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39 Clever Ways Families Can Save Money This Fall

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Are you looking for some ideas on how to save money this fall?

Fall is hands-down my favorite season, for so many reasons.

The weather cools down, pumpkin spice everything is everywhere and there are so many fun fall events to check out. We get back into our homeschool routine and there are lots of birthdays and of course, the holidays to start planning for.

Fall is lots of fun but it’s also a great time to save some money. So to help you make the most of the autumn season, check out this awesome list of money-saving ideas for fall!

39 Ways to Save Money This Fall as a Family

save money this fallThis list is a little long so to help you, I’ve broken the money-saving tips into categories. You can read straight through or skip around using the table of contents. Happy saving!

Save Money at Home

1. Open the windows

Where we live, fall is that in-between time when we’re not running the A/C or the heat. If yours is about the same, you can save money this fall by opening the windows to let in a breeze instead.

Your house gets aired out and you cut down on your electric bill. It’s win-win!

2. Seal leaks around windows and doors

Air leaks around windows and doors can make your heat pump work harder in winter. Invest a few bucks in caulking or weather stripping to close up the cracks. This is another simple way to save on utilities in the fall.

3. Get your HVAC serviced

If you’re not running the heat yet, consider investing a few bucks in a professional servicing of your HVAC system.

The company I use charges around $120 but they check the system thoroughly to make sure it’s running properly. And that’s worth it in winter because the system doesn’t have to work overtime (which drives up your heating bill.)

4. DIY fall decor

I love decorating for fall but I don’t love spending a lot of money to do it. When my kids were small, our fall decor mostly consisted of art projects they made using leaves, acorns and construction paper.

Look around the house (or the yard) to see what you have on hand that you can use to decorate. And if you have to spend money on craft supplies, check out Dollar Tree.

It’s my go-to spot for frugal shopping and they now offer free shipping to your local store!

5. Practice the 5 R’s

I’m not going to lie–I have a serious case of climate change anxiety. So at my house, we’ve adopted the 5 R’s:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repurpose
  • Recycle
  • Rot (which means composting)

This helps us save money because we’re not buying things we don’t need anymore. And it helps cut down on waste because we throw way less stuff away.

6. Review your household budget

Fall is a great time to go over your budget. One thing you might try to save money this fall is negotiating a better deal from your service providers.

For example, you might be able to ask your car insurance or homeowner’s insurance company for a lower rate. Another money-saving tip is to get rid of certain expenses altogether.

For example, I used to spend $120 a month on cable but I was able to cut that down by getting a Roku and streaming everything. What we pay now for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu is a fraction of what we used to pay for cable.

Try Trim Financial Manager to find savings on household expenses. Trim reviews your spending and helps you fight bank fees, eliminate unused subscriptions and negotiate better rates on your bills.

7. Check open enrollment

If you or your spouse have insurance benefits at work, the fall open enrollment period could be an opportunity to save some money.

Go over your coverage and look at what you’re paying as a family for the premiums and co-pays. Then compare your options for changing your plan to see if you can make it any more affordable.

8. Declutter and sell your stuff for cash

As you’re putting out your fall decor and getting the house ready for winter, take some time to declutter.

Go room by room and see what you have on hand that you can reuse or repurpose for the season so you don’t have to buy anything new. Then, sell off your extra stuff that’s still in good shape.

Bonus tip: Donate what can’t be sold to charity and make sure you get a receipt. You can claim the donation as a deduction when you file your taxes to save money in the spring.

9. Make yard work a family affair

When there are leaves everywhere, it’s tempting to hire someone else to rake them up. But if you want to save money this fall, you’re better off tackling it yourself.

At my house, we make it a family fun day. Block off one Saturday when everyone goes out to rake up leaves and bag them up. (And of course, spend a little time jumping in the piles. )

10. Make your own cleaning products

Cleaning supplies can get pricey, not to mention a lot of them are packed with chemicals. You can save money this fall by making your own cleaning supplies at home.

The best part is, you probably already have the ingredients you need. Vinegar, baking soda and some essential oils can get you started.

If you’re looking for DIY cleaning supply recipes, check out these posts:

pumpkins and leaves

Save Money on Food

11. Meal plan and prep

Fall is one of my favorite times for eating seasonally. Squash, sweet potatoes, apples and duh, pumpkin, abound at this time of year.

