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Frugal and Healthy Easter Baskets

Instead of giving your children a big basket of candy for Easter, to save money in the long term consider giving them only a few treats and more books, crafts and educational toys. Candy is a big contributor to tooth decay, which can result in expensive dental bills. Sweets are also consumed right away, so with Easter baskets filled with only candy in a few days everything is gone and there is nothing to show for your money.

Even if you spend a little more in the short term on the gift items listed below, your children will be getting hours of fun from these types of small craft items and toys, which means that over time you will be getting more value for your money. Plus, items like books and sand toys are especially frugal purchases because when your children have outgrown them, they may still be in good enough condition to pass along to your friends or relatives, or sell at a garage sale

Some frugal Easter basket ideas include:

1. Books - stack up on used children books from garage sales, thrift shops and library book sales during the year. Keep a big stack of books stored away in a closet and then you will have some inexpensive books add to Easter baskets and Christmas stockings.

2. Crayons and a coloring book.

3. Modeling clay and some interesting mold and sculpture tools

4. For older children, balloons and a small pump to make balloon animals and sculptures.

5. A bottle of bubbles and some special wands for blowing bubbles.

6. A package of seeds, and child sized gardening gloves and garden tools.

7. Punch balls.

8. If you live in an area where it is getting warm enough to go to the park or beach by Easter, then assorted sand toys and beach balls are always a fun gift.

9. Check party stores for party favors and novelty items you can buy on sale or in bulk. One of the stores in our area has big grab bags of marked down and discontinued toys and favors for a few dollars each. When our kids were small I would buy several of these bags and use the toys for rewards extra good behavior, as special gifts on plane trips, for Easter baskets and as stocking stuffers.

10. Disposable cameras. Then spend the afternoon at the zoo or some other interesting place where your kids can take pictures.

For a few healthy treats besides colored eggs, try to add in items with some nutritional value, such as chocolate covered almonds or yogurt covered raisins.

S. L. Simmons, editor at Always Frugal. Visit our site for more articles on topics such as living on one income, tips for cutting expenses, budgeting help and more frugal living articles at ://

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