Easter is a fantastic celebration and one that all the family adores. After all, what’s not to love – A long weekend of Holidays and, of course, the most important aspect for many – lots of delicious chocolate and food!

On a serious note though, as a South African, it’s become more about enjoying Easter within your limits so that you don’t financially constraint yourself for the rest of the year, than spending all your money on a now overly commercialized holiday.

However, it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy spending time friends and your family, OUDS discusses how you can do that.

The true cost of the holiday

Now of course, there are real cost implications for all of this chocolate purchasing – not to mention for your family’s health! The average chocolate egg can contain anything from 1000 calories upwards and provide an awful lot of sugar; albeit, with a delicious taste!

  • Why not avoid excess consumption and limit Easter eggs to one or two really good quality ones?
  • Alternative treats: often we get stuck in the details during times like this. Going for branded Easter eggs and store bought chocolate is much easier, but making your own treats or finding cheaper alternatives can save you loads. Buying from factory shops or making your own means you won’t have to cut back this Easter.
  • Or get creative in the kitchen and buy some moulds that you can use year and year again to make your own Easter eggs with the kids. It’s a great way to have fun and spend some time together and they will love to decorate their creations!
  • You could also resurrect some other lovely Easter crafts, such as dip-dying the shells of hard-boiled eggs with pretty pastel colours.

Holidays don’t need to mean money

If you’re trying to cut back on spending, then the idea of finding ways to keep the kids entertained over the Easter holidays is probably giving you a headache.

The important thing to remember is that Easter holidays are a one time of the year when you can have plenty of fun by NOT having to spend lots of cash.

  • Think back to when you were little, you probably received hard-boiled coloured eggs, jelly beans and a chocolate bunny and that was enough for you. Don’t feel compelled to buy expensive gifts for your children this year. Instead have a simple Easter this year, and don’t buy all sorts of expensive presents for the little ones. Remember the meaning of Easter, don’t get caught up in the hype, it’s not about a plump man dressed in a red suit trying to fit down a chimney with a bag of gifts.
  • Small children are just as happy with inexpensive sweets and treats as they are with lavish ones. I’ve never heard of a child trying to ‘brand recognition’ a sugar rush!
  • Gifts rather than treats: although chocolate is a big part of Easter, it can be quite costly if you have a big family. A great way to save is to give small gifts. Longer lasting and more intimate, cost effective gifts serve the same purpose although won’t be eaten by the end of the day…unless the dog gets hold of it.
  • Avoid temptation zones such as shopping centres restaurants and commercial attractions, which are often expensive. Don’t kid yourself! The cost of a meal at a common restaurant these days is the same price of you making a lavish feast at home, if not two nights worth of meals if not more!
  • Look out for special offers over Easter, on things such as the local cinema or swimming pool and arrange play dates with bikes for the kids and other active pursuits. You’ll be able to enjoy the break – without it breaking your bank account!

Pre-planning can save you more money on Easter than you think. There’s no doubt planning the perfect Easter holiday can put a big dent in your budget. Here are some of my favorite tips to save money on Easter…

  • Make your own Easter basket: You can literally save yourself half the cost or more by creating your very own! It’s a great way to have fun and spend some time together as a family and the kids will love to decorate their creations! At the Crazy store, you’ll find sweets, snacks, stuffed animals, arts and craft supplies, ribbons, cellophane paper, and anything else you may need – after all DIY is the in-thing now.
  • Plan fun activities: Instead of spending a lot of money, try planning fun activities for the family and especially the children. It is also a great time to spend outside with the family, and unfortunately it is also high season (in South Africa) which means it is expensive to go away for a weekend. It is not always necessary to travel far for fun, especially if you didn’t budget for it. Families can spend time together going for a walk, watching a film together or playing games – again, without needing to spend money! There are lots of fun activities that will be hosted in your nearby areas that you and your family can attend. Check with your local library, Church and Malls to see if they’re hosting any free events with coloring and painting activities, an Easter egg hunt, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and more.
  • Share the responsibilities and costs: Easter holidays are meant to be about getting together with friends and families, but make no mistake it can be costly for the one person who is hosting the weekend. Instead of spending the weekend cooking, dish out some responsibilities to your family and friends that will be coming to visit you over the long weekend. You can either decide that each family bring a plate of food, something to drink and a dessert or you can ask each family to contribute a specific amount towards the cost of the weekend.
  • Start planning next year early: Take advantage of those after Easter sales. Lots of stores end up with surplus stock after the long weekend, so stock up on non-perishable items for next year or even December Holidays.

Anybody seeking debt advice this Easter can contact OUDS on 079 980 0822, for free assistance, help, or more information or visit our website: www.ouds.co.za

Oyisa United Debt Specialists wishes everyone a very Happy Easter!

If you are travelling these holidays please drive safely