Cook hearty, seasonal meals. Squash, apples and roots are in plentiful supply this year, which means making roasted vegetables, pies and fruit crumbles has never been more affordable, either. Whether you pick you own at local farm or stock up at the grocery store, you can save.
Take advantage of fall sales. The back to school deals and Black Friday sales tend to grab the spotlight, but there are more under the radar discounts you can find if you know where to look. Halloween, Veterans Day and Small Business Saturday all feature steep discounts at participating stores.
Gear up for the holidays. Planning your holiday shopping list weeks and even months in advance is the key to staying within your budget. Make a list of your gift recipients, a budget, gift ideas and then actual gifts purchased. This level of organization prevents duplicate purchases and waste.
Protect your money. Scammers pick up the pace during the holiday shopping season. Be prepared. If you get an email that looks like it’s from your credit union or bank or a familiar retailer and it’s requesting information from you, treat it skeptically. Scam artists often operate by masquerading as a legitimate business and pursuing the victim to share personal information.
Enjoy the football season on a budget. Football season has started and rooting for your team can be a pricey hobby. Instead of stocking up on expensive apparel and blowing your budget on tailgating parties, buying team apparel in the offseason, getting you bit TV for watching games on Black Friday and hosting potlucks around the big games.
Prep your home. Cleaning out your furnace filter, making any necessary roof repairs and checking up on your insulation are all part of a smart and frugal plan for preparing your home for winter. To save money, you can tackle many of these tasks yourself, especially is you already have basic tool kit on hand. For safety, don’t forget to replace your smoke detector batteries, too.
Audit your normal spending. Most of us experience a big shock to our budgets over the holidays, but you can help prepare for the seasonal expenditures by reviewing your typical monthly spending carefully. If there are areas you can cut back, such as on restaurant meals or entertainment, then you’ll be able to manage the cost of gift purchases more easily.
Make your tax deadlines. The end of the year also mean deadlines are approaching for flexible spending accounts and other purchases and expenditures with tax implications. If you haven’t used up all your flex spending budget for health care, commuting or childcare costs, be sure to do so before it’s too late.
Save more for retirement. Maximize your contributions. If you’re not sure how much you’ve put into your retirement account for the year, you can check with your benefits provider and make necessary adjustments for this year limits.
Check up on your insurance policies. Disability and life insurance aren’t cheery topics but making sure you have all your essential paperwork and policies in place can help you relax and enjoy the season. Take time to make sure everything is up to date and you have the coverage you and your family need.
Getting Outdoors This Fall. The air is getting colder, the wind is picking up and your instincts are starting to tell you that it’s time to hunker down indoors. Don’t do it.
Fall is the best time of year to get outside and enjoy the fresh air before winter’s chill numbs your fingers. It’s a great time to get your kids some exercise and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Regions across the United States become playgrounds in the fall. Whether you are out raking leaves or building your first campfire, everything becomes more fun. Kids especially love to be outside exploring and trying new things as the weather cools down. The good news is that budget-friendly activities are as plentiful as apples in the fall…
- Visit a U-Pick – Fall is harvest season, which means there are plenty of opportunities to pick pumpkins, apples, pears, and blackberries, and to indulge in home baked apple pies and homemade apple cider.
- Take a Road Trip – Fall is best experienced in person, in the thick of the woods, so that you can use all your senses. Visit a local city, state or national park – take the drive, and step outside.
- Run a 5K, 10K or Marathon – Fall is a great time to get in shape for a challenging race because it’s far easier to run in colder weather. You’re also more likely to stay in shape over the winter season and keep off those holiday pounds if you establish a fitness routine in the fall.
- Plant Spring Bulbs – Plant the following bulbs in the fall for spring blooming: Tulips, Crocuses, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Irises & More.
- Go Tailgating – Create a football fund. One of the best ways to tailgate on a budget is to invite plenty of friends and ask them to bring drinks and a dish to share. Essential tailgating supplies include: A small grill, disposable plates, cups and utensils, garbage bags, table and chairs, a cooler, ice, water and soda, adult beverages, paper towels, a tent, music, FOOD.
- Volunteer – Your family can volunteer time to help seniors with fall chores. You might already know someone in your neighborhood that could use a helping hand. If not, contact your local senior center.
- Head to the Beach – Fall is a great time to visit the ocean because the summer crowds are gone, overnight accommodations and restaurants are usually cheaper by 25%+, and the temperatures are no longer sweltering. Another bonus is that fall storms frequently dredge up long-buried treasures like sea glass, which are easier to find when you are the only person on the beach.
- Other fun activities include – Visit a vineyard. Make S’mores. Visit a haunted house. Go Stargazing. Cook a meal over a campfire. Jump in a leaf pile. Collect pinecones and twigs to make a fall centerpiece for Thanksgiving. Go for a walk around the neighborhood with your kids. Visit a local Oktoberfest. Host an outdoor Thanksgiving this year. Take your kids fishing. Exercise or do yoga outdoors. Visit your local zoo. Play hide and seek.
Autumn will come and go before you know it, which is why trying to get outside and enjoy it is so important. Soon, you’ll be holed up indoors kicking yourself for not going apple picking when you had the chance. So, get out there. What is your favorite part of fall? Do you have any favorite activities you enjoy doing with your family?