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How to Avoid Cracking Your Financial Egg This Easter

David Bakke

Easter is big business in the United States, accounting for almost $17 billion in spending annually. By following these tips, you can save money without hindering your Easter celebration:

1. Buy inexpensive decorations. Your kids are not likely to notice whether you spent $15 or $50 on holiday decor. Most items, such as plates, plastic eggs, baskets, tablecloths and cutlery, can be purchased at your local dollar store.

2. Save on treats. Chocolate bunnies and cream-filled eggs are always a hit, but if you're willing to get creative, you can save money and do good for your children's health. Instead of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks, pack Easter baskets with healthier treats. Fresh fruits and chocolate-covered raisins will satisfy your child's sweet tooth. Also, include a few cheap toys that will be appreciated long after the treats are gone; sidewalk chalk, activity books, and bubbles fit the bill.

3. Make DIY Easter eggs. Instead of purchasing egg-dying kits, make your own egg dye. You'll need to mix one teaspoon of white vinegar with one cup of hot water, then add drops of food coloring until you reach the desired hue. You can make your own egg dipper by bending the end of a long piece of wire with a small pair of pliers in an octagonal shape that fits around an egg. Then, bend the remaining length of wire in a 90-degree angle to the octagon to make a handle.

4. Attend a public Easter egg hunt. To eliminate the cost of having your own Easter egg hunt, attend a community event, such as one sponsored by a local church or park. Not only is your cost low or nil, but so is the effort required, as it saves you from having to hide the eggs or clean up after the hunt.

5. Save on supper Keep your menu basic but appealing, and save by using coupons, buying generic brands, cooking fresh foods instead of prepackaged and keeping desserts to a minimum. If you opt for a potluck with family and friends, you could save even more.

6. Reuse holiday supplies. Store any Easter items that aren't damaged for next year. Plastic eggs tend hold up well, and kids typically develop a sense of attachment to their Easter basket. Saving these items will make next year's Easter that much more enjoyable and affordable.

7. Shop now for next year. Once the holiday is over, visit your local retailers to pick up Easter decorations at major discounts. This is particularly helpful if you enjoy going all out, but just can't afford the pre-Easter price tag to do so.

Final thoughts. Easter is a great holiday for the whole family. However, instead of spending recklessly, devote time to determine what you'll need and how you can save money on it. As long as the events you put together are creative and exciting, your kids won't care how much money you spent.

What other ways do you save money for Easter?

David Bakke is a part of the MoneyCrashers.com team, where he writes about various tactics to save and make money, including finding the best checking account promotions and determining the right retirement options.

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