Fun, Frugal, Fall
Autumn is the perfect time to cut costs and save some money before the holiday spending season begins.
Halloween is just around the corner, and before you know it, the holiday season will be in full swing. Nobody likes pinching pennies, but for the next 90 days, everyone’s finances will be put to the test. But with a little planning, you can set some money aside now instead of facing another winter maxing out credit cards and fearfully stalking your account balances. Here are a few ways to have fun, without breaking the bank.
We all know skipping the morning latte goes a long way towards reigning in unconscious spending, but what about impulse meals and lazy take out? Clipping coupons and crafting tasty sack lunches can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Plenty of websites and apps like Yummly offer meal plans and shopping advice.
All those resolutions will be waiting for you on January 1st, but if you want to get a head start on your workout routine, there’s no need to lay out a heap of cash for a gym membership or fancy equipment. With nothing more than a comfortable pair of shoes, you can get your heartrate up just cruising around your neighborhood. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can finally tackle that local hiking trail or volunteer as a dog walker at your local shelter. If you need a little more Zen in your life, there are plenty of free meditation and yoga apps like Daily Yoga available for all levels of experience, from guru to newbie.
Bright Lights, Big Nights
For many of us, entertainment claims a huge chunk of our paycheck. Netflix marathons can be a great inexpensive alternative to “movie-and-dinner” outings, but sometimes the nightlife beckons. If you’re lucky enough to live in moderately sized city, a peak at your weekly circular will surely include a plethora of free or almost-free options, from free movie screenings to lectures and art exhibits. Many museums provide free access one day of the month, and your local high school can help alleviate football fever for just a couple of bucks.
Don’t forget the mighty power of the potluck. Save the glitz and glamour for December’s flashy soirees, and spend those weeks before Thanksgiving spending quality time with loved ones. Instead of happy hour, invite friends over for a whiskey tasting or beer sampling, with everyone pitching with supplies. While it’s always exciting to let everyone pick their own food contribution, picking a theme (ethnic food, desserts, foods based on favorite films) is a way to liven up any friendly gathering.
When the bells start to jingle and the weather turns cool, party season ramps ups it’s easy to overspend. You can mitigate the damage of a freewheeling holiday season by cutting costs ahead of time. Autumn, with its reflective mood and slow pace, provides the perfect opportunity to save money and reduce spending.