If you love all things spooky and creepy, you’re excited by the fact that Halloween is just around the corner. However, it can quickly derail your budget. In fact, the National Retail Federation found that the average household planned on spending $86.13 on Halloween. But if you’re not careful, you could end up spending even more.
Don’t let Halloween sidetrack your financial goals. Instead, follow these seven tips to save money on Halloween candy, costumes, and decor.
1. Set a budget
Sit down and come up with a budget you can afford. Start with how much money you can spend, then allocate money to each category, such as costumes or candy. If money is tight, even if you might only have $5 or so to spend on costumes, that’s okay! There are plenty of creative ways to create costumes on the cheap. The most important thing is to have a budget you’re comfortable with and stick to it.
2. Wait until the last minute to buy candy
Although you might be tempted to stock up ahead of schedule, waiting until the day before Halloween or even the day of could help you save. Retailers are quick to mark Halloween candy down to try and clear it out so they’re not stuck with heaps of it on their shelves. By waiting until the last minute, you could save as much as 50 percent.
3. Shop for secondhand costumes
Costumes for adults and kids can be expensive. Although you likely know to shop at thrift shops in order to put together a cheap DIY costume, there are other ways to snag affordable options.
One of the best ways is to search on Facebook’s marketplace or community sales pages. Many people clean out their closets in the fall and list last year’s costumes. You can get name-brand costumes — like Disney’s Elsa or Spiderman — for a fraction of what it would cost to buy the costume new.
4. Use discounted gift cards
Millions of people receive gift cards as presents each year. However, many of those gift cards go unused. If people don’t frequent the retailer the card is for, the card often sits in a drawer.
Some people opt to recoup some of the card’s value by selling them on sites like Raise or Gift Card Spread. By buying those discounted gift cards, you can save a significant amount of money.
For example, you could score a $100 Target gift card for just $80. You can use that card to buy candy, costumes, or decorations, helping you stretch your budget further.
5. Partner with neighbors
If your neighborhood gets a lot of trick-or-treating foot traffic, you likely need tons of candy. That can quickly add up, costing you a lot of money.
If that’s the case, consider teaming up with your neighbors. If one of you has a membership to CostCo, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s Wholesale Club, you can pool your money and buy candy in bulk. Buying such large quantities will end up being cheaper per person than buying individually, and you’ll have enough to keep all of the kids happy.
6. Enjoy free or discounted activities
Hayrides and haunted houses can be budget-breakers. But, you can still enjoy the holiday without going broke. Many communities and towns hold fall festivals and Halloween parties that are free of charge. You can use tools like EventBrite to find free events in your area.
If you decide to visit that haunted house, make sure you check Groupon before you leave. Some attractions offer significant discounts to fill up slow nights.
7. Use the dollar store for decor
Before forking over hundreds of dollars for Halloween decor at big-name stores, spend some time on Pinterest (try “Halloween dollar store decor” as a search term) for inspiration. Then, head to the dollar store. You can create beautiful decor with a little creativity and just a few dollars worth of supplies.
If you have children, you can make a fun family activity out of creating your own decorations.
Enjoying the holiday
If you love Halloween, but you’re on a budget, don’t fret — you can still have a fantastic holiday without blowing your paycheck. By following these tips, you can ensure you celebrate in style while staying within your means.
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