Seasons of savings: tips to manage your budget in the fall

2022-10-11  4 minute read

Tina Powell

Lifestyle Debt

There’s something about autumn! Feeling a cooler shift in the air after a hot and busy summer can really perk a person up. But all that summer fun means vacations and back-to-school spending, so now is a good time to brush up on your finances and take part in affordable but effective fun.

Couple sitting at desk with calculator and laptop reviewing documents

Plan ahead for the holidays

With the holiday season fast approaching, now is a good time for a finance refresher to avoid over-spending in December. Review your budget regularly; track your spending so you can make small adjustments to it where needed. Whether that’s every day, once a week, or once per payday, keeping a focus on your spending has a dramatic, positive impact on your budget.

Sit down with your budget sheet and determine what money is coming in, and what you expect to come out as your regular monthly expenses such as your rent/mortgage, insurance, groceries, emergency fund, and phone and power bills. Anything left over can be put towards the upcoming holidays for gifts, extra food, and travel.

If you’re still feeling insecure about holiday spending even after adjusting your budget, it may be a good time to bring in a little extra cash by selling things you no longer use on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. It could be clothing, toys the kids have outgrown, old electronics, furniture, kitchen items — anything you’ve been meaning to get rid of but haven’t made the time yet.

Flip through flyers

This is always an obvious tip, but take advantage of sales, within reason. I say “within reason” because a sale is only good when it’s something you know you’ll use, and not buying something for the sake of it being on sale that ends up collecting dust.

Check flyers for grocery deals or coupons. Use apps like Flipp if you like to go paperless. Use social media and search for accounts that like to help people save money and share useful tips. You could find some great ways to use coupons on sale items AND gain loyalty points while you’re at it.

Flyers and coupons could also help with meal planning for the week. Planning in advance what you can make on a budget will not only help you save money, but will also curb you from making multiple trips to the grocery store or making impulse purchases. Go with a list, a budget, and food in your belly — we’ve all been guilty of over-buying when we’re hungry!

Streaming service clean-up

Do you love movies, TV, and music as much as I do? Then you probably use streaming services to have all that entertainment at your fingertips at all times. But are you using all of them? Most streaming services cost at least $15 a month, so if you have four services but only use one or two regularly, think about cancelling the other ones and pocketing those savings.

Roam the neighbourhood

Some budget-friendly activities take place very close to home. Consider neighbourhood activities to avoid expensive outings and fuel costs. This could be anything for both day or night, such as card nights, coffee or dessert at a new café, movie nights put on by your local library, or visiting a public garden before it’s closed for the winter. Follow your local community centre on social media or sign up for newsletters, as you never know what kind of events they’ll be putting on that are usually free and appropriate for all ages!

Autumn is also a fantastic time for visiting local farms, and this also makes a good low-cost day date with your loved ones. Maybe the farm has an orchard open for cheap apple picking, or they’ve harvested all their corn and have created a corn maze to get lost in. Maybe they grow pumpkins and you or the kids can pick the perfect one for your doorstep on Halloween.

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