How to Fill Up Your Easter (Shopping) Basket for Less
Easter is only a few days away, and for many families that means last minute shopping for jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and enough groceries to feed a small army. Between hams, candy and all those side dishes, Easter shopping can quickly become more expensive than you planned for. But don’t worry— we know how to make your dollar go further this year. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy an Easter feast without breaking the bank.
First things first: check to see what the weekly specials are and if there are any holiday discounts. Many stores have special sales on meats and side dishes whenever a holiday is coming up, and Easter is no exception. This is undoubtedly the easiest way to save money on any holiday shopping. If there is a weekly circular or email list which announces discounts as they occur, sign up! You can subscribe to Foodtown’s weekly circular here. Just choose the location closest to you to start saving!
Most grocery stores also offer some kind of Club Card or membership tag that saves you money all the time, whether you’re doing your Easter shopping or just preparing a casual meal. Signing up for these is a no-brainer. You can get your Foodtown Club Card here.
Now, let’s get into the actual tactics of successful Easter shopping…
How many people are coming? If you are cooking for a large group, there are simple changes you can make to your shopping style that will add up to big savings. For some foods like potatoes and candy (more on candy later), buying in bulk can save a fair amount of money. This ties neatly into the next point:
Don’t think of Easter Dinner as just one big meal. If you shop wisely and plan ahead, you’ll get several days’ worth of food out of it. With many traditional Easter staples like ham, potatoes and the like, you can easily make 2 or 3 extra meals out of the leftovers. Ham sandwiches, potato casseroles, you name it.
Team up with guests. One way you can really lower costs for Easter shopping is to turn the dinner into a potluck event. Does your sister make exceptional rice and beans? That’s now her job. A cousin who makes a killer cranberry relish? Ask him to prepare a nice big bowl of it. People love a potluck dinner. It’s a great way for everyone to make their own special contribution to a holiday meal, and it can end up saving you quite a bit on Easter shopping as well.
Make your own Easter egg dye. There are lot of ready-to-use decorating kits for Easter eggs, but they can sometimes be pricey. Most people don’t know that it’s actually really easy and inexpensive to make your own dye at home that works just as well. All you need is some food coloring and regular white vinegar. Mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a cup with 1 tablespoon of food coloring (make several cups so you have different colors to choose from). Fill each cup halfway to the top with water, and you’re ready to go! It works just as well and costs pennies on the dollar compared to egg decorating kits.
A word about Easter baskets: The most important item on any Easter shopping list is the basket itself. What’s the best way to save on these? The secret is to avoid those pre-made baskets! Instead, reuse older baskets and fill them up with different eggs and candies (purchased in bulk) each year. Include maybe one or two “fancy” items in the basket to wow the kids on Easter Sunday, but generic candies and home-made colored eggs are perfectly fine to fill up the rest of it.
As far as the candy goes, it might be worth your time to head back to the store the next day. There’s often A LOT of candy leftover after Easter and it is not uncommon to see discounts of 50-75% to help get it off the shelves. Stocking up on candy and other nonperishables a year in advance is a great way to make sure you are well prepared for next Easter and all other candy-centric holidays.
Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to have an Easter that is just as enjoyable, and easier on your wallet!