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Mindaugas Danys, (c) 2007 "mdanys" via flickr
An egg that Mindaugas Danys' wife colored: She put some leaves around it and boiled it in the pot with some onion skin to get traditional dark brown color. Finally she put some oil onto it to make it shine.

Frugal families create habits of saving money — and often find cheaper living means more fun. Easter season gives people many opportunities to be thrifty.

Money Talks News pointed out that in 2012, "the National Retail Federation projected Americans would dish out an average of $145.28 for Easter, including everything from apparel and candy to food and decorations."

Some of the ways Money Talks News recommended to cut down on Easter expenses were not terribly fun, such as "skip the big stuff." This means remembering this is Easter, not Christmas. Instead of giving an iPod or new clothes, rather give a DVD or maybe sunglasses.

For more fun, Money Talk News suggests ideas such as making kid coupons ("Take out the trash pass" or "Cook my favorite dinner pass") and baking instead of buying treats like bunny-shaped cupcakes can save money.

Doing a few simple things yourself also changes the nature of the holiday from a commercial enterprise to a natural family holiday.

Helium.com recommends finding baskets at garage sales or trying online classifieds such as Craigslist (or KSL.com). It is better if the baskets are not store-bought because this gives children a chance to decorate their own with bows, ribbons and pastel paint.

In another article, Money Talk News says to avoid buying Easter egg dyeing kits, instead using white vinegar and food coloring. "The general rule is mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 cup of hot water, and then add drops of food color until you're happy with the hue," according to the article.

If people want to go more natural, there are several ways to color eggs like the pioneers — mostly involving tying onion skins and other non-poisonous green leaves (dandelions, carrot tops, etc.) around eggs and then boiling them. This "Backyard Farming" blog has a nice post on the subject from April 2011.

Going natural can go too far. The House Rabbit Society recommends against buying a bunny rabbit as a gift for a child, saying Easter and rabbits do not mix. Money Talk News reminds parents that "pet rabbits live about 10 years and cost about $7,000 (in food and upkeep) total."

Chocolate rabbits cost much less.

Email: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

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