Easter has gone through the consumerism distortion throughout the years, just like every other popular holiday. In fact, some parents will spend as much on Easter as they do on Christmas. Not all of us can handle that type of financial burden twice in one year, so here are some tips for setting up an Easter table on a budget.
Have a plan
Before you begin setting up your Easter meal and all the decorations, the essential step to effective budgeting is to have a decent plan.
- Set your spending limit. This is after you have made a general estimate of all the things you will need. It is important to remember that the more you can do yourself will save more money in lieu of going out to eat or on vacation.
- Draw that amount from the bank.
- Use coupons and deals to get 2-for-1 deals and more at local dollar stores, Wal-Mart, and other locations.
- Use what you have on hand.
A lot of Easter favorites, like ham, potatoes, asparagus, and carrots are actually not that expensive in the long run. So, instead of opting for a ridiculously complex smorgasbord of food, opt for what your family and friends like best.
In that sense, you will be able to make up just a few dishes that will get eaten, minimizing leftovers that will probably be forgotten.
Some examples of budget recipes that also look pretty include:
- Ham and Gruyere Quiche – everyone loves a savory tart, and ham and eggs practically scream Easter. All you need is a pie crust, some ham, cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and an over to bake at 350 degrees F.
- Crockpot Ham – simple preparation without distracting you from the fun.
- Roasted Cauliflower and Asparagus
- Green Salad with Roasted Beets, Cheese, and Almonds
- Spinach Dip with Fresh Veggies and Pita Chips
- Deviled Eggs
Plus, many of these dishes only require minimal spending while using staples most people already have in their refrigerator, like milk, cheese, eggs, yogurt, and leafy greens.
By opting for healthier options, you minimize the cost of buying expensive things like liters of soda and store-bought cake. So hit the Farmer’s Market to stock up on fruits and vegetables.
Potluck is also a good idea and will easily fill the table if you have a longer guest list.
Setting the table
Easter comes at a bountiful time of the year when the flowers are beginning to bloom and the herb garden is right for picking. You can use some of the food items listed above as decoration – for instance, the deviled eggs – but if you have a table, you are going to want a pop of color, right?
The dollar store is usually a marvelous place to find cheap tablecloths or placemats, napkins, and cups. Consider buying things that you can only use once from any dollar or discount store so that if it gets ruined this year, you are not taking a hit.
Next, consider DIY projects. For example, Pinterest has some fantastic ideas for Easter. Some of my favorites include getting a branch from the back yard and tying cut-out chicks, bunnies, and Easter eggs to the branches as a centerpiece, mini-daffodils or tulips in Mason jars, and candles. Toilet paper rolls are also extremely functional for crafts projects.
Opt for experiences, not things
When everyone is gathered around the table, it will not matter how sparse the decorations are if you provide them with memories. This means doing more than taking a few candid photographs of people stuffing their faces with hot cross buns.
Set up dessert stands where people can craft their own Easter Belgian waffle or hotcakes, for example. Have little arts and crafts projects planned, like popsicle stick bunnies or egg decorating with markers and stickers, to keep people busy. Or set up a photo booth outside in your garden (using Dollar Store fake flowers if your garden is lacking), then have a make-your-own-frame session.
Optionally, you can set up a clothesline overhead with personalized pins so that as the day goes on, people can hang their artwork. In this sense, you have made the place a living canvas that will be cleaned up as guests head home.
Budgeting for Easter might seem like an overwhelming challenge, but it is actually quite easy. The simpler you keep the menu, and the more memory-making events you have planned, the less you have to worry about. Your guests will appreciate the experiences, and you will not have to empty your wallet to do so.