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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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?

Budgeting · Finances · Frugal Life · Money Helps

How to Recover your Budget From a day of Impulse Shopping

It happens to every single person…..and it usually happens more than once.  Everyone goes through moments of weakness when they throw all their common sense out the window, ignores their budget, and buys on impulse.

It actually happened to me just last week.  Yep.  You read that right!  Miss Sweet Frugal Life ignored her own advice and didn’t stick to her budget.

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Let me start at the beginning.

I have been slowly trying to decorate my music room.  When we moved into our house two years ago this room sat completely empty.  We have had to buy all new furnishings, and it has been expensive.

But, after years of buying a few pieces every month, I could finally see the finish line!  All I needed was a few items for the walls and then it would be done!  (yaaay!)

We did everything “by the book.”  We budgeted $50 for two frames from Hobby Lobby.  I stuffed my cash envelopes with the exact amount.  And I went shopping.

After a quick browse through the clearance section, I walked straight back to the frames.  Unfortunately, while on my way I walked past a picture that stopped me in my tracks.

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It was perfect and EXACTLY what I needed to finish decorating my music room.  I honestly thought that this picture was made for my house.  The colors and the style was just what I wanted and I already knew which wall I would hang it on.

I KNEW that I shouldn’t buy it.  I understand Spending Triggers and I teach people daily how to avoid them.  I stood in the exact same spot at Hobby Lobby for ten minutes while an internal debate ensued in my head.

I knew I shouldn’t buy it.  I only had enough money in my cash envelope to purchase the two frames, and I REALLY wanted the frames.

You all know how the story ends.  I let out a sigh, threw caution to the wind, and bought that picture using my credit card.

I’m not proud of this moment.  I sure wish I could tell all of you that I’m perfect ALL of the time and never impulse shop!  But, that just would not be true.  I’m just a regular lady trying my best….and sometimes that means failure.

Has this ever happened to you????  If it hasn’t yet, I’m sure it will someday!  Here are a few ways you can recover from impulse shopping.

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Give it a Day

Do not take off any tags or packaging for at least one day.  Set the item somewhere in your house where you will look at it often.  This will give you time to decide if you TRULY TRULY want to keep what you bought.

Most of the time when I do this exercise I learn quickly that I don’t want the item as much as I thought I did while at the store.  The guilt usually gets the best of me and I decide to take it back to the store.

Other times, such as the case of this picture I decide that I do really want to keep it and I am pleased with the purchase.

Return It

When the guilt is more than you can handle you should take whatever you bought back to the store and return it.  You can return just about anything, and it’s always super quick and easy to do, just make sure to always keep your receipts for a smoother process.

Whenever I return an impulse buy I immediately feel the guilt being lifted from me.  I have NEVER regretted a turn….but I HAVE regretted many purchases….think about it.

Sell Something

If you decide you DO want to keep your purchase, which is fine, you will need to come up with extra money to cover the cost.  One of the quickest ways to earn extra money is to sell something.  If you’re stumped on what to sale, I have an article all about what sales best!

This is what I decided to do last week.  I had a lamp in my music room that I liked, but I just hadn’t been loving.  I have been contemplating getting rid of it for months and knew that this was the perfect time to do so.  I quickly listed the lamp on Facebook Marketplace and was able to earn $40 from it!  This easily covered the cost of the picture (plus an extra $10)!

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Adjust Your Budget

It is perfectly acceptable to move money around in your budget from time to time.  Try not to make a habit of it, but occasionally will be fine.

Take a good look at your budget and see if there is anything you can adjust to cover the costs of what you bought.  Could you cancel your plans to go out to dinner that night?  Or pass on a new pair of shoes?  Find something (anything!) you can do without for this month and use that money to cover the cost of your purchase.

Side Hustle

If the amount you spent was considerably high you might want to consider getting a temporary (or permanent even!) side hustle.  Is their a skill you have that could bring in a little extra money?  Could you sell a craft?  Babysit a child?  Dog walk?  Clean houses?   I truly believe EVERYONE has MULTIPLE talents they can offer to the world to bring in extra cash.  Make a list of your talents and choose one or two to turn into a side hustle.

The Results

Honestly, I’m glad I came across this picture.  It completed our music room and it’s a purchase I am so happy with!

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BUT…..I should have waited to buy it until we budgeted the money for it.  I made a mistake!  I learned from the mistake!  And next time I will not make the same mistake again.

Budgeting, frugal living is not about perfection….it’s about PROGRESS!

Have you ever had a similar experience???  How do you recover from a spur of the moment buy???  Let me know in the comments!

 

You might be interested in a few of my other articles:

Budgeting for Beginners: FAQ

A Financial Tale of Two Sisters

What I have learned about living a sweet and frugal life on ONE income