Halloween's almost here, and that means trick-or-treaters and lots of candy, but how do you get all those sweets without taking a big bite out of your savings? We'll show you how with these scary great ways to save this Halloween.
First, it's important to know when to buy your candy. When it comes to this holiday, it actually pays to procrastinate. A lot of the time, stores are in such a hurry to get Christmas merchandise on the shelves that they start discounting Halloween candy before the festivities even begin. So wait to buy your treats until a day or two before the holiday to get the best prices.
Now that you know when to shop, let's take a look at where to shop. Stay away from dollar stores and supermarkets, because when it comes to candy, their sales are not all they're cracked up to be. Pharmacies actually have tons of candy sales leading up to Halloween at rock-bottom prices, so shop there first.
Finally, with so many candy options, it can be hard to know what to actually buy. Halloween themed treats can cost more than less festive sweets so go to the regular candy aisle and compare prices. And if you really want to stretch your penny, skip chocolate. It will cost you more than hard candies.
When you head to the store for Halloween treats, don't let the high prices get to you. You'll see that by shopping wisely, you can scare up some savings.
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Many retailers sell special bags and buckets designed just for collecting candy during Halloween trick-or-treating. However, some of the elaborate designs (think plush buckets) can run you upwards of $10, and even the cheaper, less durable plastic bag styles require that you shell out cash, even if just 99 cents. So, instead of buying these pre-made Halloween buckets and bags, save your money by repurposing old pillow cases or bags you have around the house into candy collection containers. You could even give your child an old brown grocery bag (as long as it has handles) and encourage him or her to make it festive with the help of some crayons, markers and other art supplies you have around the house. Bonus: quiet time for you during this craft project.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning to spend $2 billion on Halloween decorations this year, with money going toward décor ranging from life-size ghosts to pumpkins. But before you shell out money on such items, check out all the free printables available online. It's easy to find free Halloween banners, posters, signs and more, and all you'll have to pay for is the paper to print them on. Just search the Internet with terms like "free Halloween decorations printables," and a wealth of options come up.
If you want to invest in a pumpkin or two, visiting the local pumpkin patch can be a ton of fun and a great way to spend a weekend afternoon (especially considering that many patches offer free admission), but think twice before you buy your pumpkins there. As I learned the hard way last Halloween season, pumpkins are often much more expensive at pumpkin patches than they are at local grocery stores. Case in point: Last year, my husband and I bought an $18 pumpkin at a patch only to later see a similar-sized $7 pumpkin at our local Safeway. Instead of buying a pumpkin each year, you could save even more money by making a one-time purchase of an inexpensive fake pumpkin, or other similar decoration, that you could bring out year after year.
Another way to cut the cost of Halloween decorations is to opt for décor that can work for both Halloween and the coming holiday season this year, and in years to come. For instance, white and orange Christmas lights and fall-themed wreaths with orange or gold balls could do double duty for both holidays.
At The Frugal Shopper blog, we've covered a number of tricks lately for saving on Halloween costumes, including costume exchanges with friends, online comparison shopping, reusing last year's looks, repurposing baby pajamas into easy DIY costumes, hitting thrift stores and thinking ahead now to next year. So, make sure to read our recent posts on dressing up for less.
I love this tip, which I came across at About.com. The gist is that by buying candy that you don't like, you'll be less likely to eat the candy before it's time to give it out to trick-or-treaters, ultimately saving yourself from having to buy more Halloween candy at the last minute to pass out. And along the same lines, since it shouldn't matter if you like the candy you'll be passing or not, make sure to opt for whatever sweets are on sale for the cheapest price when you're making your candy purchases.
Finally, don't buy enough to candy to account for trick-or-treaters grabbing handfuls of your treats. Instead, plan to give out one piece to each trick-or-treater, so you don't need to invest in as big of a candy stash.