Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Budgeting · Easter · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Holidays · Parenting

Dollar Tree Easter Basket Ideas

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A common misconception is that the only way for kids to have a childhood full of memorable holidays and fun traditions is to spend a lot of money…..I’m here to tell you that is just.not.true.

This is one of the many reasons why I LOVE The Dollar Tree.  I love watching their season aisle.  It’s fun to see what they bring in every year.

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Every year I buy my kids Easter Basket Stuffers from The Dollar Tree spring section.  This year I spent a total of $6 per basket, making the grand total for 3 Easter Baskets only $18!  AND!  I know my kids will love them (yay!).

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The Baskets

Fortunately I didn’t need to buy baskets, grass filler or plastic eggs because I save each of these things to use year after year.  These current baskets have last me over 5 years and I’m sure they will last another 5!  This saves me a few bucks every year, but those few dollars add up to big savings!

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However, if you are needing new baskets or plastic eggs The Dollar Tree has you covered!  Their Easter aisle is packed full of eggs and grass in every imaginable color and Easter Baskets for every personality.

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Teen Girl Easter Basket

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My 13 year old daughter loves all things artsy, tendy and girly; and I found the PERFECT items for her basket that fit these categories.

I was so excited when I found these darling faux potted cactus’s at The Dollar Tree.  My daughter has a slight obsession with cactus’s at the moment (and tells me so do all of her friends….) so I knew this would be PERFECT in her basket.

I also found this fun Caligraphy book to help teach her pretty lettering, white nail polish, and a colorful kite.

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Tween Girl Easter Basket

Next up was my 10 year old daughters basket.  She is pure girl and loves using her hands in the kitchen or at the table crafting.

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I found a nice selection of hands on science kits at The Dollar Tree and ended up buying this Crystal Growing Kit.  We have tried to grow our own crystals at home and have failed every time!  I’m hoping to have much more success with this kit!

She’s also getting a kite, some chapstick (don’t you love those spring colors!) and a Spiral Art set.  Did you love Spiral Art as much as I did as a kid????  So fun!

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Boy Easter Basket

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Last, but certainly not least is my 6 year old sons Easter Basket.  He is all boy through and through and just wants to be busy and active all of the time.

I found a box of sidewalk chalk at The Dollar Tree and decided this would be the perfect way to get him outside during spring.

His basket is also filled with a kite, a cute robot on canvas to color and a slinky.  He has ALWAYS wanted his very own slinky (little bother problems, amiright???) and I can’t wait for him to see this one.

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The Candy

What’s Easter without some candy????  The Dollar Tree has you covered!  I’m serious.  I have a slight (ok, serious) addiction to Sweet Tarts Jelly Beans….have you ever tried them???  So good!  I was very proud of myself that I left the bag at the store, otherwise, the entire bag would have been gone before I even left the parking lot (only kinda kidding…).

I DID buy a few pieces of candy for the kids though.  Starburst Jelly Beans (also so good!) and chocolate bunnies to name a few.

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Do you love filling easter eggs with candy?  I totally do!  There is something so fulfilling about it!

 

My kids will wake up on Easter Sunday, anxiously walk into our living room area, run to their Easter Baskets and proclaim with excitement about what it’s inside.  They will laugh, they will smile, and they will remember their childhood with all the warm fuzzy memories we want them to have…..and all it cost was $6.  Thank you Dollar Tree.

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You Might Be Interested in my Other Easter Posts:

How we are going to help our kids remember the TRUE meaning of Easter

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

 

 

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Farmhouse · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Homemade · Recipes

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup Mix Recipe

Did you know that you can make your very own Cream of Chicken Soup Mix?  Yep!  You can!  And guess what, it’s also incredibly easy, quick and frugal to whip up.  (hooray!)

I really don’t like buying the canned soup in the store, but sometimes I just want a good old fashioned recipe with Cream of Chicken Soup in it, ya know???

I came across this recipe years ago and have been using it regularly ever since.  It tastes so much better than the cans, and is a lot less processed.  I use it in soups, stews, casseroles, etc.  All you need is a little water added to the mix and you’re ready to cook!

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Cream of Chicken Soup Mix Recipe

Ingredients:

1 3/4 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Cups Dry Milk Powder

3 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon

1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Chopped Onion

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

And you are done!  I like to store my mix in a quart sized mason jar.

