With the holidays coming up it’s nice to set aside some extra cash for activities or gift giving. This post from Ava Adams helps us do just that with awesome ways to save money on a tight budget this fall. Read on for her money saving tips to not only save money, but also celebrate Halloween and Christmas without breaking the bank.
As we transition from the summer to the fall, it’s a great time to save money. With back-to-school and the holidays around the corner, you may feel like you’re spending more than you’re saving. The good news is, you can still have fun during the fall months without blowing through your budget.
We’ve put together a list of ways to save money on a tight budget through all of the fall events and holidays. Read on and get ready to start saving money.
1. Savings on Back to School
Back to school time can be expensive, especially if you have multiple kids in school. You have to buy supplies, school clothes or uniforms, backpacks, and more. You may also have to purchase books or new tech for your kids, and many schools have fees you have to pay at the beginning of the year.
Before you go shopping for supplies and clothes, set a budget, and make it clear to your kids what you are willing to spend. That way, your kids will have a clear idea of what they’ll be allowed to get before you even go shopping, and you’ll be less likely to make impulse buys.
There are several ways to save money on all of the supplies and clothes your kids need. Keep an eye on the sales – most stores run back-to-school sales in the weeks leading up to Labor Day. Check websites frequently and sign up for store emails to know when you’re getting the best price.
If you don’t want to shop in person, shopping for school supplies, clothes, and tech online is always an easy option. Online stores often offer codes for a percentage off or free shipping, but it can be hard to know if you’re getting the best deal.
Pro Tip: Check out coupon and reward browser addons like Wikibuy and Honey. Wikibuy in particular has 3 million users and says it helped customers save $70 million last year.
2. Save on Halloween Fun
Halloween may be one of your kids’ favorite times of the year, but it can certainly put a strain on your wallet. Costumes get more expensive each year, along with the bags of candy you’ll need to hand out to all of the kids. You can save money on all the Halloween expenses without limiting your kids’ spooky fun.
Kids can go overboard when it comes to Halloween costumes. Some even insist on having multiple costumes each year – one for trick or treating, one for school, one for parties, etc. The first step to saving money is to set expectations for your kids. Let them know upfront how much you are willing to spend on a costume.
From there, you can get creative in how far you can make that money go. You can often find costumes for cheap in the clearance sections of costume stores or at your local thrift store. You can also do a costume exchange with family friends. And of course, there’s always the option of making a costume at home.
Halloween Candy on the Cheap
Halloween candy can get expensive, especially if you’re buying “the good stuff” and you live in a large neighborhood. You have a few options to save, though. You can buy in bulk, and remember to check out the regular candy that isn’t Halloween themed. It may not be as cute, but sometimes you can end up paying extra for the Halloween packaging.
If you want to be different, you could try handing out homemade baked goods; this strategy probably works best if you know your neighbors. You may also save by finding small toys or trinkets on clearance. Some kids get tons of candy and would like to have something different.
3. Stock Up on Freezer Meals
As hot summer days shift to cooler fall evenings, many of us start to crave the warmth and heartiness of soups and stews. Soups and stews cost less to make than many other dinners, helping you to save on food.
With school and extracurriculars starting back, not to mention the rush of the holidays, you may be tempted to eat out or get takeout, which can get expensive. Soups and stews make perfect freezer meals. It’s easy to spend a weekend afternoon prepping ten or more freezer meals to have on hand for those nights you don’t want to cook.
Fall is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market. Many people are trying to eat organic – even baby formula has organic varieties now – and a farmer’s market is a great way to save on organic fruits and vegetables while also supporting local businesses.
4. Start Thinking About Christmas
Once we enter the fall season, Christmas is right around the corner, and for many of us, it is the biggest spending holiday of the year. Whether your kids want a big-ticket item or just a load of toys, playing Santa can get expensive. No matter what gifts you plan to get your kids for Christmas, there are ways to save money on a tight budget while still bringing the Christmas magic.
As with every spending event, you should first set your budget and stick to it. If you have a limited budget, get your kids to rank their lists, so you’ll know which items to get first. Try to buy gifts early so that you avoid those last-minute impulse purchases that can blow your budget.
If your kids want a big-ticket or hard-to-find item, it’s best to start early. If you can predict the trends, you may find the item on sale. At the very least, you’ll avoid the inflation that usually comes with finding those out-of-stock toys a few days before Christmas.
An Alternative to Lots of Christmas Gifts
You also have the option of doing more of a minimalist Christmas. This year is a great time to reset, especially if you feel like your priorities have shifted away from Christmas’s true meaning. Explain to your kids that you plan to shift from heaps of gifts to spending time together as a family. They may be disappointed, but they will appreciate it later.
5. Have Fun for Free (or Almost Free)
Fall is a time for fairs, festivals, and other fun events. Naturally, your kids are going to want to go to everything they possibly can, but if you’re not careful, these things can get expensive. You may not be able to do it all, but there are many events you can do on a budget.
Lots of fall festivals and markets are free to the public. You can check out your town’s website or Facebook page to see what’s going on each weekend. In some areas, you can have something free to do every week. Even street fairs that sell things can be fun for your family to walk around and look.
Many fairs and other paid events have certain days where admission and ticket prices are lower. If you and your kids enjoy going to fairs or carnivals, you can check weeknights where tickets are usually cheaper. Many fairs also have a wristband night where you can pay one price and ride all of the rides. These nights are often less expensive than paying for each ride by ticket.
6. Decorate on a Budget
Autumn is full of holidays for which you will want to decorate. Unfortunately, decorating can get expensive, especially if you’re buying everything at full price. You don’t have to sacrifice a beautifully decorated home simply because you are trying to save money.
If you want to buy some Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas decorations, there are a few strategies to help you save. You may have to be patient, but you can get some great stuff at some deep discounts if you wait until after each holiday. You will have to wait until the next year to use your new decorations, but you can get so much more for your money.
Another option is to buy used items. Many thrift stores and online sellers get holiday decorations in excellent condition, again at deep discounts. Check out places like eBay and Facebook Marketplace to find some fantastic deals.
Dollar stores are perfect for finding cheap decorations, and many of these stores get high-quality items. Make sure to hit stores up at the beginning of the season as these decorations can go quickly.
One of the best options is to make your own decorations. You can save money on a tight budget, as it is generally cheaper to buy the supplies you’ll need to make things. There are so many great places online with detailed instructions for making professional-looking decorations.
You can also get your kids involved with making decorations. Many kids love doing crafts, and you can turn this activity into family bonding and memories. Decorations are so much more special when homemade, and your kids will love taking out their creations to decorate each year.
You can have a great fall, even if your family is on a tight budget. You don’t have to sacrifice fun or cause financial stress in the name of saving money. As long as you are creative and find ways to save money on a tight budget, you can create wonderful memories with your family.
Ava Adams writes for Little Bundle covering parenting, nutrition, and healthcare. She enjoys helping parents create lasting bonds with their children and is a mother to two young boys herself.