So you’ve started budgeting. That’s great! Here are a few activities and expenses that might come up this season to make sure you have fun while still being frugal in the fall.
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Don’t Let School Expenses Derail Your Attempts to be Frugal in the Fall
Just because you bought the supplies doesn’t mean you’re done with school-related expenses. Below is a list of possible expenses that could come up. Whether or not you choose to spend money on these items is between your family and your budget; just be sure you don’t miss out on anything you want to do for your kids because you failed to budget.
PTA dues– If you are like me and want to be as involved as you can find time for you’ll probably consider joining. It was just $10 to support and join our school PTA. This was included in our back to school budget category in August. Since a lot of schools start in late August, early September the opportunity may come up this month for you.
T-shirts – You name it at school and chances are at some point they’re going to want you to buy a t-shirt or three. At $15 or more a pop you want to know your limit before your kids start asking if they can have one. We said no to ALL shirts last year, but will probably buy the shirts the PTA sells this year.
Fundraisers– Every year there is at least one fundraiser per semester at our school. Be prepared to say no or know what your budget says is enough before that order form gets thrust in your face by some sweet child.
If you do not feel like volunteering your money on shelf-stable cookie dough for example perhaps you could volunteer your time. There are lots of events that need volunteers. Chances are there is at least one you can make time for this school year.
Book Fairs – These are not cheap. I let my kindergartener take $5 of her own money with the only guideline being NO slime last year and she came home with very little change, an eraser shaped like licorice (which a visiting toddler did try to eat this summer-thank goodness it was too tough!) And a bookmark. Books are sometimes available for $1 but the majority I saw were $12 each. And it’s not just books; there are experiments, diaries, notebooks, craft kits… you name it they’re trying to sell your child one in the library. If your kid has their heart set on a book fair item be sure to check the price on Amazon! It may still make a great Christmas gift but you can still save yourself some money and feel frugal in the fall.
Sports/Extracurriculars– These add up fast! Know your budget and know your child. Don’t encourage or force your child into activities you know they won’t enjoy for the sake of socialization. And don’t feel like you have to say yes to form your kid brings home from school. Be sure to know the full commitment cost of extracurriculars prior to signing up! We felt quite shocked after six weeks of martial arts was up and the studio asked for $700 to continue. Thank, you next! That is not our idea of frugal.
Field Trips– These aren’t always free; sometimes the kids need a few dollars to cover something the school doesn’t. Oftentimes the teachers request lunches packed in which everything can be thrown away when they’re done. With older kids, they often take them out for fast food.
When summer winds down there are often harvest festivals, corn mazes, and other seasonal events to keep the family entertained. These are great activities for the kids! And they can be frugal fun outings! You don’t have to buy all the crafts or jams but events such as the Arkansas Apple Festival are so fun! Aside from parking, it’s free to attend!
They have parades with antique cars and tractors, as well as crafts, face painting, and food vendors… it is so fun just to walk around and see everything. $20 can keep a family of four entertained for a few hours including a yummy snack. Fresh apple slices are available free at the nearby Lincoln Apple Festival here in Northwest Arkansas. It’s a delicious way to stay frugal in the fall!
Home Maintenance – Frugal in the Fall for Savings in the Winter
Fall is a great time to do some maintenance and cleaning around the house. Gutters need to be cleaned out and any exterior damage to the home repaired. Fall is a great time to do this! You can do most of this yourself.
It is always a good idea to get your chimney swept in the fall if you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace. The more you burn the more often you need to have it cleaned out to prevent flume fires and check for signs of damage. Check out the Chimney Safety Institute of America for more information on that.
Upcoming Holidays – Is it beginning to look expensive?
Planning a trip to see family for Thanksgiving? Hosting 16 people for dinner on turkey day? You may want to start setting money aside a month or two early to save yourself a little stress or the urge to swipe the credit card when you see the price of that 16-pound bird. Make it a point to cut back on unnecessary expenditures and be frugal in the fall so you can be sure to enjoy that holiday dinner instead of wonder how much of 2020 you’ll spend trying to pay for the 2019 holidays. There’s some food for thought.
Hopefully, you’ve started saving for Christmas by now. If not you need to get started now! Check out my article Six Months til Christmas for some ideas. It’s later in the year, but the principles still apply. Scale back to be sure you can save up enough money or just opt-out of gift-giving altogether. Just be sure you let your closest friends and family know you are not spreading Christmas cheer in the usual fashion this year. They may be relieved and decide to opt-out too!
Make it a point to cut back on unnecessary expenditures and be frugal in the fall so you can be sure to enjoy that holiday dinner instead of wonder how much of 2020 you’ll spend trying to pay for the 2019 holidays. There’s some food for thought.
What frugal fall adventures do your family go on? I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be sure to post any frugal fall fun my family has here or on social media. Remember, you can follow a Life on a Dime on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Happy fall all!
This post was proofread by Grammarly