A Memorable Easter

Easter has always been the biggest holiday, other than Christmas, in our family. When I was younger, I would  awake to a huge Easter basket full of candy and goodies. I remember that, until I was a teenager,  I would always get a Barbie doll, a movie, and a big chocolate bunny, along with numerous other trinkets. After going through our Easter Baskets, the egg hunts would begin. Inside the house we would find plastic eggs filled with candy, and then we would head outside to find the hard boiled eggs that we had colored a few days before. I was lucky – I had an amazing mom who always made sure that our holidays were memorable.

Until recently, I had no idea how hard my mom had to work to make sure that we had such wonderful holidays. Until about two years ago, I was able to purchase everything I needed and most of what we wanted. I had a decent paying job and, even though I had been hurt at work and was receiving less than what we were used to, we were doing alright. I easily made Christmas, Easter, and birthdays extra special for my little girl. Then workers’ comp stopped paying me, even though I was not better. Disability was a joke and, honestly, if I didn’t live at home with my parents, I would have been on the streets. I went from saving money for week long trips to Disneyland on our birthdays (which were always paid in cash, never credit) to scrimping and saving just to put an Easter basket together for my little one who still believes in the Easter Bunny.

That is when I had to get creative. I had to stretch my dollars a lot further and count my pennies. Here are a few of the ways that I was able to save money on Easter.

  1. I saved a little bit of money from each check. Just putting away 5 to 10 dollars each pay day for a few months gave me plenty of money to cover everything I needed.
  2. Reusing baskets. Baskets can be a big part of the expense when it comes to Easter, we reuse the same baskets each year. We also check out the clearance section at the end of the season to see if there are any great deals.
  3. Shop after holiday clearances. While some merchandise is obviously designed for Valentines or Saint Patrick’s Day, a lot of unique items are not. Often I am able to find things like lip gloss, lotions, hair clips, cards, and small toys that will work great in her basket for 50 to 75% off after other holidays. If I don’t use them for Easter they can always go in the stocking at Christmas.
  4. Don’t buy holiday candy. I used to always buy the cute pastel wrapped candy, but often that same candy in normal wrapping is a lot cheaper. This isn’t always the case, so price it out and see which one is the better deal.
  5. Shop in aisles other than the Easter aisles.  This goes along with number 4. Stores want you to fill your basket with the seasonal items. They even go so far as to color coordinate everything so that you grab all of the “purple” items for your little girl and all of the “blue” items for your little boy. Take a look at other areas of the store like the toy department, stationary department, and especially the art and craft department. Depending on your child, a few inexpensive items from one of those areas may make them happier than the items on the Easter aisle. Be on the lookout for clearance sections too! Don’t forget to shop at the 99 cent and dollar stores too.
  6. Use the cheapest egg dye you can find. Skip the fancy dyes and go for the cheap stuff; then use your own crayons, stickers, and glitter to spice them up. Not getting the color you want with the cheaper dye? Try letting the eggs sit longer or add a little food coloring to the mix. You can also paint the eggs or use markers and crayons to color them.
  7. Be creative when filling plastic eggs. Eggs can be filled with so many things. You can get a small puzzle from the dollar store and put a few pieces in each one, fill a few with pennies, stickers, erasers, fruit snacks, pretzels, marshmallows, beads. The ideas are endless. Candy is fun too but, instead of getting expensive candy, buy a few individual bags of m&ms, or Skittles. One bag can fill about 5 small eggs.
  8. Think Simple. A big basket is nice, but a thoughtful basket full of love is even better.

Easter is about way more than egg hunts and chocolate bunnies; but I feel that traditions are important. This year, money is tighter than ever. I still am not getting paid at all while I wait patiently, or maybe not so patiently, for my lawyer to get things worked out. I am extremely thankful that I was able to put a small amount away from my tax return for Easter. This year’s basket won’t be as big, but it will be full of love. It is my hope that my little girl will never have to know how hard I have to work to make her holidays memorable, that she can keep her innocence about her for at least one more year, and continue to believe in holiday magic.

I hope these tips are able to help you to make your Easter brighter for your little ones. From our family to yours, Happy Easter!

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