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Keep Your Easter Budget as Soft as Pastel with these Low-Cost Tips

Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day have come and gone and that means Easter's right around the corner. Like any holiday, that means it's time to break out the cash for goodies, decorations and all the other things you need to make it a memorable and festive occasion. But not all holidays have to leave you reaching for a payday loan, especially Easter. Here are some low-cost tips to this Easter special on a budget:

Wait to Buy the Candy

You may want to think twice before buying the Easter candy weeks in advance. As it turns out, Easter merchandise begins going on sale as early as the day before. So hold off on stuffing the Easter baskets and grab your goodies at the last minute to take advantage of deep discounts.

Throw Your Own Easter Egg Hunt

Between gas, food and even admission prices for some of the fancier egg hunts, driving out to attend an organized Easter event can end up costing you more than you'd expect to spend. Why not save money and hassles by having an egg hunt in your own backyard instead? You can use the money you saved to pack each egg with an extra special treat to make your kid's Easter even more fun.

Make Your Own Easter Egg Dye

PAAS sells Easter egg coloring kits cheap enough, but why spend any cash at all when you could easily make your own dye at home for pennies? All you need is water, vinegar and food coloring. Just bring a small pot of water to a boil, add a teaspoon of vinegar, a few drops of the food coloring and voila - you're ready to color some eggs with the kids.

Play the Role of the Bunny

A picture with the Easter bunny costs money, but the mall Easter bunny's got nothing on dear old dad playing the part. A white jumpsuit (or anything white outfit for that matter), some bunny ears and a little face paint should do the trick nicely.

Craft Your Own Easter Basket

Why buy a basket when you can make one instead? Find an old pail or bucket and get ready to get crafty. You can even get the kids in on it, too. They'll have a blast painting their Easter own special baskets, and you'll save a bunch of money. Just be sure to clean them first.

Ditch the Easter Basket Grass

Easter basket grass is pretty wasteful. Sure, it may give the Easter basket a nice touch, but it's made of plastic and not necessary at all. It's money you'll spend on something that'll just end up right in the landfill. Skip the plastic grass and substitute a more environmentally friendly substitute, like colorful shredded wrapping paper or real straw.

Make Easter Dinner at Home

Easter dinner should be done at home. There's no reason to go out to a crowded restaurant when you could enjoy the Easter holiday at home with family for a fraction of the cost. Just pick up a ham, pop it in the oven and whip up a few tasty traditional sides. There's a ton of great Easter dinner recipes and ideas that you can find all over the web on sites like Pinterest, Epicurious or AllRecipes.

Easter is a wonderful, family-oriented holiday that can be made even more special without spending a ton of money. By being a little creative and getting the entire family involved, you can turn this year's Easter gathering into the kind of lasting memories your kids will cherish for a lifetime.