Once your calendar shows that it’s almost the end of August, that is as good a time as any to prepare yourself for the fall season. You can start putting away those summery clothes and replace them with sweatshirts, jeans and hoodies. You should also prepare your palate to consume pumpkin or apple-flavored goodies.
At the same time, fall is one of the most colorful seasons of the year so your time is best spent outdoors. After Labor Day and just before the kids go back to school, you can spend the weekends enjoying barbecue parties or community activities. You can go camping, college-scouting, parks visiting or hiking. You can also enjoy farmers’ markets, harvest festivals, outdoor concerts and neighborhood events.
Amidst all these fall activities, your expenses as an individual or a family are bound to increase. Fall is that time of the year when you will be switching from using the air conditioning unit to the humidifier or heater as the temperature starts going down. This equates to bigger utility bills. The start of the school year means that the kids will also need money for their allowance, clothes and school-related activities.
You also need to set aside funds for the upcoming holiday season – which is one of the most expensive times of the year! If you have an average household income, how can you make sure that you have the money to spend for all these? Find out about our top ten tips on how you can save money during the fall season in the next section.
This Is How to Save Money This Fall Season in 10 Simple Steps
If your goal is to save money during the fall season, you can start by making a household budget. First, calculate how much income is actually coming into the household. Are both spouses working? Are you earning some extra money from part-time jobs or a freelance gig?
Next, determine what your monthly expenses are including utilities, rent or mortgage, loans payment, credit card bills, groceries, insurance premiums, etc. Make it a point to include saving for your retirement and the kids’ college fund as part of your budget. It’s even better if you can make room in your budget for an emergency or savings fund.
Your expenses while the kids are on vacation will definitely increase once they start going back to school, so you need to think of ways to save money during the fall season. Here are a few tips on how you can do just that:
1. Save money when getting the kids back to school
Depending on the number of school age kids that they have, parents would most likely spend a fortune prior to the first day of school. They would have to buy books, school clothes, bags, school supplies and other items that the teachers would require for the kids to have in class. Fortunately, most stores hold back-to-school sales during the months of August and September.
To save money for this, you can scout which stores hold back-to-school sales. You can also download an app on your smartphone or tablet computer to determine which online stores offer the lowest rates for school supplies.
If you have friends whose kids also go to school, go shopping together so that you can save money through bulk discounts. Clip out coupons and download discount codes or vouchers to save money on school supplies.
2. Save on your heating bills
As the fall season progresses to the start of the winter, the temperature will slowly go down. This means that almost half of your utility bills will go towards heating costs.
To make sure that you are not paying any more than you have to on utilities, make sure that your entire home is properly insulated. Before the arrival of winter, that is the best time for you to make sure that the gaps on the doors, windows, floors and ceilings are properly insulated.
When a room is heated up, the draft will not come in and you would not have to spend a lot of money on utility bills. You can also dress warmly inside the house, cook using a crock pot, use the oven to warm the kitchen when it’s really cold by baking something, and heating up only the most commonly used rooms in the house.
3. Spend as much of your time outdoors as possible
When the kids start getting busy at school, you will barely have time to bond with them during the weekdays – so that leaves you with part of the weekend to have some fun. The good news is that fall is that tie of the year when there are plenty of family activities to do outdoors. You don’t have to spend a lot of, or even any money because of the things you can do for free.
You can simply go outside your front lawn or backyard and rake in the leaves – which the kids can jump on. Push them around the neighborhood in a wagon, or you can plan apple picking or pumpkin picking activities together. The possibilities of what you can do outdoors are practically endless during the colorful fall season.
4. Find ways to maintain your vehicle during cold weather
Whether you are using your car occasionally or daily, it needs some extra maintenance especially when used during the colder months of the year. Prevention is better than cure so instead of waiting for the engine to malfunction, do some maintenance tasks like keeping your oil clean or making sure that the tires are properly inflated.
You can also have the car’s antifreeze checked along with the cold weather windshield wiper. Other things to check on include the snow tires or chains, the battery, the headlights or tail lamps and the brake pads.
5. Save money when travelling
If you must travel, know when to book flights so that you can get lower rates. Travel experts recommend booking flights at least six to seven weeks in advance. The same thing holds true for accommodations.
Instead of flying during the peak hours, check out the cheaper red eye flights. It is also cheaper to fly during weekdays instead of weekends, and you don’t always have to take one-way flights if connecting flights are cheaper.
6. Save money on groceries
When grocery stores or supermarkets hold sales on their products, online or magazine coupons are also abundant. To save money on groceries, get a hold of these coupons and take them with you on your next grocery shopping trip.
If you have a big family, you can plan your weekly menu around the items which are usually sold at discounted rates. Save time and effort by cooking dishes in batches, then simply heating the cooked food up the next time. This is especially useful once bad weather hits.
7. Boost your food supply by going fruit-picking
Apple picking and pumpkin picking are two of the most popular family activities during the fall season. There are plenty of recipes that you can come up with using apples and pumpkin as the main ingredients. Download recipes for pies, muffins, soups, fruit preserves, jams, etc. This is a great way to boost your food supply without having to spend a lot of money.
8. Save on family outings during the fall season
Since you are already spending a significant amount money on your kids’ school-related expenses, you don’t have to allot as much money on family outings. Think of family bonding activities that will not require you to spend anything. How about having a family movie night? Bask in the colors of the fall season by planning a picnic or a hike and collecting autumn leaves or fallen pine cones.
Check out the local calendar in your community because most cities or towns hold free concerts, farmer’s markets, festivals and sporting events where there is cheap or free food, product stalls and plenty of things to see and do as a family which will not require you to spend so much.
9. Purchase out-of-season items
Instead of buying swimsuits right before the summer season arrives, you can save a lot of money by purchasing them during the fall season. This is when most stores get rid of the out-of-season items that they have, so you can get great bargains for the next summer season.
10. Do your own garden maintenance
Finally, you can do your own garden maintenance during the fall season to save money. In the garden, you can bag your own leaves. Winterize some of your plants and clean up your flower or vegetable gardens. Start a compost pile so that you can reuse those fallen leaves, Jack-o-Lanterns and other Halloween décor.
Fall may sound like a really expensive season because it signals the beginning of the school year. But when you know which areas you can save on, you don’t have to pay any more than you have to on purchases. By following these tips, you can save money this fall and enjoy the beautiful season so the fullest.