An easy way to save money this fall is to base meal plans around in-season foods that are on sale. If you need fall meal planning ideas on the cheap, check out eMeals or $5 Meal Plan.

12. Shop the farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets typically close in mid- to late fall so you’ll want to visit yours sooner, rather than later. Look for specials on in-season foods or discounts on “ugly” fruits and veggies.

13. Break out the crockpot

Fall and winter are when our crockpot sees the most action. A tasty way to save money this fall is to take all those seasonal foods you’ve bought and whip up some crockpot meals.

This is a huge-time saver and a money-saver since you can batch cook and make enough to last for the whole week. Check out these post for some amazing fall crockpot recipes:

14. Buy in bulk and start canning

Another way to make use of seasonal foods in fall is to can them. Now, I’ve done canning before and here is my best tip: read the directions.

My first attempt at making jelly resulted in some super sugary syrup instead because I didn’t read the directions carefully. 🤦‍♀️

You might have to spend a few bucks upfront for jars and lids. But you can save money all fall and winter by eating your own fresh canned foods instead of buying them from the store.

15. Eat less meat

Eating less meat is a simple way to save money this fall and with so many great veggie and fruit-based recipes to try, why not?

You don’t have to go totally vegetarian. Having meatless Mondays once a week is enough to start saving some money.

16. Start an indoor herb garden

If you like cooking with fresh herbs, a great trick for saving money is to grow your own. You don’t need a lot of space to start a kitchen herb garden or a lot of money to get started either.

Check out this guide for starting an indoor herb garden from Kitchen Confidante.

17. Make fall get-togethers potluck

Fall is great for spending more time with friends and family. If you’re planning any family get-togethers, ask guests to contribute something to the menu.

You get two benefits: a variety of dishes and you don’t have to blow your budget paying for all the food.

18. Use your grocery store’s pick-up service

When our local Walmart first introduced online ordering with in-store pick-up, I was skeptical. But once I tried it, I was hooked!

Here’s why ordering groceries online is so great: it’s much easier to avoid those impulse buys that add to your total bill.

If you’ve ever been grocery shopping with kids you know exactly what I mean. It’s definitely worth a try to save money this fall, plus you save time since you’re not wandering up and down the aisles.

19. Take advantage of kids eat free nights

Sometimes you can’t always cook at home. There’s a birthday or you’re late getting back from soccer or something else comes up and it’s just easier to go out to eat.

You can still save money though, by taking advantage of kids eat free nights. Here’s a great list of 100+ restaurants that offer kids eat free promotions to help you save!

20. Make fall drinks at home

If you just have to have your spiced pumpkin latte or white hot chocolate fix, why not learn to make it at home?

There are tons of recipes for warm fall drinks you can try and they won’t cost you $5+ each time you take a sip.

Save Money on Shopping

21. Stock up on end of season clearance

Early fall is a good time to grab summer items at a steep discount. You can also score deals on school supplies, since those end up getting marked down by late September.

November is when I look for savings on fall and Halloween items. In years past, I’ve saved a ton on everything from Halloween costumes for my son (who likes to cosplay) to fall decor to candles.

22. Use cash back apps to save money

Cash back apps are a life-saver any time of year but they’re especially great in the fall.

You can use these apps to save on everything from shopping to groceries to travel and earn money back on what you spend. If you need some cash back app recommendations, here are my favorites:

Ibotta

The Ibotta app pays you cash when you shop at their lengthy list of partner stores. You shop, snap a photo of your receipt, then upload it to the app to get cash back.

Rakuten

Rakuten lets you can earn cashback when you shop in-store or online and I just love it! If you download the Rakuten Chrome browser extension you can pile up even more savings using exclusive coupon codes.

TopCashback

TopCashback is another cash back site similar to Rakuten. You shop deals through the site and earn back a percentage of what you spend. It’s a hassle-free way to get extra cash for purchases you were already planning to make.

Dosh

The Dosh app is an easy way to earn cash back when you shop online. You link a debit or credit card to the app, spend at partner stores and restaurants and get up to 10% back every time.

Honey

Honey is a browser extension that finds deals and savings for you, then applies them automatically. This one is great for getting the best deals on everything you buy online, including Amazon.

fall pumpkins and blankets23. Check out consignment and thrift stores for fall clothes

Consignment stores and thrift stores were a life-saver for me when I first became a single mom. I had a very tight budget and I couldn’t afford to hit the mall or shop online for new clothes every time my kids outgrew theirs.

