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Cheap Easter Basket Ideas for a "Hoppy" Easter

Easter's almost here and that means candy-filled baskets, Sunday morning service, and a nice ham dinner with family. Like any holiday, it's easy to go overboard with the spending. You want to make the most of special times like these, right? But just because you're celebrating, it doesn't mean have to take out a cash advance to throw the party. Keep your Easter spending low this year with these fun and budget-friendly ideas:

Buy Candy Last Minute

You may think you're playing it smart by picking up your Easter candy ahead of time, but the fact is, you probably should wait until the last minute. If you shopped for candy as soon as the Easter stuff hit the shelves, you definitely paid too much. It's better to grab your chocolate eggs, jelly beans and Peeps as close to Easter as possible. The ideal time to buy is the night before, which is when retailers begin deep-discounting their Easter merchandise.

The Traditional Egg Hunt

Skip the crowds and chaos of the community Easter egg hunt at the park and hold your own in the comfort of home. It's not worth the gas and hassle to attend one of these events, and many times the weather doesn't cooperate. Simply hide the eggs around the house while the kids are still asleep, then challenge them to an Easter egg hunt at home. If you have the plastic eggs, use them. It's better to hide artificial eggs in case you forget one, because nobody likes sniffing out a forgotten rotten egg a few months down the road.

Make Your Own Egg Dye

Why spend money on PAAS coloring kits when you can make your own dye at home? All you need is food coloring, water and white vinegar. Simply add a teaspoon of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring into some boiling water and presto - you have all the dye you need for a fun egg-coloring afternoon with the kids.

The Sunday Morning Outfits

You don't always have to pay the price to dress nice. Before you head to the mall, take a moment to rummage through the closet and look for something you haven't worn in a while. If nothing fits the bill, why not hit up the thrift stores for some new duds? You'd be surprised at the number of designer and brand name outfits you can find at your local Goodwill store. As long as they look good on you, no one has to know where you got them.

Make Your Own Easter Baskets

Don't ever waste your money buying a new Easter basket. If you have one left over from last year, why not reuse it? If you don't own one already, look around the house or thrift stores for a small pail, bucket or basket and simply decorate it for Easter with craft supplies. You can even get the kids in on the action - they'll have a blast with the paints, ribbons and stickers. Just be sure to clean it before you start decorating. Making an Easter basket is way more fun and it'll actually mean enough to you to save it for next year.

Have Your Easter Dinner at Home

It's better to make Easter dinner at home than trying to get a table at a crowded restaurant where you're going to pay top dollar for your meal. Find a tasty meal idea on websites like recipe.com or delish.com. It's always cheaper to pick up some ingredients at the store than to eat out, especially if you have a large family.

Remember, Easter dinner doesn't have to be as extravagant as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Just put a ham in the oven and make some sides on the stove top for an easy and delicious meal. Cooking at home also has the added bonus of leftovers, which will save you even more on food for the next few days.

Overall, Easter doesn't have to an expensive holiday. A little creativity and planning is all it takes to make any holiday both fun and affordable. Feel free to use these ideas to make your own Easter a special time for the whole family.