Easter is upon us, and that means many Americans will be filling children’s baskets with candy, laying out brunch and donning dresses, suits and bonnets. Haven’t really made a plan yet? If you are among the last-minute shoppers, do not panic — that only leads to overspending. Before you run out the door to load up on goodies for the holiday, check out our list of money-saving tips:
Hey, procrastinator — you’re in luck! The early bird doesn’t get the worm in this case. The last minute is the time to get the best prices on candy. If you go to supermarkets or drugstores the day before Easter, you’ll likely find the sweet stuff on sale for 50 to 60 percent off. CVS and Walgreens are good places to start the bargain hunt.
2. Baskets and goodies for kids
Michaels and Hobby Lobby are great places to find deals on cute containers for sweet treats, as well as plastic eggs. For free Easter coloring pages and lots of ideas on crafts to make, including bath-proof bunnies, visit this Free-N-Fun Easter site of the Oriental Trading Co.
3. Community activities
Look for free Easter egg hunts, parades and other events in your city your whole family can enjoy. Write a letter to your child from the Easter Bunny, or cheat a little and download a free letter from the Easter Bunny here. You might even be able to visit the Easter Bunny in person at your local mall before the holiday for some festive fun.
Walmart and Target tend to have some of the lowest prices on fresh eggs. (Note: If you’re going to dye them and not eat them, don’t worry about buying organic eggs.)
You can find the lowest prices on Easter egg dye kits at the last minute from Walgreen’s and CVS when you buy your candy. Or make natural egg dye using ingredients you very well may have in your cupboard already: white vinegar and dyeing agents including red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins and coffee. To get started, check out this guide from TheKitchn.
If you want to skip eggs, try hiding dimes or pennies to create a “penny hunt” for your children. Or do a treasure hunt, in which kids have to answer questions or riddles related to Easter.
5. Easter duds
Visit big retailers including JCPenney, Kohl’s and Macy’s for the best prices. You’ll find lots of sales on women’s and girls dresses, men’s suits and boys dress shirts and pants. If it’s still cold where you live, you can catch sales on winter clothes that will work for Easter events.
You can save even more money by shopping for gently used clothes — or that one-time-use Easter bonnet you seek — at your local Goodwill store or other second-hand shops. For more ideas about saving on clothes, check out “12 Ways to Get Clothes at a Deep Discount.”
6. Easter dinner or brunch
Don’t try to be a hero. Ask friends and family members coming to your home to bring a side dish. For the food you want to cook, if you have a big group coming over, visit Costco to buy produce, rolls and other foods sold in bulk.
For those who want to bake their own cakes or pies, use generic brands for sugar and flour.
See what’s on sale and design your recipes around those ingredients.
7. Home decor
Need some more lawn chairs or another table to accommodate guests? Or just want to spruce up your furniture for the friends and relatives visiting on Easter?
If you want to buy something new, try T.J. Maxx and Home Goods for deals.
If you have time, definitely check out Craigslist for furniture and home-decor items: Perusing the “furniture” and “household items” sections for your area is easier and often cheaper than schlepping to garage sales.
For oodles of fun, inexpensive ways to decorate your home for the holiday, visit Pinterest. Granted, some of these ideas will not be doable at the last minute, but many are simple and ingenious. You can get your children involved in making table name plates and centerpieces, flower-pot decorations, candy holders and Easter wreaths.
To check out more discounts on Easter-related items, including flowers, clothes, shoes and baskets, visit Coupons.com.
Do you have money-saving tricks and tips for Easter celebrations? Share them with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.