Easter may not seem like a big spending holiday, but between groceries, decor and festive baskets filled with goodies for the little ones, costs can add up quickly. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend a record $18.4 billion on Easter this year, up 6% over last year.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday without blowing your budget.
Follow these tips to trim costs on your Easter festivities
Keep your menu simple
When hosting a holiday gathering, you may feel inspired to create several new dishes to impress guests, but this is a quick way to burn your time and your budget. Keep your menu simple to reduce the amount you need to prep, cook and spend. If possible, search for recipes that use overlapping ingredients to cut down on grocery purchases and reduce food waste. SuperCook.com is a great resource for finding dish ideas based on ingredients you already own to cut back on shopping.
Make it a potluck gathering
Instead of cooking every dish yourself, ask friends and family to chip in. They can bring a quiche, tray of deviled eggs or a cherry pie, for example. Not only does this reduce your workload and save you some money, but guests will enjoy tasting new recipes. The key to making a potluck successful, however, is to ask assign guests to a specific category like appetizer, side dish or dessert, assuming you provide the main course. Use a site like PerfectPotluck.com for help organizing the menu.
Opt for frozen finger foods
Cooking everything from scratch is the cheapest option when hosting any event, but not everyone has time for this! While you may have all the main dishes prepared, go with frozen finger foods for the appetizers. Bought in bulk, these are the next best option when it comes to affordability and ease of serving. Costco is a great pace to stock up on appetizers perfect for an Easter brunch—think mini quiches and stuffed mushrooms—that will wow your guests for less.
Scope out dollar store deals
Your local dollar store is a great place to pick up inexpensive serviceware live serving platters, paper plates and napkins in bright spring colors (these are typically cheaper than options adorned with festive bunnies and flowers) as well as goodies and plastic eggs to fill your kids’ Easter baskets. Just be careful not to go overboard on all those little cheap tchotchkes — you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up.
Go easy on decor
You don't have to run out and buy a bunch of decorations to spruce up your home for Easter. Keep the look simple and clean by filling a few vases with colored eggs your kids make or pick up a few inexpensive bouquets on Sunday morning from a local grocery store — a mason jar filled with hydrangeas, for example, is the perfect way to dress up your table for less. Otherwise, you can find free printables like festive signs, bunny baskets for treats, cupcake toppers and more online at sites like TheBalance.com. All you need is some paper and a printer!
Get decked out for less
Adults should have enough options in their closets to find an appropriate outfit for Easter without having to shop, but parents may need to pick up something new for their ever-growing kids. Luckily, many retailers are already beginning to discount spring merchandise and clothing, offering 20-to-30% off regular prices. Another option — scope out clearance racks at your favorite clothing stores to see if there are any appropriate options still lingering from the winter holidays for cheap.