Even the Discount Diva is not immune to spending binges during the holidays. In fact, it’s probably because I’m frugal by nature that I didn’t see some of the pitfalls of Easter spending coming. I totally discounted that I was not immune to the cuteness factor. If you have small kids, it’s easy to get swept up in the “magic” of the holidays and forget that all that “magic” comes with a price tag. Here are some tips to recover from your holiday spending hangover.

Easter Photo 4

1. Admit You Have A Problem – They say you can’t begin the process of recovery without first admitting that you have a problem. Though I was terrified to check my bank account the entire weekend for fear of seeing those awful red overdraft charges, I knew I couldn’t avoid it forever. Turns out my binge didn’t take us into the red (this time). So after you see the full extent of the damage, it’s time to refocus your budget and get back on track. Take a second to feel the full impact of your binge, but beating yourself up is counterproductive. Instead look for other ways to save money until your next paycheck comes in.

I instituted a No Unnecessary Spending Freeze in my household. That means that for the rest of the week my husband needs to bring his lunch and coffee to work in the morning and other than gas or groceries we don’t spend a dime until Friday. I’ve done these freezes before and although we aren’t always perfect at executing them, it definitely helps to get on the same page with your spouse. This is especially helpful in households like mine where one person tends to hold primary responsibility for paying the bills and tracking the spending.

2. Eat Those Leftovers – The thing that makes leftovers unappealing to almost everyone is the idea of having a rerun of the same meal (no matter how great the original meal was). Instead you need to look at leftovers as ingredients for new dishes that you would otherwise pay for at the store. If you cooked a big meal for Easter like I did you probably have tons of your main meat dish leftover (ham in my case). Meat is expensive at the store so before you throw it out, get creative in making new meals to use it up. Tonight it’ll be cheesy ham and rice casserole with leftover veggies and sour cream purchased for yesterday’s meal. For lunch today I’m thinking crumbled hard boiled egg over leftover salad and egg salad sandwiches for the kids. Even if you didn’t cook for the holiday, I bet you have some pretty colored eggs in your fridge. A quick internet search could yield tons of ideas to keep those leftovers out of the trash and keep more of your grocery money in your pocket.

3. Get A GREEN Easter Bunny – Gather all those plastic eggs, baskets, unused Easter grass, cute bunny ear headbands and the like and tuck them away for next year. At our house the kids know that we leave out our baskets for the Easter Bunny to fill, much like Santa does with stockings, so they don’t expect a new basket every year. This year, I tried to be even more practical since it was the first time I had to buy new baskets since the ones we’ve been using the past three years or so fell apart. The dollar store had great Easter pails we can use this summer or even next winter. Sand and snow are both fun for kids to shovel and scoop. Before you go shopping next year, pull out your Easter stash and assess what you have before you hit the store and you just may prevent a binge spending spree.

4. Get Dress Clothes For Less – I didn’t plan on buying snazzy new duds for the kids this Easter. That left my husband vulnerable to my daughter’s fashionista whining about not having a pretty new Easter dress. So he hit the store and bought my daughter two new dresses and my son a little suit with tie. I had to admit that when I saw how cute they were I couldn’t even be mad he spent $40 on just a few outfits they’re only going to wear a handful of times, if that. Had I planned better (this is my vow for next year) I would have begun scouring the thrift shops earlier to avoid falling prey to the high price of buying cute Easter outfits right before the holiday. While killing time before Good Friday Service we stopped in a thrift store in Pine Bush and found the cutest little suit and tie for my son. Let’s play a game, which suit in the photos below do you think was the one bought new and which was the one bought used.

Easter photo 3  Easter pic 1

If you can’t tell, that’s why you should buy used and save money on these special occasion outfits. If you don’t have younger children to pass these clothes down to next year, take them to the consignment shop and get store credit on new duds or get cash depending on what consignment store you use.

I wish you all a speedy recovery and here’s hoping next year’s holidays don’t hit our bank accounts quite so hard.