Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love being outside in the crisp fall air. I love wearing sweaters and baking. I love the anticipation of the snowfall (if not the actual snowfall!) and the holiday season.
I also love that with the kids going back to school, the fall always feels like a fresh start. It’s a time to revisit our routines and make course corrections. It’s a time to refocus on our goals. It’s also a great time of year to make a few smart money moves.
5 Smart Money Moves You Can Make This Fall
Freeze or can your garden harvest or cheap in-season produce. Now’s the time to preserve all the yummy things you’ve grown over the summer. In-season produce like pears, apples, and pumpkins can be turned into things that can be used all year round. It’s time to take out that canner, Crock-Pot, and food dehydrator and put that tasty bounty away for the long winter. You’ll enjoy the freshness and you’ll enjoy it at a fraction of the cost that you’d pay during the off-season. That’s a big plus when grocery prices keep going up, up, up.
Get your house ready for winter. Fall is the perfect time of year to make some improvements. Adding caulk and weatherstripping to keep the heat in and the cold out is a low-cost investment that will lower your utility costs. Installing a programmable thermostat now allows you to lower your heating bill this winter. Adding insulation to your home can also cut your costs. Make sure your gutters are cleaned and the roof is in good shape. A little bit of work now, can add up to big savings later.
Sign up for flexible spending plan. Many employers offer a flexible spending plan that allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical and childcare expenses. This is a great way to save for these expenses and save money on your taxes, too. Watch for open enrollment information in September and October and be sure to ask your human resources department for information about these plans.
Start saving for the holidays. The holidays will be here before you know it, so make a list of what you’ll need to buy, make a budget, and start saving. The earlier you start, the less stress (and expense!) you’ll face in December. How do you save? Set aide a little bit of money each week (like money you save with coupons). Sell a few items on Craigslist. Sign up for Swagbucks or do online surveys to raise some extra cash.
Plan free and low-cost entertainment for the family. Being stuck inside when the weather is cooler can do a number on your finances. It’s all too easy to sit at home and start online shopping or decide to go out to a movie or out to eat because you’re bored. Come up with free and low-cost entertainment to keep you occupied during the indoor months. Puzzles, board games, and crafts can keep you busy. A trip to your library can provide your family with all kinds of free entertainment. Check for community activities your family can do for free or cheap.
This list is just the beginning of the smart money moves you can make this fall. Start now with these moves and you’ll be ready for whatever winter brings.
Great tips! I especially love #4, saving for the holidays early! I was able to do this last year (started saving for Christmas in the early fall) and it made a world of difference; not having to say ‘no’ to outings or parties and being able to give good gifts without cringing!