Easter’s on its way, which means candy galore, expensive church outfits, and untold amounts of money for a ham dinner at the local restaurant.
Thank God that stupid rabbit hops along only once a year, right?
Well, if you play it right, and exercise a little ingenuity, your Easter bill can run so cheap you could celebrate it EVERY Sunday and not break the bank.
Here are ten sure-fire ways to insure that you have the most inexpensive Easter of all time:
1. Buy Candy Last Minute
If you buy your chocolate bunnies and Peeps weeks ahead of time, you probably paid too much.
Buying your candy as close to the actual holiday as possible, perhaps even the night before, means you’ll pay much, much less.
Stores want to get rid of their stock and make room for Christmas decorations, and many will slash prices anywhere from 50-90% to do it.
What sounds better: a giant chocolate rabbit for five bucks for one for 75 cents?
Yeah, we thought so.
2. Throw Your Very Own Easter Egg Hunt
Why waste gas by driving to some organized Easter egg hunt in the park (which somebody might want to charge for)?
You can just as easily hold a hunt in your own home!
Hide the eggs all over the place and when the kids wake up, challenge them to find them all. Whoever wins gets the big piece of bunny.
Just remember where you put all the eggs should you be using real ones.
The last thing you want is for your living room to smell like a skunk’s toilet in a month because you forgot about the rapidly-rotting egg you so cleverly slid under the loveseat.
3. Make Your Own Easter Egg Dye
However much Paas is charging for one of their egg dying kits these days, it’s too much. You can make your own dye and, for all intents and purposes, it’s free.
Simply use a few drops of food coloring (if need be, you can pick up a package with several colors included for a buck or two), boiling water, and a teaspoon of vinegar.
Mix it all up, and you’ve got 100% workable egg dye at virtually no cost to you.
And if you run out and need more? Simply make more, also for free!
4. Buy Easter Clothing at Discount/Thrift Shops
Who says dressing up for the holiday has to be expensive?
As long as you like the way you and your family looks, the price tag can be as low as you like.
And since you’re here, you probably would like it to be as low as possible.
So hit up the local discount stores and thrift shops for suits and dresses.
Make sure there are no secret tears or holes, then bring ‘em home and put ‘em on. You’ll look awesome and no one will know you spent squat to do so.
5. Be the Bunny
If you want to dress up as the Easter Bunny this year, don’t blow your money on somebody else’s design.
Make your own!
This site shows you exactly how to do it, using little more than some old clothing, a bit of felt, a couple hours of work, and your own ingenuity.
6. Decorate an Old Bucket and Make That the Easter Basket
You could buy an Easter basket.
Or, you could take an old pail that’s just lying around the house, clean it, decorate it yourself, and make THAT your Easter basket.
The latter is far more personable and fun, not to mention less pricey and far less likely to be thrown away and forgotten about by Monday.
7. Use Old Wrapping Paper for Basket Grass
There’s absolutely no need to buy fake basket grass when just about any colored paper you have lying around will do the trick.
Got any scraps of wrapping paper left over from your last birthday party?
Throw them into the shredder (or manually cut them if you don’t own a shredder), crinkle them up a bit, and line your basket.
It’s easy, it’ll look pretty, it gives random scraps of paper a reason to live, and best of all, it’s free!
8. Track Down Free or Inexpensive Easter Shows
Why pay to see a movie or play on Easter Sunday?
Most towns offer up free shows that night all over the place. Many are religious in nature, but some are just pure entertainment.
Find something that works for your family and go have a blast.
9. Create Your Own Cards
Hallmark charges how much for Easter cards?
Nuts to that – make you own instead!
Even if your artwork isn’t the best, the fact that you put thought, effort, and love into designing something that you thought your family would love should all but guarantee that they will.
10. Have Your Easter Feast at Home
Finally, there’s no reason to go out and pay some chef to feed you Easter ham when you can so easily do it yourself, for much less money.
Open up a cookbook or search on Google for some yummy-sounding recipes, pick up the ingredients you need, and get to cooking!
It’ll taste better than whatever restaurant you were planning to visit, plus your bank account will thank you.
And then, once you realize you have a bunch of food left over, meaning free meals for the next several days, it will thank you even more.
All this is just for starters, though. What about you, the Mint.com community?
What do you do to keep your Easter as cheap as can be? Share your stories and tips below!
Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.