Since it's that time of year again, here is my Easter Basket Frugality Post from last year. So good you want to read it twice. ;-)
Today I'd like to continue talking about yesterday's Easter basket post theme found HERE.
With many people having less money in their budgets due to the recession, even if you never considered being frugal when putting together your kids' Easter baskets before, you may be forced by circumstances now to downsize your holiday spending. My thinking about Easter buying is, "Why spend more than you have to, no matter your budget?".
You can provide a nice Easter basket/goodies spread for your kids without breaking the bank.
Here are some ways to save money.
1.Set a Budget. Either set a budget per child or a total budget for all baskets. But set one and stay within your budget.
2. Know your child. Figure out if they could only get 1 thing, what would make them the happiest? Would your child like candy the most or what they prefer a toy? With the cost of chocolate nowadays, in some cases it might be cheaper to get them a toy!lol
Keep your child's likes/dislikes in mind. What's the point of filling their basket with $1 store toys if those aren't the kinds of things they prefer...or malted milk balls that were a great deal if they won't eat them? Yes, it might be cheap to shop at the $ store but if the toys break within the first 5 minutes it's not a deal.
3. Decide what price tier of chocolate/candies to buy. When it comes to buying candy/chocolate, there are the off brands, name brands and high end brands.
Off Brands are the least expensive but often they contain artificial ingredients. Some people don't mind that and some do. You need to spend your money the best way for your needs. I am talking Palmer's and other brands you find at discount retailers(Family Dollar, Dollar General, WalMart, Dollar Stores, etc.)
If you really prefer the major name brands of goodies(Hershey, M&M/Mars, etc.)there are ways to bring the cost of them down using sales and coupons. Check out the major drug stores at this time of year, as they are running sales on the seasonal candies. Combine those sales with manufacturer's coupons as well as store coupons to snag the name brand candy for as little or less than the off-brands.
If you can't compromise on quality and only the high-end specialty chocolate and candy will do, try to find coupon codes and deals online for those brands. Google or Bing or Swagbucks or whatever search engine you prefer, the names of brands like Godiva, See's, etc. You may be able to find a deal somewhere.
Another way to save money on the candy/chocolate is to NOT buy the specialty packages for the Holiday. Often times, specially wrapped candy/chocolate for the holiday is either more expensive per ounce or you get less product in the package compared to the non-seasonally packages of the same product.
To save money when this is the case, buy 1 bigger seasonally wrapped item(like a bunny shaped or egg shaped chocolate)and use everyday shaped/wrapped/packaged candies/chocolates as the smaller "filler" candies.
Something I do to keep the candy/chocolate cost down is to buy Christmas and Valentine's candies on deep discount during the holiday clearance sales and use it for Easter basket goodies. I'll pick out the silver, gold, white and green wrapped/colored Christmas candies and the silver, pink and white colored Valentine's candies for the Easter baskets. Add in a little lavender and light blue Easter themed candies and who can tell?lol
4. Reuse what you can from one year to the next.
When I was a kid, we reused the same basket & fake grass every year. You don't need to buy the container you use new each year. Unless you have a really really huge Easter basket, you should have sufficient storage somewhere in your home to stow it away until next year. Same goes for the grass, and any decorations. Heck, if you wrap the basket in cellophane, you should be able to reuse that as well from year to year.
5. Get if for FREE or Get creative and think outside the basket.
If you don't presently have an Easter basket and grass, for goodness sakes, do NOT go buy them new! There are numerous places you can find perfectly good baskets for cheap or free even. Try yard sales, ask friends if they have old baskets hanging around in their attics or garages(I bet most everybody has at least one!), ask on CraigsList or any Free or Barter type local newspapers or online groups.
If you can't find a typical Easter basket for cheap or free that way, think outside the box. An Easter basket doesn't have to be an Easter basket. How about using an old Beach Pail, a free pastry flour bucket you can get from your local bakery, a cardboard box covered with self sticking wallpaper scraps or gift wrap you have laying around the house. If you can crochet, how about a crocheted or knitted basket, a basket made out of string that you can stiffen with glue like THIS. I have also seen this same idea used to make a basket out of sugar. Any container you can think of has the potential to be turned into an Easter basket. You are only limited by the reach of your imagination!
And if you don't have any plastic grass for gosh sakes, DON'T BUY ANY! Plastic grass is so not environmentally friendly! Try shredding some old bills or papers in place of pre-made grass. If you need color in your grass then use watered down paints or food coloring to give it that springy pizazz. If you Must buy grass, buy something that is compost friendly, that's made of paper products or even the edible candy grass.
6. Stay away from Pre-Wrapped Baskets.
The least frugal thing you can do is to buy one of those pre-assembled Easter baskets. You know....the ones where all the goodies are already put in the baskets and it's wrapped in cellophane. Sometimes the price may seem like a deal but look at what is actually IN the basket. If you add up the cost of the items they contain, usually you can save money by assembling the exact same items.
7. Hit the After Easter Clearance Sales.
While this tip won't help you this Holiday season to be frugal, check out the prices on the leftovers in the stores when Easter is over. There are many good opportunities to pick up items for next year on the cheap like baskets, accessories and toys as well. Often companies will put out Easter or Spring themed versions of their toys. Major retailers generally put these toys on clearance with the Easter themed items even though the toy itself isn't seasonal...it's just packaged in a seasonal way. You can get great deals on toys that way that you can put back and give for Birthdays or at Christmas.
It's even possible to pick up candy/chocolate during the Holiday Clearance sales to use next year. While I don't recommend this, if you can store the candy in such a way that it won't deteriorate, you can save lots. I have bought M&Ms and packed them away in the freezer until next year and they looked and tasted the same as a freshly made bag. Not all candies/chocolates can be kept so long so use your own discretion.
When shopping the sales, just be sure that the CLEARANCE signs don't cause your common sense to leave your brain. A deal isn't a deal if you really don't need it! Getting 3 Easter baskets for $.25 each on clearance is great if you NEED 3 baskets, but not so great if you don't NEED that many. It's always a great idea to MAKE A LIST of what you NEED before you hit the clearance sales. And stick to your list!!