October, with its falling leaves, gorgeous hues, and crisp, cool air, is one of my favorite months of the year. But between Halloween, winter clothing purchases, and my favorite seasonal outings (apple picking, the pumpkin patch, a winery trip for mom and dad) it can also be a pretty expensive one.
Is it possible to enjoy all that October has to offer without dipping into our savings? Yes — we just need to have a plan.
1. Hit the Clearance Racks
Sure, there's a lot of summer stuff on there, but there's also a lot of back-to-school merchandise that retailers need to clear out too. With most schools starting in August (and back-to-school shopping season starting months before that), jeans have already been on store shelves for a long time.
This is great news for frugal shoppers, because if your kids need winter wardrobe staples, you can find them now at some really great prices.
2. Eat Seasonally
Save money on groceries by buying seasonal produce that is available in abundance. Skip the $6 strawberries and instead opt for October favorites like apples, pumpkins, squash, spinach, and sweet potatoes. If you can harvest some of these from your own garden, your savings will be even bigger.
3. Don't Buy Halloween Costumes
Store bought costumes may be convenient, but they can also add to your October spending. Don't worry, the kids can still dress up for Halloween — you just need to dig deep into your bag of tricks. Create costumes out of items you already have, head to a local costume swap, or let them wear the same costume they wore last year.
Think outside the box and you'll be amazed how many ways you can come up with to save money on Halloween costumes.
4. Start Your Holiday Shopping
Yes, it sounds counterintuitive to spend money when your goal is to save it, but early holiday shopping can save you big bucks in the long run. Layaway is already available in stores like Walmart, and Toys 'R Us has announced that it will expand its price match guarantee to online retailers. Start planning and shopping now, and you'll save yourself the headache of costly, last-minute impulse purchases later.
5. Plan Plenty of Free (or Cheap) Family Fun
October weather in most parts of the country is perfect for spending outdoors. Make plans for lots of family hikes and picnics, and look for fall festivals in your area. Skip the pricey pumpkin patch in favor of a smaller, local farm. If you visit a winery, see if you can pack your own food, or invite some friends to help offset the costs.
There's plenty of low-cost fall fun to be had indoors as well. Bring the kids in the kitchen and make your own apple pie instead of buying one at the store. Search your closets for old flannel shirts and try making a festive scarecrow for your front porch. No matter what you choose to do, focus on making family memories rather than spending your hard-earned money on "stuff" you probably don't need anyway.
How do you save money in October? Are you already shopping for Christmas?