When April showers bring May flowers, and as the dreams of a warm summer come into view on the horizon, we stop to enjoy an Easter holiday. Trying to manage your Easter holiday on a budget can be rather tricky.
This is a day where kids roam fields in nicely dressed attire, finding the eggs left behind by a rabbit. Candy and chocolate filled baskets are present and memories are made around the dinner table. It can easily become an expensive Easter Sunday if you don't plan a budget and adhere to it.
In this post, we are going to cover:
- Why people celebrate Easter
- The bare basics for an Easter celebration
- How to make an Easter budget
- How to save money on Easter outfits, baskets, photos, egg hunts, dinner, decor and more!
- Family friendly frugal crafts and activities
- Other ways to make the day special without costing a fortune
- Why People Celebrate Easter
- Basic Ways to Celebrate Easter
- Make an Easter Budget
- How to Determine Your Easter Spending Limit
- Saving Money On a New Easter Outfit
- Budget-Friendly Easter Photos
- Easter Basket Ideas On a Budget
- Cheap Easter Egg Filler Ideas
- How to Decorate for Easter on a Budget
- Affordable Easter Dinner Ideas
- Frugal Easter Gifts and Crafts
- Frugal Easter Crafts and Activities for Kids:
Why People Celebrate Easter
While Christian people celebrate Easter as a religious remembrance of Jesus and his resurrection, the holiday originally started as a Pagan one to celebrate the goddess of rebirth. Easter eggs and bunnies are a symbol of fertility.
Today Easter is a mash-up of religions and could honestly be one of the coolest things accidentally created.
While you don't have to be religious to celebrate Easter, there are several factors that seem to be reoccurring themes with celebrating the day. Things that you can expect to see every year no matter which day the holiday falls upon.
Basic Ways to Celebrate Easter
- Wear a nice new outfit
- Go to church on Easter morning
- Wake up to filled Easter baskets
- Use food coloring to dye Easter eggs
- Decorate with some Easter decor
- Host or attend a large family dinner
- Have an Easter egg hunt
Using this list as a guide, I'm going to share some great money-saving tips so you can celebrate Easter on any budget!
Make an Easter Budget
Similar to my post about making and staying on budget for the holidays, we are going to determine what to do for THIS holiday. Christmas time can be hard when Santa is broke, but what if the Easter bunny doesn't have a solid cash flow or a sinking fund in place to cover the customary expenses?
This can be especially hard to come up with budget-friendly ideas when you have a limited or low income or just paid money to taxes. Tax season falls just before Easter, and sometimes it just makes the holiday that much more difficult to account for.
So what do we do if the Easter bunny can't cash in those golden eggs and we are scraping together pennies and loose change to give our kids a day to remember?
We have to determine how much money we have to spend, and how to spend it.
To help with the flow of this post, I am going to assume that there was no sinking fund in place, and you are left with only the money you can squeeze out of your monthly budget to make it happen.
If your budget is by doing the half paycheck method, you may be in the same sort of bind as someone who budgets monthly. So you may wish to keep reading as well.
If you already know how much money you have to spend, that's great! You're already a step ahead of a lot of other people.
How to Determine Your Easter Spending Limit
Take the money in your pockets and bank account and add them up. Will you have any more income between now and Easter?
Take that number and subtract all your bills that need to be paid, including auto withdrawals and subscriptions. Then ask yourself:
- How much is left?
- What does this amount of money still need to cover?
- Do you still need to buy groceries or gas?
- How long do you need to make this money stretch?
- How much money can you comfortably use without sacrificing needs or going into debt?
You should have a number now. This is your set Easter budget. From this, we will try to make all of your traditions happen as best as humanly possible.
Saving Money On a New Easter Outfit
While the tradition might have started out as dressing nicely to church on Easter Sunday, it has since progressed to buying a new outfit and possibly having professional photos taken.
Little girl's dresses and boy-sized suits going on sale this shopping season are a pretty typical clue that Easter is upon us. A lot of families use this as an
Buy a new outfit AFTER the season
This won't help you for this year, but it very well could help you with next year's Easter celebration.
Consider setting aside a plastic tote, and purchasing clothes as they go on discount after the holiday seasons are over and prices are marked down to 50%-75% off retail.
