INDIANAPOLIS — Many people gather with family to celebrate Easter each year. However, like any special occasion, Easter can bring with it unexpected expenses and temptations to overspend.
On 13Sunrise and in her weekly blog, Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, shares ways to save money and keep your celebration centered and relieve the pressure from your budget so you can enjoy the experience instead of stressing out over money.
Dig through your holiday stash
Most of us have an area of our homes where we store holiday goodies from year to year. Whether it’s a half-used box of valentines or flag décor, there are items from previous seasons that can be used again and again.
If you don’t have a storage container or two like this, Cherie highly recommends starting one after this Easter. It’s time to sort through those items before you purchase anything.
Eggs, egg dying kits, baskets, grass and more might be found among items you already own, so begin by clearing through things today.
Invest in a basket to use every year
"One of the very best choices I made when our girls were little was to purchase metal Easter baskets that have withstood the test of time," Cherie said. "Our oldest daughter is 19, and her basket still looks brand new."
If you can wait until after the holiday passes, you can typically get a fantastic deal on clearance.
Find free events in the community
From egg hunts to Easter church services, you can find amazing experiences in your community that don’t cost a dime.
Check local community center websites and churches near you to look for upcoming events.
Here in the Indianapolis area, Cherie highly recommends checking out the Indy With Kids Easter Egg Hunt roundup. Locally, there are egg hunts at night, underwater, with hot air balloons and even a few featuring helicopters! You can even hunt eggs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A few years ago, Cherie's family went to a fantastic egg hunt at their local Culver’s.
Look online, and keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about for events in your community.
Think long-term when it comes to basket goodies
"Oh, how I love seasonal aisle shopping, but here’s the stark truth for those of us who adore everything bunny- or egg-shaped this time of the year: Easter baskets only last for a day," Cherie said.
And after the baskets are emptied, few people think about those specialty items again for another year. Rather than purchasing knickknacks enjoyed for a day or two, think about buying gifts designed to enjoy into the spring and summer months.
For the basket itself, consider buying one to use every year rather than collecting several and having to either store it or throw it away. Avoid fillers like Easter grass that make a mess and typically get tossed immediately.
Maximize grocery deals
Stores will be fighting for your holiday dollars over the next two weeks, which means they'll have all sorts of fantastic deals on staples used to celebrate on Easter Sunday.
If you have the budget, it’s a great week to stock up on items like eggs, ham, strawberries, oranges, asparagus and specialty breads. Remember, many items — even milk — can be frozen until you’re ready to use them.
Those low prices provide an affordable feast but can help you feed your family throughout the spring, too.
Keep your meal simple
It’s easy to get carried away with a big brunch or Easter dinner. Try not to fall into the too many side dishes or desserts trap. Focus on a main dish, a fruit, a veggie, a bread and a dessert.
Or if you’re gathering with extended family, ask others to "pitch in" and share the expense of an Easter spread.
Also, while you’re shopping, look for low prices on eggs and ham.
Skip boiling the eggs
A watched pot never boils. If you’ve struggled with getting eggs just right in the past, there are plenty of wants to hard boil eggs without the actual boiling.
You can also make them by placing the eggs in a muffin tin with crumpled aluminum foil at the bottom of each cup (this prevents the egg from getting brown spots where it touches the pan). Place a dozen eggs in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer the eggs directly into a bowl of ice water until completely cooled.
As a side note, be sure you bring your eggs to room temperature before you boil them. This will help you avoid the tragic experience of cracking and wasting eggs that need to be decorated!
And the tips don't stop there: Cherie has plenty of Easter ideas, such as Easter Brunch Ideas That Save You Money!, 7 Tips for Planning An Affordable Easter Meal, Easy Easter Egg Ideas PLUS 3 Can’t-Miss Ways to Save Money This Easter, Ways to Save on Easter Eggs and Last Minute Money-Saving Easter Ideas.