Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Playing for less part VI: Easter!

It's a beautiful spring day here in Western NY.  Birds chirping, sunny skies, and perfect spring temps in the mid 50's.  Ahhhh.  Much better than the snow over the weekend (what?) or the 80 degree temps two weeks ago (what??).  Just perfect April weather.
Perfect for Easter time.  Speaking of which, it's 4 short days away!  What are your plans?  Buy your chocolate yet?  Send your wish list of sweets to the Easter Bunny?
'Round our house, we get pretty spoiled at Easter time.  Easter Bunny hubster brings a nice basket in the morning, and in the afternoon, Easter Bunny Mom brings a basket chock full o candy, an Easter egg hunt, and presents-small things like bubble bath, books (found from book sales!) and candles, but still fun to hunt for. 
So how do you do a fun Easter without breaking the bank?

1.  Set a dollar limit.  The hubster and I try to do this with all our holidays-Easter is usually a low limit $10-$15 for all.  We then have a great time shopping for little trinkets at the dollar store, Target and Walmart (or even garage sales-get creative!)
2.  Know thy recipient.  We're going to Jamaica in two weeks.  Chocolate tastes good, but darned if I'm just a little bit on the bikini diet for the next few weeks so I feel good when I go on vacation.  (Truth:  I also plan to indulge a bit at the all-inclusive...hello, mandatory!!) So, clearly, the hubster and I don't really plan to exchange a ton of chocolate.  Love-peeps.  Able to leave it-Snickers, any type of "everyday" chocolate that you can get any ole time.  Hint-the Easter Bunny MAY have brought the hubster some Jamaica worthy things :-D
3.  Good Candy:  Like I said earlier, who needs a Hershey bar in your basket when you can get that any ole time?  But the GOOD stuff, that you can only get at Easter, that should make it's way to your Easter basket.  In Rochester?  Andy's Candy is the place to go!  It's quite expensive, but a normal sized piece will last quite some time if you savor it.  I always get a peanut butter cup the size of my fist, cut it up, and enjoy it for at least a month :-)  (It freezes well).  Other must haves-A cadbury egg and did I mention peeps?  YUM!
4.  Bulk foods! Looking for inexpensive filler?  Check out the bulk food bins!  I like to pepper the baskets with small candies-hard candies, gum, jelly beans, lollies, dried fruit and/or nuts (in little baggies, of course!).  The cheapest way to include a myriad of small goodies is to check out the bulk bins-you can get just a lil' of everything.
5.  Coupons-not just for groceries-yes, I know I'm a coupon whore.  Hey, it saves me money and keeps me from snacking after dinner two nights a week (cutting the coups) so I'm not complaining! Aside from weekly shopping treats, check out your fliers/coupon websites/stores for great Easter finds!  Target and Walgreens both have great chocolate store coups, which you can stack with manufacturer's coupons to get great discounted deals (2 bags of M&Ms for a dollar?  HELLO!)
6.  Think outside the (candy) box. - I alluded to it with tip#1, but who says you need to just have candy in an Easter basket?  Throw in some stickers, lottery tickets, a fun puzzle, maybe an energy bar or gu if you've got a runner/athlete in your family.  The sky's the limit!  In our family, dollar bills and mini nail polishes find their way into the egg hunt sometimes...such a fun surprise to open an egg without candy in it, and a bit healthier to boot!

Do you have any Easter savings tips?  Fun traditions surrounding the good ole Easter Bunny?  Spill!

In other news, I published my first article on Examiner-check it out!  It might not be the most exciting, groundbreaking research, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere :-)  Watch for more news on Rochester races, thinking outside the box workouts, and how to have fun with fitness!

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