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5 Frugal Tips for Easter on a Budget

Consumers are poised to spend over $20 billion celebrating this year

woman paints easter eggs while a bulldog in a bunny hat watches

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Americans are expected to spend $20.8 billion on Easter candy, baskets, food and decorations this year. But their money isn’t going to go as far as years past, with prices for everything from food to gas soaring. So, it’s no surprise that finding ways to save is a big focus of Easter 2022, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).​

• The federation asked consumers about their Easter spending plans: ​42 percent indicated they would shop at another retailer to find a cheaper price.​

• 31 percent said they would seek an alternative brand or color to save.​

• And, similar to last year, half of those polled said they plan to shop at discount stores to stretch their dollars. ​

​“Inflation has been impacting some categories, particularly around food and groceries and gas and energy,” says Katherine Cullen, NRF senior director of industry and consumer insights. “Still we’re seeing people are looking forward to celebrating in person.” Of the consumers surveyed, 51 percent said they were planning in-person events, up from 43 percent in 2021. Food is predicted to be the largest spending category, followed by gifts and clothing. Unfortunately, those categories are seeing large surges in prices. Still, there are ways to save — including the following. ​

​Go bulk on candy, foods​

​Whether you are hosting brunch or have several grandkids you want to spoil, hitting the warehouse stores such as BJ’s or Costco can be a great way to save. These retailers sell big bags of candy and Easter treats that can be broken up and shared across multiple kids. The bulk candy is also great to fill eggs for an Easter egg hunt. The same goes for food. “If you are serving eight or 10 people, it's much cheaper buying in bulk than buying at your local grocery store,” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at​

​Buying in bulk works only if you plan to use the entire bag of candy or the huge ham you purchased. If it ends up in the trash, it's a waste of money. ​

​Don’t go overboard ​

​It's understandable you want to spoil the grandkids, adorning them with lavish Easter baskets teeming with candy and other holiday treats. There’s a reason the nation is projected to spend $20.8 billion on Easter alone. A big way to save is to break that mold and rein in some of the spending and spoiling. Your grandkids don’t need it, and if it's too much it could end up being tossed, anyway. “Don’t go the typical Easter basket route and pack it with tons of sweets and things kids don’t need,” says Bodge. A box of chocolates or a gift card is a great way to celebrate with your grandkids without breaking the bank. ​

​Host a potluck​

​Easter brunch, lunch and dinner are a big deal for many American households, but feeding the family can get pricey. That’s particularly true with inflation at a 40-year high. To save on the Easter meal, money-savings expert Andrea Woroch suggests making it a potluck. Assigning a dish, appetizer, drink or dessert to each guest will save you money and create a fun way to combine traditions. If a potluck isn’t an option, Woroch says to track sales at your local grocery stores to make sure you are getting the best deal on food. Many supermarkets offer percentage discounts off your entire bill if you spend a certain amount, which can increase your savings further. ​

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​If you are dining out, you may not find as many discounts since it's a popular holiday for restaurants. Either way, Bodge says to use a credit card that rewards you for food purchases to maximize your savings. “With my American Express I get four times points for food purchases,” says Bodge. “It's worth checking which one does the best for food.” 

​Reuse something in your closet ​

​Easter dresses, suits and hats are a staple of the holiday for some families. But buying a new Easter outfit can be expensive in the current environment. To save, experts say to give your closet another look before spending on an outfit. Borrowing from friends or family is another option. You’ll have something new to wear without the cost. There are also several websites that sell used clothing on the cheap. You can get designer duds for the fraction of the cost. Woroch says she recently sold an $80 item with the tags still on for $8 on one of these used-clothing websites.​

​Shop the discount stores ​

​If you can’t help yourself and you plan to spoil your grandkids or have a neighborhood egg hunt in your backyard, then it behooves you to shop at discount and dollar stores. Sure, you may still spend more than a year ago for a bag of candy — but it's going to be a lot cheaper than a drugstore or supermarket. “We are seeing a lot of discount options,” says Cullen. “The dollar stores have great candy and Easter items for those looking to save money. People want to make things special for grandkids; between discount stores and Easter sales and promotions, there are ways to create the Easter you want while saving money.”​

Donna Fuscaldo is a contributing writer and editor focusing on personal finance and health. She has spent over two decades writing and covering news for several national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Investopedia and HerMoney.​

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