Easter is almost here! Are you ready? If not, don’t run to the stores and mess up your monthly budget just yet! We’ve got some great ideas that will save you money this year!

Like any holiday that caters to children, Easter can become quite the money pit for families. Particularly if there are multiple children in a household, a holiday budget can be difficult to maintain. It’s hard to feel as though your beloved family is having the best experience possible while also setting a lower end budget. There are some great ways to save money, however. Shop thrift stores, dollar stores, and grocery store sales to get the biggest bang for those bucks. Forgo premade baskets, and put fun necessities in ones that are homemade. With a little ingenuity and planning, a frugal Easter can also be an amazing one.

Easter baskets are really fun to make if you’re making them in a way that is enjoyable, interesting, and saving money in the process. There are a lot of people who think they have to follow the standard formula for creating an Easter basket because that is how everyone else does it. However, it makes more sense to create the baskets in a way that is frugal and budget-friendly. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to create some really amazing Easter baskets.

Tips and advice that will help you save money on Easter baskets:

  1. Reuse old baskets – There’s no reason you need to buy a new basket every single year. My Grandmother made my Easter basket when I was a baby and my parents used that same basket year after year. That basket has great sentimental value and it is still cherished to this day. Think about personalizing the basket with your child’s name and reuse that same basket every year.
  2. Use coupons for candy – A great time to buy candy is the day after Valentine’s Day. All that candy is on sale and it will still be good come Easter time. You don’t have to buy red hearts or anything Valentine’s Day looking. There’s plenty of generic candy on sale. Look for coupons to use when buying candy. The candy does not have to be so varied. A few staple items will be fine (chocolate bunny). There are a lot of people who think that they need to buy a ton of different kinds of candy for one basket, but it’s best to pick out the candy that the person loves the most. That makes the basket most personalized and special.
  3. Don’t buy fake Easter grass – Fake plastic Easter grass is not a necessity for an Easter basket. If you must have fake grass for your baskets, try making it yourself. If you have a paper shredder to shred important sensitive documents, then you can use that to make fake grass. Just run some different colored construction paper through it and you’ll have fake colored paper grass in seconds that you can use to fill the basket before adding the candy and other items.
  4. Thrift stores and dollar stores are a must – Check out your local Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Target’s Dollar Spot, for cheap gifts and candy. Fun Easter baskets should have a nice mix of candy and other small items that are fun for kids. A lot of these things can be bought at a discount store, and it’s much better than buying the most expensive candy possible. There is no need to overpay or go into credit card debt because you went a little crazy with the Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter shopping.
  5. Buy things they need for Spring/Summer – Find ways to include items your child needs. This can be as simple as school supplies, sunglasses, socks, underwear, a new hat, and a new toothbrush. This way they are getting a basket, but it’s filled with items that were on your “much-needed list” as well. A perfect basket is going to be much easier to make when you’re buying special purchases that are just for that child’s interests, such as crayons for your budding artist or a baseball for your star athlete. Kids who like things that are not going to come in a regular basket are going to get special baskets and cherish those items more.
  6. Use non-traditional gift ideas – Books are a wonderful gift idea that will last a lot longer than a candy bar will. Toys or Easter related items are always fun. Some other great ideas are markers, silly putty, a kid’s watch, a small doll, stuffed animals, clothes, puzzles, coloring books, Play-Doh, sidewalk chalk, bathtub paint crayons, bubble bath, bubbles, hair accessories, a DVD movie, etc. You can find many of these items in discount stores like Five Below and the Dollar Tree.
  7. Make the most of cheap items – Get some really cheap items (like $1 or less) and fill up the basket with those things first. You’ll save a lot of money that way. Pick some items like colored chalk, bubbles, crafting supplies, water bottles, sunglasses, summer hat, bathing suit, socks, plastic eggs filled with coins and/or jelly beans, etc.
  8. Look in your “Gift Closet” – You may or may not have a “gift closet”; if you don’t it may be a great idea to start one. A gift closet is a place in your home that you store gifts for future events like Christmas, birthdays, weddings, Easter, etc. When you are shopping, keep an eye out for great deals and sales for items that would make great gifts. Put them in your “gift closet” (this can be an actual closet or just a storage bin or cardboard box) and save them for when you need to give out gifts for holidays and special events. It will save you time and money!
  9. Shop in advance – The best time to shop for next Easter is the Monday after this Easter. Candy, clothes, home decor, egg coloring kits, baskets, plastic eggs, and even that fake plastic grass that we talked about will all be 75% or more off the day after Easter. If you do purchase items for next Easter, be sure to label them and store them safely away. You don’t want all of your bargaining and deals to go to waste.
  10. Don’t over-decorate the basket –Easter baskets are more fun when they are not wrapped in plastic wrap or covered in a ton of ribbon. This is another expense that is not worth it to anyone, and it makes the basket more complicated than it has to be. Simple and easy is best!
  11. Splurge on one bigger item – Get one special item to go in the basket that they’ll really enjoy and it will last a long time. Giving every person just one cool item for the Easter season makes the most sense for people who are trying to save money. It does not make sense to overdo it, and the special item could even be an I.O.U. for later in the year that someone can look forward to using. This is a great way to make sure that the basket is going to be fun and memorable.
  12. For older kids – Try putting these types of items in older kids’ baskets: discount body lotions, soaps, sunblock, fingernail polish, movie ticket gift certificate, iTunes gift certificate, “coupons” for getting out of a chore, healthy snacks and maybe a few “not so healthy” snacks, something new for school like a book bag or shoulder bag, clothes purchased on clearance, and lots of candy. Just because they don’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore doesn’t mean they can’t get a few treats!

