8 Ways to be Frugal on Easter

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you’re looking to buy an Easter bonnet with all of the frills upon it this year, you’re not alone.

A study last year by the American Bible Society and Barna Group found that a whopping 86% of American adults celebrate Easter in some way.

The National Retail Federation expected last year that spending on the holiday, which included decorations, clothes and meals, would be about $16.8 billion, or an average of $145.28 per person.

But with gasoline prices and other living expenses up, some people may not be able to put as many excesses into the holiday.

We went to savings experts and came up with eight ways to put the frills back into your family’s holiday:

1. The suits, dresses and Easter bonnets: Getting dressed up for Easter is a tradition. Many people like to dress in their best Easter dress, which can cost a wad of cash. It doesn’t have to, writes Toni Anderson, savings expert for the Happy Housewife. Anderson says you can find fine clothing that someone else couldn’t wear at consignment shops, thrift stores and even yard sales.

2. Make it a potluck: Next to clothing, families typically spend big on a large meal. Meg Favreau, senior editor at Wise Bread, says the family meal doesn’t have to break the bank for any one family member if you do a potluck dinner. “Whether you're inviting family, friends or neighbors, you'll get to share the work and cost of cooking while celebrating the holiday with others,” Favreau says. To add extra fun, ask your guests to print out the recipe to share with everyone, or you can get the recipes in advance and make a homemade Easter potluck booklet for everyone.

3. Buy your dinner: If a potluck isn’t your style, Sommer Harkins, who writes at Mom Enthusiastically, says instead of making a meal from scratch, you can save your money (and your sanity) by checking major grocery chains for their prices on prepared meals. “You can purchase a complete holiday meals for as little as $60 for a family of four,” Harkins says. “Add in a light desert such as sorbet with fresh berries.”