Frugal Feasting: Budget-friendly tips to host a cracking Easter

Photo Source: Wealth of Geeks

By Liz Douglas | Wealth of Geeks

72% of people are reconsidering their Easter holiday plans due to rising costs, according to a survey by FinanceBuzz.

More than 80% of Americans plan to celebrate Easter. The average consumer will shell out in excess of $192, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The top planned expenses included food, clothing, gifts, candy, and flowers, totaling a staggering $24 billion in collective spending.

“Easter endures as an important holiday for many Americans, signifying new beginnings and a time of celebration with friends and family,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says.

As Easter approaches, the financial strain for the hosts of family gatherings tempers the excitement of reuniting with loved ones. Here are four practical strategies to help you stretch your dollar further.

Plan Your Menu in Advance

By planning, you can create an abundant spread without spending a fortune.

Shop early to take advantage of sales and coupons that may come up between now and the day.

Speaking to Bustle, culinary influencer Stephanie Nass said, “Plan the menu as soon as you decide you’re hosting. If you need specialty ingredients, source them early on. Dry goods and alcohol can be purchased as far out as you want. Produce can be purchased three to four days before the event. Meats, fish, and flowers should be purchased the day of or the day before. Bread must be fresh-fresh.”

A 2024 study by Numerator determined only 14% of Easter celebrators intend to buy alcohol. Fewer partiers planned to purchase alcohol for Easter out of nearly all annual holidays, with consumer estimates comparable only to Mother’s Day. Hosts shouldn’t feel obligated to provide an extensive drink selection.

“Having a bar adds an unnecessary level of complication,” Nass told Bustle. Instead, she advises picking a signature cocktail or beverage for the event to minimize costs and fuss. Include reference to planned drink offerings when inviting guests. Advance notice will allow them to bring drinks if they prefer something else.

Another cost-effective alternative is hosting a potluck-style gathering where guests bring dishes to share. Hosts can elevate these by making them a themed degustation — a sampling or tasting — and assigning each guest an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. Have fun introducing the dishes each guest brings and exploring new flavor combinations.

Another way to keep costs low is hosting a brunch instead of dinner. Brunch foods are more affordable and easier to prepare in advance, allowing hosts to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying guests’ company. Consider a mix of sweet and savory dishes — quiches, tofu scrambles, fruit salads, vegan yogurt, banana bread, and pastries — to satisfy various tastes and dietary preferences.

Be Selective About Candy

When it comes to candy, remember that less is often more. Less than one quarter of shoppers plan to purchase less candy, and 20% will switch from real eggs to plastic.

Using a mix of chocolate and reusable plastic eggs in an egg hunt is a cost-effective way to keep costs down without sacrificing the thrill of the hunt. Consider buying more affordable chocolate eggs or looking for discounts and coupons before the holiday to get a bulk deal.

Of course, you can still indulge without completely cutting back. Reallocate some of the cost savings by investing in one high-quality chocolate bunny or large egg for each child or guest as a special treat.

DIY Decorations

Flowers are collectively the fifth highest expenditure at $1.8 billion. While it’s tempting to go all out with decorations and spring flowers, setting a budget and prioritizing essential items is essential to avoid overspending.

Focus on key decorative elements like tablecloths and candles, or repurpose items you own, such as vases, jars, and decorative accents, to save money and minimize waste.

DIY decorations can also be a fantastic activity for the group on the day, as most people like to play an active role at a party. Boston event planner Bryan Rafanelli told, “I like to put a group of my friends together; I call them my hospitality team … The bigger the party, the bigger the hospitality team.”

Use this logic to encourage your guests to create fun, homemade decorations. Think paper chains, painted eggs, origami decorations, or flower arrangements. Not only does this take the pressure off you to decorate, but it also keeps your guests engaged — a fun activity for kids and adults alike.

Trim Your Guest List

When hosting a budget-friendly Easter celebration, one effective strategy is to keep your guest list selective. According to FinanceBuzz, 14% of people plan to have fewer guests for dinner.

The upside: fewer people means your budget can go a lot farther. “When your party is smaller, you can really splurge on the little details,” Nass points out. Rather than inviting acquaintances or distant relatives, prioritize inviting close friends and family members who will truly appreciate and enjoy the festivities.

Keeping the guest list small and intimate allows you to create meaningful connections and shared experiences without breaking the bank.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.