5 Ways to Fill Easter Baskets for Less

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In 2012, the National Retail Federation projected Americans would dish out an average of $145.28 for Easter, including everything from apparel and candy to food and decorations. Total spending was expected to reach $16.8 billion.

Compared to an estimated average of $750.47 for purchases made at Christmas in 2012, $145.28 may seem low. But it’s still more than you need to spend, especially when it comes to Easter baskets.

Instead of rushing out to buy overpriced gifts in the days before Easter, consider these inexpensive, but cool, ideas. And no, we’re not just talking about a trip to the dollar store!

1. Skip the big stuff

In the National Retail Federation’s 2012 report, apparel was included in the average amount spent for Easter. Keep in mind this is Easter, not Christmas, when bigger gifts are more appropriate. New clothes and iPods aren’t Easter basket staples. Instead, buy small items, such as a DVD or two, or items your kids will need for summer, like a new pair of sunglasses.

2. Make kid coupons

Don’t make this your basket’s central theme, but include some creative coupons, such as a “Take Out the Trash Pass” or a “Cook my Favorite Dinner Pass.” Even if the kids aren’t enthralled with the coupons on Easter morning, they’ll appreciate them on a summer afternoon when they’d rather spend time with their friends than do chores.

3. Bake your own gourmet treats

To save some cash on sweet treats – which are an obvious staple in any Easter basket – try baking your own goodies. We suggest bunny-shaped sugar cookies with icing, or Easy Easter Bunny Bites, found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

4. Reuse baskets

There’s no reason to buy new Easter baskets every year, especially if you already own durable baskets or buckets. After the kids finish digging through their baskets or embarking on an egg hunt, store the baskets in a plastic bin or hang them up until next year.

5. Use loose change

Have extra quarters or a few $1 bills in your wallet? Stick them in some plastic eggs. Who doesn’t love some extra money in their Easter basket? Just be sure the amount of loose change you dole out doesn’t add up to more than $10.

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