How to celebrate Easter on a budget!
A little story about how we do Easter in my family...
Growing up I can remember going to my grandmother's house each Easter for dinner and an egg hunt. I remember being a child and getting so excited that I could hardly stand to sit and eat before the egg hunt.
My husband and I moved about 2 hours away from our home town and our families. Holidays are tough, especially with the economy now, and travel is a must if we want to enjoy them with our families. We are lucky enough that both his family and my family both live in the same city! All of our sisters, brothers, Aunt's and Uncle's live there also!
Easter is one of the holidays that falls through the cracks for us when it comes to family. We usually go for a visit during the major holidays and spend Easter at home. For the past 6 years our celebration has consisted of going to church, eating a home cooked dinner, and an easter egg hunt with friends and their children (usually on Saturday's). We have always kept it fairly simple UNTIL now!
I gathered up the family last year and we all came to the conclusion that we wanted an Easter Blow-Out this year! So, a little less than a year ago I began planning this years celebration on a budget!
Step 1: Planning
- Where are you going to have the dinner and hunt?
- How many people (estimated) will attend?
- How many children will be of egg hunting age?
- What will you eat?
- How many eggs would you like to have (plastic and boiled)?
- What will you use to fill them?
There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself when preparing. These are a few of the questions that I ask myself!
Planning is essential because you will be making purchases throughout the year for this event. You may want to dedicate family members to do tasks throughout the year also. An alternative is to take most of the planning duties yourself and then divide the costs up between family members. Many of my family members don't shop the way that I do so it is easier this way for me!
Step 2: Shop Clearance throughout the year!
This step is very easy for me! I love to find a great deal! You want to get the biggest bang for your buck so obviously you will buy at its cheapest and stock up!
Last year it seemed as though no one wanted to buy anything after Easter. By the time prices hit 90% off...there was a ton of stuff to choose from!
Look for day after sales to get 50% off and 2-3 days after the holiday to get 50-75% off! It is a little tricky to plan this part because you don't know what everyone else will do! Will the stores be wiped out or not?
Make sure that you are checking drug stores, grocery stores, Big Lots, Walmart, Target, Kmart(who has the slowest mark-down schedule) and any other store that may carry holiday items!
You are going to find most of your items at 50% off (which is still an O.K. deal). If this is your first year shopping Easter clearance then I would suggest buying most of your items in this price range! Once you do it for a few years you will be able to gauge when to buy in the future!
Here are some great tips on buying little prizes and trinkets off-season...
- McDonald Happy Meal toys make great egg fillers and prizes (let the kids play with them for a while and then keep a bag stashed in your closet to throw them in when they loose interest!)
- Don't forget other holiday clearance sales! Christmas is a great time to stock up on the smaller items (stocking stuffers). Saint Patricks day offers a variety of necklaces, Valentines day offers tons of stickers, rings, erasers, etc.,
- General toy clearance is key! Target is notorious for marking down their dollar section at the front of the store! Pay closer attention to get 50% or more off of the dollar items throughout the year!
- If you want bigger toys or items for prizes Kmart is a great resource! They use yellow stickers for their clearance items. Many times the items ring up cheaper than the sticker price. They have many price scanners throughout the store so be sure to check periodically! Especially in June when the Christmas left-overs will be the cheapest! I have found hundreds of toys over the last 2 years at 80-90% off of their retail price at Kmart! You just have to be patient and take the time to scan things! Of course your typical after Christmas sales are also key!
- I also re-use other small toys that my daughter gets bored with throughout the year! Have your family members get involved and start collecting too! The kids get so excited that they will never know!
Step 3: Planning the dinner
This step can go one of two ways! You can have your traditional meal or keep it simple!
In the weeks prior to Easter you should be able to find Hams for .99/lb (after Christmas and before Easter). Buy a couple of them on sale (the number will depend on how many you are feeding) and throw them in the freezer! I bought up a few hams at .99/lb back at the end of
February! Cake mixes and frosting will go on sale for rock bottom prices around Christmas and even this week (Kroger/Publix).
We keep it simple because we have over 30 people that come and it makes it easier on my grandparents (we have the celebration at their house).
This year we are having hot dogs, chips, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, cake and cupcakes. I decided on hot dogs 1 because they are simple to make and cheap to buy. We are actually going to take advantage of Kroger's BOGO sale on Ball Park Franks this week (timing was just right!) for $1.50 per pack after my coupons! We are buying potato chips from Publix BOGO @ $2 per bag and making baked beans out of tons of Van Camp beans that I got for free a few months ago! Potatoes were $2 for a 5 lb bag. Cabbage @ .19/lb for the slaw, .30 each for boxed cake mix and free frosting from the Betty Crocker sale a few months ago!
Here is the breakdown of our meal!
8 packs of hot dogs @ $1.50 each
1 jar of relish (vlassic that was free back in December)
1 Bottle of Mustard (free at Kroger last year)
1 bottle of Ketchup ($1 for Hunt's at Kroger a few months ago0
3 bags of chips @ $2 each (lay's at Publix this week)
8 cans of beans (free at Kroger before Christmas)
2 bottles of BBQ sauce for beans (.50 last summer KC masterpiece)
4 boxes of cake mix @ .30 each
5 cans of frosting FREE
12 eggs for potato salad and garnishment(.75 per carton)
1 lb of onion @ .99
8 pks of hot dog buns @ .59 each
Sweet tea (pennies on the dollar with paying only .60ish per family pack, juice boxes (apple and eve from Kroger for free last year)
Approximate total (cushioned for spices and sugar): $28.26 and this will feed 30-35 people! Not bad at all for .94 per serving!
Step 4: Have Fun and take lots of pictures!
I plan to keep all of the plastic eggs to use again next year! We have over 600 eggs for 12 kids! They are going to love it!
Here is a picture of all the items I have been gathering since last year! Overall I spent about $30 on these things! I bought most of them at 90% off last year after Easter and have gotten some free things here and there at various stores!
Step 5: Do it again next year
Start out small and accumulate items over the years as your family grows! Give yourself a rule of thumb for prices that you will pay and go for it!
This year our total budget was $100 for the entire family. We came in right under $60! I love to make it a challenge!
I hope that you have enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed sharing my Frugal Easter Celebration with you! I will be sure to take pictures and share the results after this weekend! I am so excited! Just like the kids!
Do you have any Easter tips and tricks to tell us about? Link up or leave a comment and share the knowledge!