Whether you’re religious or not, Easter can be an incredibly fun time of year — delicious candy, beautiful eggs, fluffy bunnies, and pastel everything.
But if you’re not careful, it can also be an expensive time of year.
A lot of things that people love to do to celebrate Easter will come back to bite them in the financial behind sooner or later (most likely “sooner”).
Here’s a quick rundown of things to avoid doing, if you want to keep your Easter under budget:
Hire an Easter Bunny
The world is chock-full of entertainers that will gladly dress up as the Easter Bunny for your child’s party — for a price, naturally.
Usually, this price is a rather hefty one. There is absolutely no need to hire any of these people, even if they’re really, really good at hopping.
Either create your own Easter Bunny costume, find a mall or shop where the kids can get free pictures with the Bunny, or just sit back and fire up some old Bugs Bunny cartoons for an afternoon.
That wascawwy wabbit is the gift that keeps on giving.
Buy Too Much Chocolate
As blasphemous as it may sound, there is such a thing as too much chocolate, especially when that chocolate can run you a pretty penny.
If you buy a dozen chocolate bunnies at five bucks each, that’s $60 on chocolate rabbits alone.
That’s way too much candy for any family (kids should probably just have a few small pieces each, holiday or no,) and that money could easily have gone to other, more important matters, like bills or ingredients for a delicious, homemade Easter dinner.
Hey, speaking of …
Eat Easter Dinner at an Expensive Restaurant
Any restaurant higher up on the food chain than McDonald’s will have an Easter dinner ready for you to enjoy. Of course, it’ll cost you some dough.
Depending on the size of your family, you could easily drop $50-100 on one night’s meal.
What’s the point, when you can just as easily create your own meal at home?
Buy the meat you want, cook it the way you like it, garnish it with whatever sides suit your fancy, and top it off with a dessert that’s bound to be way better (and cheaper) than whatever the local eateries would whip up.
Rent Top-of-the-Line Church Clothing You’ll Never Wear Again
Pastel dresses and formal tuxedos aren’t usually found in your typical closet, and so many people rent them for their Sunday church activities, return them the next day, and not think about it until next year.
Or, until the next credit card bill comes along, either or.
It doesn’t matter how cute or precious your little girl looks in a $90 outfit. It’s still a $90 outfit that ultimately doesn’t matter much.
Most people (well, the good ones anyway) will welcome and embrace you and your family regardless of what you wear to church. Just wear what you normally do and everyone will be happy.
Well, the rented formal wear company probably won’t be happy, but too bad.
Buy a Pet Bunny (if You’re Not Ready)
This could be the single dumbest purchase of your Easter, in addition to being the most expensive.
Unless you were planning to get a bunny for a while, knew what you were getting into, had all the right supplies, and budgeted accordingly for it, bringing home a pet rabbit for Easter is a horrid idea indeed.
The actual rabbit might not cost a lot, but caring for it, feeding it, bringing it to the vet when need be, and just being a good pet owner in general can cost a ton of money.
If you are truly ready to bring a bunny into your world, and have budgeted accordingly, then Easter is a tremendously symbolic time to begin.
But otherwise, just stick with chocolate bunnies. Just don’t get too many, since they’re not exactly cheap either.
Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.