Easter has become a holiday to rival Christmas. New clothes, wrapped gifts, custom-made baskets, professional portraits…money, money, money!
You could easily spend several hundred dollars per child if you give in to “keeping up with the Joneses.” And while you don’t want to give in to that pressure – I get it – it’s still tempting! We want to make the holidays special for our kids.
So, we’re going to look at some fun ways to keep our credit cards in our wallets and save big money on Easter. (And next week we’re going to look at some fun ways to CELEBRATE Easter on a budget.)
We’re going to do all of this without buying cheap junk that doesn’t last or looking like we’ve cut corners.
Make a List
Before we start our list of ways to save money on Easter, I want you to make your own list. Lists are money-savers, plain and simple. And this list only has one question:
WHAT DOES YOUR CHILD NEED?
“NEED” is the operative word here – be careful not to confuse it with “want.” Needs are the things you are absolutely going to spend money on ANYWAY, and these are the things you should put on the list. Summer clothes, shoes, snacks for after school, new toothbrushes, swimsuits, floaties… the list of things your kids need is as versatile as your family’s lifestyle and your children’s ages.
This “need” list is your money-saving reference at every point when shopping for Easter.
The Dos and Don’ts of Saving Money on Easter
#1: Don’t buy special Easter clothes.
Just don’t. Cutesy items with ducks and bunnies and eggs may be ADORABLE, but no matter how much you love the smocking, your kids will get exactly ONE wear out of them before they hang in the closet the rest of the season. Instead, look at your list of needs.
If you need dress clothes, by all means, get them, but be practical. A simple white dress or pastel shirt can be perfect for Easter and continue to be worn for the next several months for weddings, family pictures, and other events. The same rule goes for shoes, hair bows, socks, etc. Simple is practical and timeless.
#2: Don’t buy retail.
The markup on retail clothing is enormous. For the same high-quality clothing, hit up your local consignment stores, yard sales/garage sales, or check out online sites like eBay and Poshmark. The earlier in the season you shop resale, the better the selections are.
Again, reference your list of needs and buy versatile pieces that mix and match. You can save TONS of money at consignment stores and yard sales. Plus, kids outgrow clothes long before they wear them out, so often your second-hand purchases will look brand new!
#3: Don’t buy prewrapped Easter baskets.
I know, these are so easy to grab when you are stressed and rushed, but you are throwing away your hard-earned money on junk. Cheap baskets, plastic grass, low-quality toys and candy, and nothing of substance or usefulness.
Instead, try one of the following:
- For the non-crafty out there – check your house for ANYTHING that might work as an Easebater “basket”: a small trunk, an Amazon box you can gift wrap, any decorative basket in your home, a galvanized bucket, even a large mixing bowl! The kids don’t care even a little bit about the basket! Besides, if you buy a special basket, you’re either going to throw it away or have to store it until next year.
- For the crafty ones – google “Make Your Own Easter Basket” and have a ball with your kids the week before Easter! A pack of construction paper or a paper bag, some markers, crayons, and tape may be all you need for an afternoon of inexpensive fun together. Come Easter morning, your kids will love seeing their creations as part of the display!
#4: Don’t buy Easter grass.
Granted, this isn’t a big expense, but pennies add up. Plus, it’s a lot of wasted plastic that ends up all over your house! A simple alternative is to use colored newsprint from junk mail or shredded green paper. It makes excellent basket filler and doesn’t cost you a dime!
#5: Do look for coupons.
Check your mailbox flyers and websites for all the Easter specials. You’ll be surprised how many things are on sale, from candy to toys to sports equipment. A little research and price comparison can save you several dollars!
#6: Do make your own Easter eggs!
Not only is this fun for the kids – it’s super easy!
- One way is to dye your own eggs by mixing 1 Tablespoon food coloring with 2 Teaspoons of vinegar in a measuring cup. Add 4-6 oz. of water, and voila! You’re ready to dip your boiled eggs. The longer you dip them, the deeper the color will be.
- Another way is to use sponge stamps, markers, and puff paints and let your kids decorate eggs with polka dots, zig-zags, and swirls.
Both options are great for hiding in the grass or sprucing up your Easter Brunch table!
#7: Do fill your own eggs.
Be sure to include healthy snacks and homemade goodies.
- Eggs can be filled with coins, stickers, pencil erasers, hair ties and, of course, candy. A great way to save money on all these things is to pair up with other families and buy party packs and bulk candy to split. This way the kids get a wider variety of items, and you spend less!
- Include healthy snacks like raisins, trail mix, fruit strips, peanut butter crackers, and such. They’re already on the “you buy them anyway” list – so take advantage of the money you’ve allotted for these afterschool snacks and add them as fillers to their baskets!
- Homemade goodies. Rice Krispie treats, brownies, sugar cookies, etc. can be made and individually wrapped as extra-special treats!
#8: Do fill their Easter baskets with fun things from the “need” list.
Summer toys like bubbles and sidewalk chalk, hair bows, socks and underwear, summer pjs. Older kids can benefit from sunscreen, flip flops, toothbrushes, and solid tee shirts.
This is where the discount stores can be your friend. Refer back to the list you made and see what 3 to 5 items your child MOST needs for spring and summer. Choose these items for their basket. Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most significant ways you’ll save money. Instead of purchasing things they don’t need for Easter, you’re wisely giving them things you already plan to buy anyway.
#9: Do take your own family portraits.
Once everybody has their Easter outfits, get dressed up, find a beautiful location in your yard or local park and let your camera or cell phone save you the cost of a professional photographer.
- For best results, choose an overcast day or take advantage of the very early morning or very late afternoon golden light.
- To make it even easier, switch off with another family and take each other’s photos.
When you have professional photographs taken, not only is there a sitting fee, there is also much pressure to purchase large packages and oversized portraits you don’t need or even want. You really just need one good shot for a photo frame, scrapbook, and social media. Doing them yourself can literally save you hundreds of dollars!
#10: Do repurpose items you already have for craft projects.
This is one of my favorite ideas of all. It only takes a few minutes on Pinterest to come up with a half-dozen clever projects for your kids to make, and many of them use items you already have in the house! Just pint out the directions for the project and put them in a baggie with all the needed supplies – markers, Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, glue sticks – whatever the project calls for. Add these Baggies of Fun to their Easter baskets for hours of fun for virtually no cost at all!
Following these guidelines will definitely save you some big bucks this Easter, and your kids will never know you didn’t “go all out.” Happy Easter!