Monday, March 25, 2013

Saving - Easter Baskets & Filler Ideas On A Budget!

Buckets from Dollar Tree decorated
The article below was originally written by me for my MOPS group newsletter.  If you are still looking for ways to save on your Easter goodies, here are a few ideas.

Non-Candy Egg Fillers:
Also, check out this article from last year and this article from a couple years ago to see non-candy egg filler ideas!  Another idea we are doing this year is to put papers valid for one "free" app for their Kindles!  They are always begging, so here is their chance. 

Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.

Fill Your “Basket” For Less

With Easter just around the corner, we are in full swing of planning family get-togethers, gearing up for Easter egg dying and so many more fun things that come with this blessed holiday!

There are several opportunities to be thrifty at Easter.  Do you get tired of purchasing a new basket each year only for you to have to turn around and find a way to get rid of it later?  Part of being thrifty is thinking ahead about how you can repurpose something.  This will help your bucks go further.  Why spend $8-$12 on a basket you will never use again when you can spend the same or even less on something you can put to use throughout the year?

Combine a few of the suggestions below with your Easter shopping and you will reap savings rewards!  You may incur more cost now; however by planning for items that have a practical use you will save money on what would have been future expenses.

*Look for a container to use in place of a basket that you can see another purpose for!  For example:  If you buy a sand pail with a shovel, you could simply put your normal goodies inside and the pail becomes part of the gift.  They can later use the pail at the beach, at the park or even in your own backyard picking up sticks and bugs!  You can often times find the pails at the Dollar Tree or other dollar stores.  Add a fun bow to it if you want to make it more festive!  Some other container ideas:

- Large Popcorn Bowl found at a dollar store (nice for the older kids too), consider filling it with things like popcorn, movies, movie rental certificate, movie theatre tickets, etc.

- Containers decorated with character templates found on the Internet.  I did something like this for my son’s Angry Birds themed birthday party.  Simply Google the template you are looking for, print, cut and paste/tape it on to a coordinating container (I grabbed mine at a dollar store).  The kids love it!  And you have a fun and festive container to use in place of a basket.

- Watering cans make a fun and cute “basket” too!  My kids love to help me in the yard so having their own watering can would be so much fun.  Or you can buy a large watering can to fill and then have your child decorate it for you sometime after Easter!  They will find joy each time Mommy uses the watering can!

- Large Bowls that can be used for other purposes.

- Small laundry baskets.

- Upcycle an empty ice cream bucket.  Use nail polish remover to clean off the writing on the bucket.  Decorate with a ribbon or start a new tradition that your kids decorate their own bucket and set it out the night before!  If you don’t eat ice cream by the bucket full, ask your friends and family for their empty buckets!

Basket Fillers
*When it comes to filling your “baskets”, it helps to plan ahead and consider things that the child may need now or in the near future.  Consider sporting activities they will be in, activities you do on a daily/weekly basis and growth spurts!  By adding items that will fill these needs, you will avoid the additional expense in the future.  Here are a few ideas.

- Socks & Underwear – most kids need or will shortly need these items.  Pick fun patterns or characters to help make them more exciting when receiving them! (Update: Great clearance on boys and girls undies at Target!  Many packages less than $2.50!)

- Hand soap and hand sanitizer come in fun containers, including popular characters.  Imagine how excited your little one will feel about washing their hands with the special hand soap they received in their Easter basket!

- Band-aids make great gifts!  My kids love receiving character band-aids to stash away for those minor bumps and bruises they like to request band-aids for!

- Bubble bath and bath soap

- Toothbrushes and toothpaste!

- Glue, tape, paper or other things that will be used at art time

- Movie rental certificates, if you already have a weekly or bi-weekly family movie night, why not add a voucher for a movie rental!  Consider other family habits you have such as heading to McDonalds or Cherry Berry.  If you set aside a time for this, why not add a gift certificate to the basket as well!

- Homemade coupons for special outings like a trip to the park of their choosing.

- Bubbles.  We go through so many; it is a sure win in their baskets each year.

- Bypass the candy and include their favorite snacks or breakfast foods.  For example, my kids love the mini muffins that come prepackaged.  We don’t get these very often, however they would be excited to receive them in their basket and you can check breakfast off your grocery shopping list!

- Books cannot be left off the list.  Picking out a great book or two for the basket will reap rewards the whole year through.

Easter Egg Fillers
*Another great way to save at Easter is to fill Easter eggs with items that have a greater purpose than just candy.  I cannot tell you how much candy gets thrown out/donated at my house following holidays like Valentines and Easter.  Some non-candy ideas to fill your eggs:

            - Undies for the smaller kids can easily roll up and squeeze inside the eggs.

            - Hair clips, barrettes and ponytail holders.

            - Stickers, simply cut apart sheets of stickers into one or 2 to add to each egg.

            - Chuck E Cheese tokens (I snag some from our leftover stash- seriously!).

            - Coins that they can add to their piggy bank!

            - Favorite snacks (Fruit snacks, animal crackers, goldfish, yogurt covered raisins)

            - Lip balms/chapstick

            - Legos

            - Fishing lures

            - Hot wheels

            - Barbie outfits

            - Necklace

            - Earings

            - Puzzle pieces (add one or 2 to each egg to add up to the whole puzzle)!

            - Homemade coupons

Note:  You may be surprised to know that many items suggested above can be found at the Dollar Tree for $1!  Things from character hand soaps and hand sanitizers, Barbie and super-hero band-aids, watering cans, character toothbrushes, etc!

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