Holidays certainly can break the family budget when little attention is paid to what is being spent in the stores. However, holidays do not necessarily have to be expensive. With a little bit of inventive thinking, you can provide a little bit of fun for your children at half the cost.

When it comes to Easter, think about what you can reuse from previous years. Do you have any old baskets or plastic eggs that you kept? If not, after buying them this year, place them in a safe place for future years. Free is always better than a dollar or two.

If you don’t have Easter baskets for your children, examine what you will use. The traditional basket is not necessary. Perhaps there is a container you can provide that your children will use later down the road. This could include a sandbox pail or an opened umbrella. For older children you could even use a laundry basket, purse or a toolbox. These types of “baskets” may be a bit more expensive than the traditional basket, but you will spend less money in the long run if you were going to buy these things for your children anyway.

Next think about what you will put in your baskets. When it comes to something sweet, consider buying candy after a previous holiday when it is on sale or simply making your own. You can make Easter cookies in the shape of eggs, bunnies, crosses or anything else that comes in mind and decorate. Popcorn balls or Rice Krispie treats that have been colored in Easter colors is another good idea. Additionally, you may string fruit loops to make an edible necklace.

Adding toys to their basket can be inexpensive, as well. Make up some homemade slime out of water and corn starch to put in a plastic Easter egg. Include like-new books from garage sales or thrift stores. Melt a variety of old broken crayons and pour into an Easter mold for one giant fun crayon. Print off free activity pages from the Internet to make up your own coloring/activity book. Older children may enjoy coupons they can use such as one free ice cream with mom and dad or a free movie night with home-made popcorn.

Last, think about making practical gifts a part of your child’s basket. These items could include flip flops, sunscreen, sunglasses and other items that they will use during the spring and summer months. You may also want to add small camping items such as pocket knives, reusable water bottles or flashlights. For girls, brushes, combs, hair ties and hair decorations can be added to the basket.

This Easter season, spend a little bit of time considering the personalities of your children. Think about what they may enjoy. Be inventive. Perhaps you can come up with a less expensive way of treating your children.