If you don’t normally frequent the consignment or thrift store circuit, consider giving it a try. You might be surprised at how you can save money this fall by buying gently used clothes.

24. DIY Halloween costumes

While you’re browsing the thrift stores, look for finds you can use to make Halloween costumes.

We stopped buying Halloween costumes a few years ago and started making them instead. It saved us money and it’s fun working together to make a completely unique costume.

25. Shop yard and estate sales

Spring and summer are usually peak yard sale season where we live but there are still sales in fall as long as the weather holds out.

If you’re going to try yard or estate sales to save money, make sure you know what you’re looking for first. If you go just to look for deals, you might end up spending money on things you don’t really need.

26. Try a no-spend weekend

A no-spend challenge can be helpful for getting your budget back on track. If the fall season has got you spending more than usual, try a short-term spending diet.

Put the brakes on spending for a weekend. If you can go for a week or longer, that’s even better for saving.

27. Plan your holiday budget early

If you don’t have your holiday budget together yet, it’s time to get one!

Making your holiday spending budget as early as possible gives you plenty of time to plan and save. Look at what you spent last year, then list out what you think you’ll spend money on for the holidays this year.

Then, set up a separate savings account to hold that money until you need it. I like CIT Bank because they pay a stellar interest rate on savings. Check out my CIT Bank review to learn more!

28. Check your email settings

If you’ve signed up for all your favorite stores’ email lists, then fall is when your inbox starts getting bombarded with special flash sale announcements, promo codes and discounts.

That could be a good thing if you want to save money this fall. But it could be a bad thing if you’re spending money just to snag those deals.

So check your email settings and decide whether you want to get those emails or not.

29. Use a price protection app to shop

You know what stinks? Buying something, then seeing it advertised for a lower price somewhere else.

Luckily, there’s an app for that to save you money. Paribus helps you get refunds for things you buy online if you find them cheaper elsewhere.

Paribus is totally free–you don’t have to link a credit card or anything to use it. It’s a no-brainer way to save money on shopping in the fall or any time!

30. Be choosy about using credit cards to spend

Credit cards can help you save money if you’re earning cash back on purchases. But they can land you in debt if you don’t have a plan for paying it off.

If you need a recommendation for a credit card, check out Credit Sesame. This is the site I use to monitor my credit for free and they also offer personalized suggestions for credit cards based on your credit profile.

It’s free to sign up–no credit card needed, so give it a try!

31. Get free shipping for holiday purchases

If you’re already starting your holiday shopping, you can easily save money by taking advantage of free shipping promotions.

Just don’t get lured into the minimum spending requirement trap. This is where you have to spend a set amount to qualify for free shipping.

One work-around is to have the item shipped to the store, then pick it up instead. This is free and you can stick to spending only what you budgeted.

Save Money With Kids

fall savings hacks for families32. DIY fall crafts and cards

I’m all about doing crafts with my kids and making cards from things we have around the house. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon while spending little to no money. (Dollar Tree, remember?)

Some of my favorite things to do with my kids when they were younger included apple stamping and leaf rubbings. These posts have even more great ideas for free (or cheap) fall crafts for kids:

33. Attend free fall events

I love doing fun things with my kids for free. Where we live, that includes fall harvest festivals, free Halloween events, holiday craft markets and movies in the park at night.

Check out what’s happening in your area to see what kind of frugal fun you can have as a family.

34. Go apple or pumpkin picking

Sadly, we don’t live anywhere near an apple orchard. But if you do, taking the kids out for the day to pick apples is cheap fun (plus, you can stock up on apples for all that canning you plan to do!)

35. Volunteer

Fall and the build-up to the holidays is the perfect time for volunteering as a family. And it doesn’t cost you anything but your time.

One thing my family does every year with our homeschool group is make fall-themed cards. Then, we go as a group to a local nursing home to hand them out.

It brightens up the residents’ spirits and giving back makes for a fun day for us, too.

36. Take a nature walk

There’s so much happening in nature during the fall season. Leaves are turning, the squirrels and birds are getting ready for colder weather. Taking a hike or nature walk together is perfect for making fall memories without spending money.

37. Look for deals on fall family travel

This fall, we’re heading to a major theme park for a belated birthday celebration for my daughter. So far, I’ve saved money on the trip by booking our passes at a 40% off discount and getting a deal on our hotel room.