Here are a few more ways to save money this Easter: 

Shop Thrift Stores Without Guilt – 
One of the largest holiday budget breakers is precious, cute, expensive clothing. It’s a tradition that children be absolutely decked out in their best for this spring celebration. Affording these lovely outfits, however, is a bit trickier. Parents might be surprised at the selection and savings they may find at either local or online thrift stores. Particularly for smaller children, thrift clothes are often gently used because they’re outgrown so quickly. It’s entirely possible to purchase a name brand, like a new outfit for a quarter of the new cost. 

Buy Multi-Purpose and Clearance Clothes – 
It’s so tempting to buy the most adorable bunny outfits or the cutesy hats adorned with eggs for this time of year. However, when trying to be frugal, this concept is ludicrous. Stick to clothing that may be worn for many occasions throughout the season. It isn’t uncommon to find amazing clearances on formal, name brand Christmas clothing at this time. While red is sure to be prominent, there are often more generic, but lovely, clothes available for next to nothing. Also, nice shoes will often be marked down. 

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Avoid Premade Baskets: Shop Dollar Stores Instead – 
Save money on baskets by embracing a craftier side. While premade baskets are convenient, they are also grossly overpriced. Buy inexpensive items at dollar stores instead. Parents can not only stay on budget by building their own baskets, but they can also customize each and every item especially for their children. It’s amazing to offer a far superior gift for a fraction of the cost.

Get Smart By Putting Necessities in Baskets –
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with creating a basket full of fun items children need anyway. Whether it’s new swimwear for the upcoming summer season, a new ball glove for the avid baseball player or dance shoes for the ballerina, it’s simply smart to make baskets chockful of items that must be purchased regardless. Plus, this approach ensures the child recipient will love the item meant to facilitate something they already love.

Menu Plan By Store Sales – 
Take the time in the weeks before the holidays, and study store advertisements. There are likely to be some excellent sales on Easter meal staples. Planning ahead and stocking up can save tons of money on one of the largest expenses of the season; the dinner menu. Couple this approach with a little couponing, and dinner costs will plummet.

Host a Potluck – 
Perhaps frugal families want to spend more time with each other and less cooking in the kitchen. Yet the thought of covering a restaurant tab for a large group is intimidating. Instead of going either of these routes, host a potluck dinner. Invite guests to bring enough food and beverages to feed their own families. This approach cuts both work and costs for the host. 

Everyone wants to provide their families with wonderful holiday memories. Luckily, this can be achieved on a budget. Shopping clearances or thrifting for seasonal clothing is a great money saver. Creating original baskets with necessities is an excellent way to stretch a dollar. Also, paying attention to grocery store sales and hosting a potluck can save on the menu costs. Holidays don’t have to be expensive to be memorable.

Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for AdvantageCCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.