The cooler nights and shorter days bring in the transition from summer to winter. Aside from holiday expenses associated with Halloween and Thanksgiving, the fall months are a good time to double down on spending before the end of year shopping begins.
Here are five easy ways to save money this fall:
1. Use Meal Prep Strategies
For the first time, consumers spend more money eating out than at the grocery store. Meal Prepping is a trend that can save you time and money while allowing you to eat healthier.
The goal of meal prepping is to pre-plan menus for quick meals on the go. When you plan meals around grocery store specials, you can save even more. Grocery stores are now offering pick-up services, allowing you to shop online, pick up the food on your way home, and spend a couple of hours preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinners for the week. The process provides both cost and time savings.
For those who hate to cook, buying meals through a meal service or getting prepared foods at the grocery store can still save time and money, compared to the cost of a restaurant meal, although you will lose some savings for the convenience.
Soups and crock pot meals are another way to serve healthy meals with very little time in the kitchen.
2. Invest in a Coffee Machine
Coffee shops charge $5 or more for specialty drinks, which can cost over $1,800 over the course of a year. A cappuccino or espresso machine might cost a couple of hundred dollars, but could save you thousands if you drink coffee or tea daily.
3. Decrease Impulse Spending
When the day gets away from you, it is easy to overspend. Whether the kids are sick, you had to work late, or the weather turns, your mood affects spending habits. For example, bad weather can make you stir crazy and result in impulse spending when you get out of the house.
To combat the impulse to spend outside of your budget, create a “Bad Day” spending jar using spare change or a “Bad Day” box with board games, a deck of cards, popcorn, candy, crafts and other activities you can enjoy without any preparation.
Keep a frozen pizza or other quick meal in your freezer for days that do not go as planned.
4. DIY Projects
Simple DIY projects can lower the cost of decorating, create innovative Halloween costumes, and lower other costs associated with the fall. Peruse websites like Pinterest for ideas on how to use everyday items and create something that feels new and different.
For instance, fall décor can include simple everyday things like pine cones, dried leaves, or berries. Interesting projects can come from everyday things such as yarn, paper towel rolls, water bottles, spray paint, wine bottles, magazines, balloons and so forth.
5. Make Socializing Affordable
Entertainment is a part of life you might not want to compromise on because it brings you joy. However, there are ways to enjoy socializing within a budget. For example, instead of meeting friends for dinner, meet at a location promoting a happy hour and half price appetizers. You might also consider inviting friends to dinner, with everyone bringing a dish. You get the socializing without the high cost.