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The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Easter

The economic outlook might seem dismal right now, but that shouldn’t stop the Budget Smart Girl from enjoying this week’s Easter festivities. Being on a budget doesn’t mean having less fun… it just means you have to be a little more creative.

Table Settings
Easter, whether it falls in March or April, is the perfect time of the year to head outside and go searching around the yard for some free table decorations. Small twigs can be turned into bird’s nests to sit on each guest’s plate. Fill them with mini chocolate eggs and a nametag.
Larger twigs can be placed in a vase and decorate with hanging Easter Eggs. You can buy empty plastic eggs, attach some wire and hang them from the branches for a low cost centerpiece.
Another idea is to place a stack of twigs and branches in the middle of the table and place eggs, chocolate bunnies, etc, throughout the stack. When the meal’s over, guests can help themselves to the treats.

The Meal
Even when you’re counting the pennies, you can still be the host who throws an enjoyable feast. There are lots of low cost meals you can put together that look like you’ve spent a fortune.
Don’t want to buy a whole ham? Buy a smaller piece, cut it up and add it to a frittata or quiche.
What do you associate with Easter? Yes, eggs. They’re great value and can be turned into soufflés, scrambled eggs with chives, or sun dried tomatoes, or even silvers of smoked salmon. Serve the eggs over croissants and you’ve got a quick meal that’s pleasing to both the eye and wallet.
And for dessert…with so many treats in the stores, why bother making one, when you can put together a platter of Easter goodies, chocolate bunnies, caramel eggs, etc. I find most people end up just nibbling on all the Easter goodies and don’t have room for dessert anyway, so this is a really great option.

Where to Find the Treats
This week just about every supermarket and drugstore is selling Easter treats at half off. Also, check out places like Target and Walgreen’s. And if you can wait till Saturday to pick up Easter treats and decorations, so much the better. I’ve known stores lower their prices by as much as 75% even before Easter’s over.

And here are some sites I’ve found that give you a guide to what’s out there-

www.hersheys.com/easter/products
Check out their free eCalendar while you’re on the site.

www.staciessweetsensations.com/id125.html, so many goodies to choose from here.

www.cadburyeaster.com/products.htm Home of my favorite crème eggs! And check out the new Easter hunt kit.

If you’re throwing a party and want to buy in bulk, check out-www.groovycandies.com

And if you’re going to be doing some baking this weekend, check these two sites-
www.shopbakersnook.com
www.verybestbaking.com/products/default.aspx
Be sure to check out their promotions section. You’ll find they have sweepstakes, coupons and free stuff.

For all things Easter, check out this site-
www.easter-stuff.net

The Budget Smart Girl’s Tip
Holidays mean after the event sales. I’m guessing with the weak economy, stores will be slashing prices even more this year, so stock up on non-perishables ready for next year’s party. And why not buy some extra chocolate goodies. You can use them in your baking in the next few months or so.

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