Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Budget-Friendly Easter Ideas

UPDATE 3/9/12: When you're done here, check out How to Pack a Low-Sugar Easter Basket!

I wrote about our switch to a cash based budget last month, and it surprises me how my spending habits have changed after just one month. I thought I was thrifty and frugal before, but now that I am forking over actual cash money for each purchase, I have really started thinking hard about each purchase.I know I am not alone in this. Many of us are feeling the pinch of higher gas prices and higher food costs. So here are a few budget-friendly tips for enjoying the Easter holiday.

$3.40 DIY Easter Wreath
Be a Planner - One of the things I like to do for any holiday is starting thinking, planning, and scoping out the thrift stores about a month in advance. Last minute preparations always cost me more. If you are on a small budget, planning can make 50 cents do a dollar's worth of work!

Budget and  Set Boundaries- this is especially important if you tend to go overboard. I buy in early in the season and then end up going overboard right at the end when I get caught up in the flurry of sale signs. My biggest ground rule this year: If you wouldn't pay full price, don't buy it. I tend to get sucked in by the red clearance stickers the week after a holiday so I might have this tattooed on my wallet. 

Homemade flower decorations for the nature table
Read - Look at your bookshelves and set any Spring or Easter themed books in a special place. I set ours next to the nature display. Books that we have had for a year or more are starting to get looked at over and over. Yay! I am planning to visit the library and pick out a few books about Spring and planting. We will also be talking about Jesus, the crucifixion, and the resurrection quite a bit. I prefer to emphasize the changing seasons and the Resurrection over the Easter bunny.

Use and Reuse - Make a box to store all your holiday things in, so that they are protected and easy to find in the future. If you don't have much to reuse from previous holidays, visit the thrift shop and the dollar store. Look for thing that are durable enough to last you 5 years or more. That means avoid the 3-D tissue paper bunny at the dollar store. They are flimsy and even with exceptional care, he would start to look shabby after only a season or two. Now, if you found an older one from the 50s or 60s at the thrift shop, that would probably be a really great piece to have. The old ones are durable and will last a long time with proper care.

Re-purpose - Re-purposing can be as simple as saving your spaghetti sauce jar and arranging a few flowers or tree branches in it. Have your kids paint some stones and arrange them around the jar, or make ornaments to hang on the branches. Next I want to dig out some fabric scraps and make some faeries like these

Spring has come to our nature table!
DIY - Decorate thrift shop baskets with fake flowers (or real ones), ribbon or paints. Choose sturdy baskets and use them every year. Blow up some small balloons and make paper mache eggs to fill a small basket or homemade nest of twigs and woven grass. Last night I made a wreath for our door with some thrift shop plastic eggs ($1.40), a wreath frame ($1), some ribbon ($1) and hot glue. When Jack saw it today he sucked in a huge breath of air and was silent for a whole minute, he loved it so much.

Let God Decorate - Cut some branches and decorate with the DIY ornaments described in this post. Go on a nature walk and let your kids bring home whatever they find - rocks, sticks, moss, flowers, dig up a dandylion and plant it in a decorated tin can. Let the kids wash the rocks and display them in a basket or bowl (might I suggest wooden or metal enamel for this). Choose a place to make a nature display. Try not to sigh if your son wants to include chunks of asphalt and pieces of someone's tail light (yes, both are in the blue tray right now).

I hope those tips were helpful to you. Later this week (tomorrow if I get the laundry done) I will be writing about how to pack a low-sugar Easter basket. Please subscribe so you can get my updates! UPDATE: Here's the link!

 Thanks for stopping by! Sorry about the mess!
This post is shared with: The Pennywise Platter hosted by the Nourishing Gourmet.; Simple Lives Thursday #86 at GNOWFGLINS ;

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