If a fall getaway with kids is in the works, check out deal sites like Hotels.com or Expedia to find savings. And if you can’t afford to go somewhere, try a fall staycation at home instead!

38. Go backyard camping

Okay, so I am not the camping type. But if your kids are into sleeping under the stars, a backyard campout is a fun, money-saving fall activity you can plan.

You can roast marshmallows, tell spooky stories, count the stars–all without having to spend money.

39. Streamline your schedule

Kids’ activities are a budget-killer. Last year, we were doing sports, church, art classes, field trips with our homeschool group–it was a lot.

Some of those things were free but others weren’t. So if you’re trying to save money this fall with kids, take a second look at your schedule.

If doing all the things is leaving you exhausted and broke, think about cutting one or two things out. Your wallet (and your sanity) will thank you.

Bonus Savings Tip: Start a Fall Side Hustle!

So, I’ve given you lots of ideas for how to save money this fall but how about a few to help you make some money?

I am all about side hustles and fall is a great time to start a side gig, especially if you need to make extra money for the holidays.

So, what can you do as a side hustle? Here are a few of my favorite ways to earn some cash in your spare time:

The great thing about any of these side hustles is you can start them in fall and keep them going all year round to make extra money. If you need more side hustle ideas, check out my FREE Start a Side Hustle Checklist in the Resource Library!

save money this fall

How Are You Planning to Save Money This Fall?

Fall is the perfect time to slow down and enjoy the season before the holiday shopping frenzy sets in.

Do you have an awesome tip for saving money during the fall? Drop a comment and tell me about it!

Then please pin and share this post with someone else who could use some fall money-saving tips!

Sharing is caring!

Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach busy moms how to save money, make money and master their time! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help make the busy mom life easier!

Comments

  1. I am so excited to try almost everything on this list. My husband and I were just discussing tightening our belts in preparation for the holiday season. Thank you for compiling this list and sharing.

    • Same here! There are so many birthdays and holidays crammed in between September and December, it’s always a struggle. These tips can definitely help you save money this fall!

    • Thanks, Michelle! You’re right about the money adding up quickly, every year my Christmas budget just seems to grow and grow. Getting an early start and finding ways to save money in the fall can definitely help when it’s time to start shopping for the holidays.

  2. It is my favorite season and I love the abundance of colors and food that comes around this time of the year. Tons of free fall activities are a bonus if you have kids. This post has all kinds of tips in one place and I love that. Thank you for sharing. I love the images. Yellow and orange just makes me happy.

    • Thanks, Nadia! I love fall too, even though we don’t get a true fall here on the coast like the kind I experienced growing up in Virginia. But we try to enjoy as much free fall fun as we can to save money and get outdoors when the weather is cooler.

  3. Wow! This article is so in-depth. I love all the tips. Just yesterday I was talking to my husband about creating our own cleaning products, both for saving money and to stop buying plastic. Regarding food, I found planning a weekly menu and buying strictly the necessary items for the menu to be very cost-effective. We save about 150$ per month by doing this and we don’t throw food anymore which is a win-win. Thanks for the great article!

    • Thanks, Corina! Cutting down on a food waste is one of the things we’ve started doing to save money and be more eco-friendly. We’ve also started recycling actively, as our county seems to have a well-run program that makes sure things actually get recycled. It’s made a huge difference, waste-wise and budget-wise!

    • Thanks, Chris! Paribus is great for replacing the price protection benefit that so many credit card companies are rolling back now. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting the best price when you shop online.

    • We’re just now getting to the fall weather here on the NC coast–it’s been so hot! And yes, there are some good ideas here to save money this fall and all year-round too! Making your own cleaning products is a great place to start, definitely helps to keep things simple.

    • Wow, thanks Jenn! I write about money for a living but I also really enjoy saving money and making good decisions with it. So I’m happy to share my best tips and ideas in case anyone can benefit from them!

    • I would love to keep the windows open year-round but with 95+ temps in summer, it’s not realistic. Take a look at the cash back apps for sure and let me know if you come across any you think are great!

  4. Ohhhhh, ya. Getting my HVAC serviced has been on my to do list for 1… 2 years 😬. Thanks for the nudge! I’m putting it in Trello now! (Because let’s face it, if it’s not in Trello it doesn’t get done!)

    • Don’t worry, I need to get mine done too. I forgot to do it back in the spring so it’s definitely time to add it to the list since the weather is finally cooling down!

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