Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On the Hunt for the Hunts

The Dilemma: what to stuff dozens of plastic eggs for 3 kids for 4--maybe 5 Easter egg hunts over 2 weeks.

The Environmental Concern: don't want to buy stuff that will be thrown away instantly

The Taste Concern: don't want to buy candy just because it's cheap; I'll only buy what I eat

The Time Crunch: three days 'til my first hunt and I only have an hour to shop

The Cost Cap: $10 (preferably $5-$10)

In years past, I've opted to stuff Easter eggs with Dove miniature chocolate eggs--my favorite! However, when I started calculating how many I would need this year (2 dozen, per kid, per hunt), my eyes glazed over and the chuh-ching rang in my head. With my new good deal sleuthing skills, surely I'd be successful in finding a solution.

I began with trying to find coupons for Dove on their website; none to be had. I then saw CVS has Dove candy on sale this week for $3 a bag and if I buy 4 bags, I earn $3 ECBs (Extra Care Bucks). So I suppose that's like getting my candy for $9, but I'm still out $12 initially. Seems a bit much.

Downgrading chocolate choices, I printed a couple coupons for $1/2 Nestle eggs. Target has them on sale this week for $2.69 each, bringing my costs to $2.19 a bag; ok price. Walgreens also has a $1/2 coupon in the March coupon book. IF they go on sale for $2/bag, that would make them only a buck a bag with both coupons. The problem is they're not on sale this week and I need something by Friday. Hmmm. So I emailed a few friends for help and got some good ideas I hadn't considered.

Heather Robinson of The Mommyhood said she uses a variety of stickers, coins, tattoos, and candy. This year she was considering adding little stamps with ink in the cap that can be found in the dollar bin at Target. Last year she had bought bunny ears for the kids but the adults were the ones wearing them; fun.

Gabrielle Blake of Couponing in Critical Times commented that stickers have been the biggest hit at her hunts in years past. They're easy to find, you can cut the sticker pages so that each egg has a variety, they're inexpensive, relatively eco-friendly, and the kids love them. SOLD!

Following my rule of clustering errands to save gas, I planned around the consignment sale at Central Baptist Church in Bearden. Tip #1: It's going on again tomorrow (3/10 from 9:30am - 2pm), has a decent collection of clothes (no toys), and the check-out line wasn't bad. Tip #2: Krispy Kreme is across the street. If your kids received any free donut valentines, they expire 3/16. Brooke and I shared a free donut after the sale; a nice reward for both of us! Tip #3: If you missed this sale, don't worry. There are loads of others before Easter; follow Knoxmoms for details.

But back to my main mission. Before the consignment doors opened, I stopped at The Dollar Tree and A.C. Moore on Morrell Road. I wasn't too impressed with the Easter themed sticker choices at The Dollar Tree, but I was excited to see several packs of 100 autocollants (shiny) stickers already separated: Spider Man, Sponge Bob, Barbie, Disney Princesses, Thomas, and Scooby Doo--score! I picked up three packs to give whoever opened it something they'd like.

Next door, A.C. Moore had a good collection of 506 Easter stickers and 136 shiny cute insect stickers for $1 each (look near the registers). I'll have to cut these up, but I have a great variety now. I'll likely stash some away for art projects or maybe even next year's hunts.

Thankfully I have all the plastic eggs I need from buying after-Easter sales last year. So for just $5, I now have nearly a thousand stickers! That should do it. I'll miss having a stash of Dove chocolates to nibble on, but this is a far wiser choice for my bottom line and my bottom. ;-)

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