If you look forward to giving Easter baskets to your children each year but don't enjoy the high price of expensive pre-made baskets, here are some simple ideas for saving money on this fun holiday tradition. Like anything else you buy, it helps to set a spending limit - maybe $5 per Easter basket. Then have fun being creative and trying to keep within your basket budget.
Our family usually reserves Easter baskets and Easter Egg Hunts for the Saturday just before Easter - saving Sunday for church and family celebrations.
I try to shop for Easter basket fillers in advance (I use the same principle for Christmas stocking stuffers, too). You can keep a basket in the corner of a closet for storing these types of items found throughout the year. Keep an eye out for small games and toys in clearance bins at the grocery store, at dollar stores, and during any stops to thrift stores or yard sales.
In the days immediately following Halloween, bags of candy often go on sale for half price (or less), so I'll sometimes purchase several bags of family favorites and stick them in the freezer. Frozen candy will keep quite nicely until Easter.
Small, fun items that you'll probably need to purchase for your children during the course of the year can be saved to include in their Easter baskets: crayons, felt pens, glue stick, glitter glue, novelty toothbrushes, fun-flavored toothpastes, hair ribbons, barrettes, a new hair brush, bubble bath in fun containers.
Ideas for the Basket Itself:
* Wicker baskets can be reused year after year (a nice tradition in itself). These can be used other times during the year for decoration or for storing small items. You can also reuse the decorative grass from year to year.
* Paper bags decorated with bunnies, eggs, flowers, etc.
* Easter bonnets. If you're going to be purchasing an Easter bonnet for your daughter, turn it upside down and fill with goodies.
* Inexpensive colorful plastic sand pails. Include a shovel and sand mold.
* Plastic mesh storage containers. Reuse to store toys, games, socks, childhood treasures, etc. Lunch box.
* New novelty pillowcase.
* Flower pot (fill w/packet of seeds, soil, drainage rocks, gardening gloves, instructions for growing their own Spring flowers).
* For older kids/teens, try a make-up container (including sample sizes of soap, perfume, lip gloss, nail polish, etc.), a fishing tackle box (include a few lures), a personal popcorn bowl (containing a bag of gourmet popcorn), or a new purse.
* For teenagers or grown children, try a grocery bag filled with their favorite foods.
* Plastic eggs can be reused every year. Fill with jelly beans or small plastic toys of interest to the child. Bags full of fake bugs, dinosaurs, etc., can often be found at dollar stores for under a $1 per bag.
* Homemade candy and treats.
* Homemade frosted Easter-shaped cookies individually wrapped. You can also make cookie lollipops by adding a lollipop or ice cream stick before baking.
* Crispy Rice Treats or Popcorn Balls colored with pastel food coloring and shaped like eggs.
* Sidewalk Chalk Eggs: Mix 1 cup plaster, 1/2 cup water and several drops food coloring. Pour mixture into empty egg carton sections. When dry, peel away the carton and hot glue two sections together at the center to form a complete egg.
* Toys from fast food children's meals can be found in "like new" condition at thrift stores and yard sales for $0.25 or less.
* Rubber stamps and stamp pads.
* Homemade play dough.
* Small bag of potato chips.
* A jump rope.
* A frisbee.
* Fancy shoelaces.
* Stationary, note cards, envelopes, stamps.
* Coloring books or coloring sheets. Find some simple Easter related clip-art and print the picture out in black and white for homemade coloring sheets, or print out several and staple them together for a custom made coloring book.
* Audio tapes you've made of yourself reading their favorite books aloud. Be sure to include a signal for them to turn the page if they'll be reading along with you.
* Look for small Dover Books at your local bookstore. These books are high quality and usually under $1 each. They have paper dolls, holiday activity books, coloring books, etc.
About the Author:
Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer and mother of three) is the author of several popular books including Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity. To subscribe to her free email newsletter, Simple Times, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit Debi online and read more articles dealing with simple living, frugality, parenting and much more: http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com/
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