Americans celebrating Easter will shell out an average of $152 this year, according to the National Retail Federation. For comparison, that’s up 4 percent from last year’s previous record of $146.
Feel like this isn’t a hoppy ending for your budget? Don’t worry, Easter doesn’t have to go down this way.
Here are five of the most common Easter budget traps, along with easy ways you can circumvent them. Have you already splurged on Easter this year? Well, file these away in order to help you save next year, friends.
Budget Buster No. 1: Candy
Jelly beans, chocolate Easter bunnies, those Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs that you’ve been craving all year! Nine out of 10 people celebrating Easter will splurge on candy.
If you can, hold out until the day before Easter to buy candy when it’s already been tagged by the markdown sticker gun. Or shop for some of your candy, especially suckers and jelly beans, at the dollar store. You can also use an app like Favado to help you scour for coupons and the best deals.
Since there’s probably no sugar shortage on Easter weekend, make your candy go the extra mile by using it for ingredients in one of these sweet, under $10 treats.
Budget Buster No. 2: Food
According to the National Retail Federation’s survey, 87 percent of Easter shoppers shell out for food, spending a cumulative $5.8 billion.
Instead of hosting an Easter dinner, it could be more affordable to host a brunch. (Just think, a few bucks will get you a carton of eggs, which you can use to make a strata or casserole.) Here’s an easy way you can host a three-course brunch.
If you are hosting a meal, take your guests up on their offers when they ask if they can bring something, or plan to do it pot luck-style.
When it comes to grocery shopping, you probably already know you can save by shopping the perimeter (you’re not paying for all that packaging and processing). But did you know it also pays to go shopping alone? Nearly 65 percent of the items that end up in our grocery cart are unplanned when we shop with others—compared to the still staggering 58 percent when we shop alone—according to research from the Marketing Science Institute.
Also, if you’re thinking about serving fruits or veggies, you can save money by shopping what’s in season. You can check out Eat the Seasons to find out what’s in season. Because Easter falls later this year, you might want to adjust your menu.
Budget Buster No. 3: Easter Baskets
From the baskets themselves to all the fillings, like the grass and candy, Easter baskets can get pricey.
Before you buy a basket, look around to see if you have anything at home you can use, like leftovers from last year or wicker baskets that could be repurposed. When it comes to the baskets themselves, re-imagine them. You can find some treats of the non-candy variety at the dollar store or in Target’s dollar bin. Toys like bubbles and chalk are bulky and take up a lot of basket space but are relatively inexpensive. Also, crackers and pretzels can be cheaper than chocolate. If you need some inspiration, you can find gift basket ideas for every age that are all under $20. Or, for your pint-sized Picassos, you can print out “Easter printables” online instead of paying for coloring books. (You can find dozens of them by doing a quick Google search.)
Budget Buster No. 4: Easter Decor
Springtime table settings and decor purchased in the pursuit of creating a Pinterest-perfect home can tack on lots of added costs.
DIY your decor! Instead of going to an expensive home store for festive centerpieces, you can create your own with these tutorials that use everything from carrots to Peeps. And instead of paying a premium for spring bouquets, you can have fun turning coffee filters into floral arrangements with these easy instructions.
You can also find festive decor and napkins at discount stores, like T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods or dollar stores.
Budget Buster No. 5: Greeting Cards
Almost half of Americans celebrating Easter purchase greeting cards. If you fall into this card-buying category, you probably know that cards can cost in the $5 range.
Check out the dollar store, where you can sometimes score two-for-$1 greeting cards. Or buy a springtime value pack of blank cards and write your own Easter message. Some prompts: “Somebunny loves you” or “Hoppy Easter!”
[h/t: The Penny Hoarder]