Few things say spring for kids like the season of the Easter bunny. Gift baskets, hats, egg hunts and family meals after a spiritual service are just a few of the highlights. If you’re still recuperating from overindulgent winter holidays and need to keep Easter costs under control, here are a few frugal ideas for enjoying the day.

Craft an Easter bunny cake.

Growing up, my mother made a particular cake every Easter that was shaped like a bunny. Rather than purchase a special pan, she creatively cut and assembled two round cakes (you could double decker this with four of them if you want) and decorated them with string licorice for whiskers, gumdrop nose and eyes, and pink frosting for the interiors of the ears. Coconut over all of the frosting formed the fur. While I don’t have a picture of any of these cakes, I did find an instructional slide show on Examiner that demonstrates the cuts using two round paper plates.

Dollar store basket items keep Easter costs low.

Not only are dollar stores one of my favorite cheap places to buy travel supplies, they are also a great place to fill an Easter basket. Green paper grass, cheap baskets and great tuck-ins like jump ropes, flash cards, colored pencils and word puzzle books fill the aisles. For older children, there are cool craft supplies, nail polish and fun things for school like pencil cases in spring colors and even fun gardening gear for the budding botanist in your family.Frugal easter

DIY spa gifts are great for women and older girls.

Making your own spa products is a great way to look great for less and have affordable gifts on hand for any occasion. Easter is no exception. If you’re already a garden person who happens to be growing rosemary, then you can create a fresh homemade massage oil for your significant other. There are just as many uses for lavender when creating personal care products, by the way. Lotions, shower mists and linen sprays can all be created with either herb.

Egg decorating is a classic Easter activity.

If you’re leaning towards an eco friendly Easter, there are a number of natural dyes you can use. Whatever you select for materials, this is a cheap activity that the kiddos will love. It’s also easily customized by age and ability level. The youngest children will be happy to see the eggs change color, while teens can craft elaborate Easter treasures that will rival any magazine layout. Here are some fun egg decorating ideas from the people at All Recipes.

Bulk treats keep the holiday on budget.

Whether you are filling those reusable plastic eggs or simply tossing the colorful tinfoil-covered chocolate eggs from the folks at Hershey, bulk treats are the way to go for those celebrating Easter on a budget. If you have multiple children you are filling baskets for, this becomes an even more powerful strategy. Packaged peeps, miniature chocolate bunnies and multipacks of stickers and sidewalk chalk can all be broken down to create stylish Easter baskets for a song.

Host a family brunch or afternoon tea.

If you’re going traditional, then Easter dinner really is part of the gig. A brunch or afternoon tea keeps the price tag for the event under control, while allowing menu items with style to shine bright. For example, rather than having to serve huge slices of ham to every guest, consider quiches which will stretch your meat money further. Whole grain muffins and other baked treats are super affordable when you bake them yourself and breakfast casseroles are always a hit at family gatherings. Set up a huge urn to dispense hot water and put flavored teas, sweeteners, sliced lemon and even a few flavored spirits around for an easy tea bar that guests can use to serve themselves.

Enjoying Easter doesn’t have to run your family’s budget off the rails. Try a few of these simple ideas, and you’ll be celebrating in style.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.