To Use:

When ready to use, just mix 1/2 cup of soup mix with 1 1/4 cups water and substitute in any recipe calling for a can of Cream of Chicken Soup.  Be sure to write the instructions on the jar lid, so you’ll always remember!  😉

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You might also like a few of my other recipes:

What to do with your bulk chicken; including 6 Freezer Chicken Recipes

Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe

What I Learned From the July Pantry Challenge

Budgeting · Family · Finances · Frugal Life · Money Helps · Parenting

Here’s What You Should Do When Unexpected Expenses Arise

Every month my husband and I sit down for our monthly budget meeting.  Is it fun?  Nope.  Do I look forward to it?  Big no!  Do I do it anyways because I know it will save me money and I love to save money????  Absolutely!

The monthly budget meeting is the time for us to discuss the previous months budget.  We go over what worked, what didn’t work and we put together a budget for the new month.

Our budget is a zero based budget, meaning every single penny that comes in during the month is budgeted to a certain category.  There is no excess.  This not only helps keep us on track, but it also means we have to stick to what was budgeted, no exceptions!

We try to brainstorm every expense that is likely to arise over the next month.  Sometimes, we forget something….or other times expenses that we had no way to plan for happen.

Take last month for example.  We had our budget meeting and thought we were entering the month prepared.  A couple of week later we found out that we were going to have to pay $120 for my daughter to participate in track.  We had already agreed that she would be allowed to do track this year, we just didn’t realize how soon that fee would be due.

So, we went back to our budget and made it work.  We were able to cut a few other expenses down in a different category so that we could come up with the $120.  We have done this enough times that it’s become very easy and low stress.

Here are 5 Ways You Can Prepare (or tweak) Your Budget for Unexpected Expenses

What to do When

Emergency Fund

It is so so so important to always have an Emergency Fund in place.  I can not stress this fact enough.  Emergencies will arise!  Now, my daughter participating in track is not categorized as an emergency, but other unexpected expenses might be!

It’s not fun to think about the emergencies that might happen, but it’s necessary.  I’ve shared before about how difficult it was for our family when my husband unexpectedly lost his job.  It was awful.  But.  The one thing that kept us going and kept me calm was the fact that we had an emergency fund in place.  That fund gave me the assurance that we would be ok.

It can be hard to want to grow your emergency fund, especially when you have dozens of bills to pay, retirement to save for, mouths to feed, debt to pay off, and a life to live….I get it!

If you’re struggling getting an emergency fund, start small.  Try saving just 2% of each paycheck.  As it gets easier to do, slowly increase that percentage.

Also, set up a direct deposit so that the money is automatically deposited into your emergency savings account.  This way you don’t even have the choice to use that money for anything else.  If you never even see it, than you won’t even miss it!

Miscellaneous Category

Make sure you have a “miscellaneous category” included in your monthly budget.  We put $150 into miscellaneous each month.  This money is used for all of the situations that arise, but weren’t planned for.

When my daughter came to us with the information that it was time to pay for track, we knew we could cover it with our miscellaneous budget.  However, we also knew that we would need to watch our spending in the other areas to make sure that no other “miscellaneous” items arose.

Pause Spending

Put a pause on all unnecessary spending for the rest of the month.  This may include items like going out to eat, clothing, groceries (try a pantry challenge), entertainment, etc.  This is not an easy adjustment, but remember it will be temporary.  Many times the spending freeze will only need to be for the rest of the week, and then you can start fresh the next month with a new budget.  Oh how I love a fresh new budget!

Make Extra Money

If you need some quick cash, consider selling a few items around your house.  This is actually my FAVE way to fix the budget (I love making money…I got it from my father 😉 ).  All it takes is 5 minutes of taking pictures and writing a brief description of whatever you need to sell, and bam!  You’ve made money! Here are 5 Websites you Can Sell Your Stuff for Quick Cash.

Take a look around your house to find a few items you haven’t touched for a few years (a basement storage room is usually the first place I look), and list that clutter for sale!  If you need some ideas, I’ve got you covered, just check out my article:  10 Items In Your House You Can Sell Quickly To Make Money

Keep Stepping Forward

Most importantly is that you don’t let the unexpected expenses discourage you from your big goals.  There will always be bumps in the road, financial goals will never ever be easy and smooth.  But, you can overcome them.  I promise!

No budget is perfect.  Mine certainly isn’t!  But.  I keep trying every month to improve little by little.  Learn from each mistake and you will find every hurdle you come to will become easier and easier to cross.

 

How do you deal with unexpected expenses in your budget???  Do you have any secrets that have worked well for you?