Unless your child is a baby or growth spurting toddler, there's a good chance their clothing sizes won't change too drastically between now and next year.
By doing this, you save money without trying and are always prepared.
Buy used clothes
By now it's not a surprise that I love to shop for used clothes. I save thousands of dollars a year by doing this, so of course, I have to mention it here!
You can purchase used clothes in person at any of these typical places:
- A consignment shop
- Salvation Army
- Facebook Marketplace
- Garage Sales or yard sales
- Your friends
Get FREE clothes
If you're lucky enough to have a big family full of kids, you could probably get away with hand-me-downs between them all. This can keep you from spending any money and give them the enjoyment of still having something "new to them."
Not everyone has a larger family though, so another option can simply be asking your friends, neighbors, or local buy-nothing Facebook groups. These are all great ways to get new outfits or accessories for free.
Asking to borrow something for the day is another option that comes pretty easily. As is going through every piece of clothing in your home and trying to piece together a unique outfit.
Budget-Friendly Easter Photos
Getting photos of our kids with Santa and the Easter bunny are two time-honored traditions. Not only does it give us a mile marker to look back on, seeing how our kids have grown, but it also looks nice in a scrapbook.
I enjoy mailing copies to long-distance relatives because they are quite possibly the nicest photos I will have of my kid all year.
Not everyone holds the skills or tools to take a professional-looking photo themselves, but if they did- that would no doubt be the cheapest route to take for a budget-friendly Easter photo.
Places to look for FREE photos with the Easter bunny:
Free photos are great ways to get a nice picture of your kid (or pets.) But sometimes, the locations offering free photos either don't have any time slots that work with our own schedules or aren't in our areas.
This is when we look for other frugal ways to get a professional photo with the Easter Bunny.
Places with Easter bunny photos that cost money:
- Your local mall
- Local church or community centers may have a breakfast with the Easter bunny where you get free photos with the purchase of a meal.
Do a Google search for your local Easter Bunny events and you can usually yield news reports featuring some great activities worth attending that don't break the bank!
Easter Basket Ideas On a Budget
If you have kids, Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts are probably the 2 most important traditions on your list to uphold. After all, the kids expect these things and look forward to them.
Per-made Easter baskets at the store cost a fortune for so little product. You mostly pay for the flimsy basket and the trash holding everything up.
The only good thing these pre-made Easter baskets have going for them is that if they contain candy or food- you can pay for them using food stamps (EBT).
This can help low-income families when there is no cash money to spare. But it may not help everyone.
Making and assembling your own Easter baskets is a great way to not only save money but also cut down on trash waste. You can also keep a minimalist approach to the toys or keep out anything you don't want your kids to have such as too much sugar or a food allergen.
A great in-person way to shop for budget-friendly Easter basket fillers is by utilizing your local Dollar Store!
This mom created 2 jam-packed baskets for $25. You don't need to add nearly as much stuff to your baskets if it isn't in your budget. The best part is you can customize them to your kids, and no one knows your kids better than you!
If you shop early enough you can order your basket fillers online using websites such as Five Below, where everything is cheap and amazing. This is a website I have used for years and during Christmas time, it helps me stay on budget with my stocking stuffers.
Their products change often and while some of it looks like things you'd find at your typical dollar store, it is a gold mine full of content worth browsing.
If you need more suggestions and ideas, try looking at these $10 and under non-candy Easter basket fillers and ideas!
Cheap Easter Egg Filler Ideas
While you can choose to hunt for real, boiled, and dyed Easter eggs, I have personally always been afraid of the fear factor they impose.
Forgetting even 1 egg could have you wishing you were nose-less like Lord Voldemort or that you kept extra clothespins in your pocket.
So if you're like me, and not willing to take chances on real eggs, you can always look for plastic eggs. This means that now you're looking for cheap Easter egg fillers for plastic eggs.
So here's a couple of frugal egg filling ideas that can help you out:
- 1 piece of candy per egg (Note: you want the candy individually wrapped! Or else you risk ants.) *Insert Archer reference "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."
- 1 puzzle piece per egg. Having done this with my kids, I recommend numbering the back of each piece so it's easier to know if they've all been found. Dollar stores have puzzles, and plastic eggs- so this could cost you 2-$5 for the entire event
- Put coins in the eggs. Not the greatest idea if you have smaller kids since they tend to put everything in their mouths, but for older children, this could be a great idea.
