Saving on Easter Baskets
By the time you’ve bought enough trinkets to fill your child’s Easter basket, you could potentially have spent a small fortune. Try thinking about the baskets in a new way this year.
Reuse baskets from years before. If you don’t have one, don’t buy an expensive one. Get a cheap one at a dollar store (they only get used for a few minutes every year anyway) and then save them to reuse for years to come.
Fill it with something they need: Maybe it’s time for new shoes or a new piece of sporting equipment for their baseball games or art supplies for their lessons. These are things you probably have in your budget already, so make them a special Easter gift instead.
Plan a special time together with your child and give her something for that: Kids love to spend one-on-one time with a parent. Use your child’s Easter basket to plan that next time together. If your child loves to bake, find a couple of fun new recipes to try and put them in the basket along with a baking tool or a chef’s hat. If your child loves movies, buy a box of candy and an inexpensive DVD he doesn’t have and set a time to turn out the lights and watch it together at home.
Give them a certificate to download five free apps on their devices: For older kids who have their own electronic devices, research some good free apps that they might like. Give them a list of those apps in their baskets and allow them a little extra screen time that day to play.
Save by Growing a Live Easter basket:
Delight family and friends with a “live” Easter basket this year. Eye-catching plant baskets containing tasty, “bunny-worthy” ingredients like lettuce, parsley, edible flowers and carrots make great decorator pieces and save you money. Living Easter baskets provide you with good-for-you goodies long after traditional baskets are empty. Follow these simple steps for creating your own tasty Easter basket.
Prepare your basket
You can use a traditional Easter basket, or spiff up a wire planter or other outdoor container. It will need to withstand watering. Line the basket with a 1-inch layer of sphagnum moss or with plastic that you have poked with holes to allow for drainage. Fill with potting soil to within an inch of the top rim of the basket.
Bunnies like nibbling on a wide variety of tasty selections, including the following:
Greens. Oodles of lettuce varieties exist, including romaine, red leaf and oak. Other greenery for making tasty salads includes arugula, mesclun, cilantro, Swiss chard and kale.
Herbs. Add pizzazz to your cooking with fresh, tasty herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, sage, thyme and the all-time bunny favorite — parsley.
Carrots. No Easter basket would be complete without carrots. Because this plant is a root vegetable, you must plant carrots by seed. Though they will take some time to grow, you can enjoy the other plants in the basket while you’re waiting. For best results, choose baby carrots, including fun selections that look like golf balls and multi-colored varieties.
Radishes. Radishes must also be planted by seed. There is even a variety known as the Easter egg radish, which comes in white, purple, pink and red.
Edible flowers. Blooming plants make a pretty addition to your Easter basket, and some flowers are edible. Good choices include nasturtiums, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, violets and dianthus.
Planting and Care
Plant greens, herbs and edible flowers in the basket at the same level they are in their existing nursery containers, leaving 2 to 3 inches between plants. While you want to leave room for growth, you also want the basket to appear full. If you are also planting seeds, sprinkle them in between the plants and press them into the soil to the same depth as the width of the seed. For very small seeds like carrots, simply sprinkle them on the soil surface and then cover with a very thin layer of soil.
Water your basket well after planting and keep the soil moist but not soggy. If you planted seeds in your basket, mist to avoid washing the seeds away.
Feed your basket monthly with a ½-strength solution of an organic fertilizer. Organic foods have a NPK ratio listed on the packaging no higher than 15-15-15.
Be a bunny and harvest the plants in your basket often, which will keep things looking full and lush.
Saving on Easter Outfits
Any parent knows that the expectation is a perfectly dressed child on Easter. But dresses and suits for children can be very expensive, and they are often worn only one time. Beyond the usual thrift store searches, try these ideas that will give you well-dressed kids on Easter but keep your budget intact.
Phone a friend:You probably have several friends who have kids a year or two older than your child. Don’t be afraid to call them and ask if they have something you could borrow or even purchase for just a few dollars. Take it one step further and ask if you can be their go-to person when they’re ready to donate clothes, and you might find your child’s closet stocked year-round for years to come!
Shop clearance racks: Check clearance sales at your favorite stores. You might find a fancy outfit left from the holidays that is marked way down now and will work for Easter. If you shop the week before Easter, you’ll find that most of the merchandise is already significantly marked down. You may not get to be picky, but you’ll still have a kid dressed to the nines – and for a fraction of the price.
Set up a swap: Gather some families together in your neighborhood or your church and set up a clothes swap. Trade gently worn clothes between you and your kids will all have “new to them” outfits.
BONUS CHALLENGE: Buy only one new item for your child and then use what you have. Find a cute, inexpensive skirt for your daughter or a dressy, on-sale shirt or sweater for your son. Look for your child’s favorite color, animal, or design. Then dress those up with items that your kids already have in their closets to make brand new outfits.
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