Did summer and back-to-school shopping kill your budget? Yeah, we get that. But now it’s September and we can make a brand new financial start. It’s time to shop smarter and live more financially sound, now and for the rest of our lives. Plus, we get to teach our kids how to be budget wise from an early age.

1. Shop Summer Clearance

It can be tough to figure out what your kids will fit into or what they will want to wear once next summer comes around. If you’d rather not buy for next year, then buy for right now. September, and even the first half of October, are still fairly warm, even in the Northeast. Combine clearance sales and store coupons and you can score some great new outfits for your children (and yourself) as we head into the fall season.

2. Freezer Meals and Crock Pots

This is a busy time of year for families. School is back in session, along with afterschool sports. With that crazy schedule comes the rush for dinner. Don’t fall back on expensive take out and restaurant nights. They will blow a hole right through your wallet. Instead, stock up on freezer meals, either store bought or made by you. Toss them in the crock pot in the morning and you’ll be good to go.

3. Free Coffee

The best way to save money on your morning caffeine is to make it yourself at home. And not the expensive K-cup version, but the good, old-fashioned coffee pot set on a timer to brew right when you need it in the morning. Then, after a month of saving cash by making your coffee at home, celebrate with a free coffee from your favorite establishment on September 29 when most chains will be giving away a free cup for National Coffee Day.

4. National Park Fun

September 26 is National Public Lands Day. What does that mean for you? It means you and the family can visit the National Park of your choice for free. 

More Free Fall Fun

Fall offers a ton of fun for families, but besides that annual fair, many of them are very cheap, even free. Check out our list for some great ideas.

It isn’t that difficult to save money, you just have to be tenacious. Small changes in how you eat and how you get your coffee can help you save cash for an emergency fund or next summer’s vacation.