- Stickers or novelty toys. These can be pennies each and no doubt brings your children delight to play with, but as a parent... it's not something I would choose. Novelty toys don't last long, stickers are pretty much a one time use and always get on something you don't want them covering.
Need any ideas on where you can hide Easter eggs? Check out this great list of suggestions!
More Ways to Cut Costs on the Egg Hunts:
Reuse the same plastic eggs every year. Plastic eggs don't cost very much, but not needing to re-buy them every year can help save you money. Plus, it's less plastic getting thrown away and that can be a good thing for the environment too!
Skip the egg hunt at home and look for free local community events to participate in! There are tons of churches in every town or city, plus businesses wanting to give back to the community, chances are that you can find any number of free egg hunts you can go to. The hardest part will be choosing which one works best for your schedule.
How to Decorate for Easter on a Budget
Decorating for Easter is probably the easiest "major" holidays to decorate for, and that's only if you choose to decorate it at all! Most people don't do anything more than stick a bouquet of fresh flowers on the table Easter morning and call it good.
For the sake of our budgets, we're going to take the minimalist approach to Easter decor. A few fresh picked flowers from outside or Easter themed paper plates from the dollar store.
If you look around your home, you may get lucky and find some creative DIY crafts and projects to make decor out of using recycled items. A candle holder, like this one, can be made using a glass jar!
Affordable Easter Dinner Ideas
Easter dinner is sometimes treated like a springtime Thanksgiving. A feast that's full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole cooked ham, or other side dishes.
If you are only feeding yourself or a small family, small batch cooking can be a cost-effective and frugal way to celebrate without missing out on the feast.
If you choose to cook up a ham, consider saving money on meat by buying a bone-in ham piece instead of a spiral cut or fancier ham. This also lets you enjoy the ham bone in a soup after Easter has passed.
Frugal Side Dishes:
- Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- Creamy Garlic Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Orange Fluff Salad
- Roasted Green Beans with Garlic and Parmesan
- Maple Dijon Roasted Rainbow Carrots
By looking at what money you have in your grocery budget, you may be able to squeeze out a meal plan that includes Easter so you don't need to set aside anything extra to pay for this meal.
[Easter Dinner Challenge:] Try finding as many dishes as you can with just the ingredients in your home.
Frugal Easter Gifts and Crafts
I know that a lot of people enjoy the idea of giving out gifts to family, friends,
Some cheap Easter gifts include:
- DIY bookmarks like these felt ones
- Tiny personalized Easter baskets like these, make cute gifts for teachers
- Buying a bulk pack of chalk, and gifting them out individually with a personalized tag could be the cheapest gift idea ever with chalk pieces under $0.20 each!
Frugal Easter Crafts and Activities for Kids:
Kids love craft projects and can entertain themselves for hours if you'd let them. Even if it's as simple as printing off a coloring sheet or free Easter themed word search.
Crafts don't have to cost a fortune to make either! A lot can be made with something as basic as a newspaper. Newspapers or similar papers are often mailed and delivered to you at no cost! Or you can always find someone trying to get rid of them for free.
Another great idea for kid activities on Easter includes minute to win it games! By using random objects around your house and your own creativity, you can make some fun games for your whole family to enjoy! The Winner can get an extra piece of dessert.
Other ways you can make Easter special without costing a fortune:
- Make a special Easter egg lunch for your kid that they won't forget!
- Have the Easter bunny write a personalized note to the kids.
- Have a scavenger hunt to find the Easter baskets, with clues hidden around the house.
- Leave a trail of bunny footprints for the kids, as proof that the bunny was there.
- Visit family, like the grandparents.
- Have a nice breakfast Easter morning after the baskets but before the egg hunt, to help stretch the day out longer.
- Enjoy some family-friendly movies while relaxing with the kids. Two good movie options include watching Hop with James Marsden or watching any version of Peter Rabbit.
Easter doesn't have to cost a fortune to be made special. Even the tiniest of budgets can pull something off. The most important thing to remember is that Easter is a magical experience for the kids. As long as you remain optimistic and creative, you can make a day worth remembering.
What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Easter?