One spring day a few years ago, Al Krautsach of Whitehall took a good look at the Christmas tree sitting in his back yard waiting to be discarded. He noticed most of the needles were still green and what popped into his mind proves he is a bona-fide cheapster.
"You pay $45 for a tree, you may as well get another use for it," Al said.
He had at it with some spray paint, wrapped it with ribbons and adorned it with those bright colored plastic Easter eggs. The result wasn't just a re-purposed decoration, it also fit the theme of the season.
"It's a resurrection tree," Al said.
The presentation of the Easter tree each year has become a tradition in Al's neighborhood. Friends come by, many wearing Easter bonnets, to snap photos and let their children appreciate a true masterpiece.
There's more to this story than saving money.
Al started the tradition for his wife of 54 years, Geri. She enjoys decorating for the holidays. But she was recovering from surgery and couldn't do it that year. So Al secretly got to work creating his first Easter tree.
"I put it in the back yard for my wife," Al said. "She was having a bad time and she loves to decorate for the holiday. I set it up, I lifted the shades and she saw the tree in all of its brilliance and she liked it. So now we moved it out front here and we're showing it to the world."
Some of you are probably looking for tissues right now, or maybe checking the backyard for an old Christmas tree.
You can hear more from Al about his tree in a video at mcall.com/onthecheap. We especially love the bonnet on top.
We did some number-crunching in the On The Cheap lab and figure you could save $599.60 over 20 years if you re-purposed an old Christmas tree rather than buying a bouquet of Easter tulips.
Americans are looking for ways to save on Easter. The typical person celebrating this year will spend $137.46 on candy, flowers, decorations and other items, down from $145.13 a year ago, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
And Al is thinking about getting one more holiday out his tree.
"Maybe on the Fourth of July," Al said. "We'll paint it red, white and blue, hang firecrackers on it and blow it up."
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Cheapster: Al Krautsach
Tip: Recycle old Christmas tree into an Easter tree
Estimated savings: $599.60 over 20 years