Valdosta Daily Times

October 27, 2013

You’re only as good as the candy you hand out

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Last week, I told you skimp your spending on a Halloween costume without skimping the amount of material involved to cover your body. Ironically, the tiniest (and I don’t mean size XS) always seem to be the most expensive. While the costume is important, any well-seasoned Halloween enthusiast knows that it’s all about the sugar rush, baby!

While costumes are definitely at the top of the list for Halloween expenses, households typically spend more money on candy than on anything else. If you don’t start your candy buying a couple of months before October, you can get stuck paying double the price for M&M’s just because they have a Jack-O-Lantern plastered on the bag. So, I’m going to strap on my special Halloween edition budgeteer superhero cape and tell you ways that I have learned to save money on candy over the years.

Halloween is the only holiday where procrastination pays off

Hopefully, you haven’t bought all your candy just yet. In fact, if you wait to buy candy until you read this article on Sunday, then you are in great shape. Stores are so desperate to get Halloween merchandise off their shelves by the end of October because they are already trying to make room for Christmas. Candy typically goes on sale at most retailers just a few days before Halloween.

Trust me; there are way more tricks than treats on Halloween

Bulk-size or “family”-size candy bags are like Halloween shopping landmines. They are specifically placed in the candy aisle to deceive unsuspecting shoppers. People think that “value” size really means they are getting more bang for their buck, but that is not always the case. The best way to figure out the best deal is to price out the number of individually wrapped candies per bag. For example, if a bag of candy costs $5.50 and has 50 fun-size candy bars, then the price per candy bar would be 18 cents. You just take the total cost of the bag and divide it by the number of candies in the bag. Once you have determined the price per candy of the bulk-size bag, go to the regular-size bag and do the same thing. For example, if the regular size bag is $2.50 and there are 25 fun-size candy bars, then the price per candy would be 10 cents. Therefore, it would actually be cheaper for you to buy two regular-size bags at $2.50 per bag at a total cost of $5, than to buy the “value” bag for $5.50.

In this instance, chocolate is not the answer (not applicable to most other instances)

If the candy has chocolate in it, it’s going to be more expensive than other candies. Instead, go with lollipops, bubble gum, Tootsie Rolls or other sticky candy that is basically nothing more than dyed and congealed sugar. For example, at most large retailers, a bag of fun-size Snickers is roughly $5 and only contains about 18 pieces, but you can get a bag of 70 Dum Dum Original Lollipops for less than $3. Trust me, if it’s made of sugar, a kid will eat it. If not, they will use it as a bargaining tool to get more candy they do like ... And that, my friend, is not your problem. You put the candy in the bag, end of game.

DIY candy is not cheaper and is just flat out dangerous!

In most cases, anything you can make yourself is cheaper; however, that is not the case for Halloween candy. Once you buy everything you need to make the treat coupled with everything you need to package it, you are reaching far beyond what a bag of candy would cost. Plus, now days, people are crazy and that’s why I wasn’t allowed to eat anything homemade. My mom would chuck homemade items right in the trash and so would most other parents. So, save yourself the time and the money and just go buy overpriced sugar like the rest of us.

Well my spooky little budgeteers, that’s all I have for you this week. If this article caught you too late, here’s something to make you feel better: The day after Halloween, most candy goes on sale between 50-75 percent off! So go ahead, eat your feelings. You may have royally messed up your candy Halloween budget this year, but I won’t hate you for it ... Like any good leader, I will only judge you. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook at and follow me on Twitter @BudgetBrittany.