How to Save During The Fall Frenzy

As the summer comes to a close, we will soon be in the fall season.  While those of us who live in South Florida don’t necessarily experience a change in the leaves or a significant drop in temperature, we all know that with the fall comes the chaos of holidays, family obligations, travel and more.  

Read on for tips on how NOT to go broke this fall!

Shop Smart

The fall is a retailer’s dream and so they do their best to also make it yours!  Labor Day Sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the more universal and popular shopping days of the fall season.  These are good days to shop! But before you go, prepare yourself and your budget.  At the beginning of the season, it is best to set aside a budget for holiday gifts, travel and any other commitments.  This way, when you find yourself browsing the aisles or lost in the Amazon rabbit hole, you know how much money you’ve allotted for such excursions.  Sometimes it may help to set spending limits with those on your gift list and in some cases it may be best to only pick one holiday for which to travel. Remember, budgets are all about planning and balancing.  Create your spending buckets, and keep track of how much you have left. This will prevent overspending as the year comes to a close.

No-Spend Weekend

Now this task may sound a bit crazy! But trust us, you CAN do it! Again, this will take proper planning.  You may need to stock up on groceries, your favorite snacks and arrange to do activities that do not cost anything.  It can be done! Many of us use the weekends as a time to relax, hangout with family and friends, or do household chores we can’t get to during the week.  If most of your weekends include fabulous brunches and pricey outtings, but your goal is to avoid overspending in preparation for the fall–you may want to incorporate a few No-Spend Weekends into your months.  You can visit a park, invite a friend over for a home cooked meal and watch old (or new) movies available on your Netflix or Hulu account. You can also read books, and take the time to do an at-home mani/pedi, or even get your feng shui on and rearrange your rooms.

Chill-out on the Spice Lattes, Make Your Coffee at  Home

As warm and delicious as seasonal lattes can be, they also usually clock in at about $5 a pop. Which may not be a big deal as a one-off, but if you find yourself spending $25 week, you realize that can quickly turn into $100 a month! At the end of the month, you may find that you’re short on funds for a flight, or having to sacrifice doing the things you want to celebrate the season.  Sometimes cutting back in small ways, can make a big difference. Invest in an espresso or coffee machine, flavored coffees, seasonal creamers, etc. and then make time to prepare your drinks in the morning. If you get a nice travel mug, you can take it with you when you go! In the long run, the sacrifice of forgoing the line at your local coffee shop and the $5 or more expense on the fancy coffee will benefit you overall and will go a long way toward helping you enjoy the season even more!

Capitalize on Travel Deals

This time of year is definitely one of the most expensive times to travel. Flights are usually priced pretty high, particularly on dates that fall around popular holidays.  A study done last year by CheapoAir.Com found that it was best to purchase flights in advance of the season for which you wish to travel. For the fall/winter seasons, it was recommended that you book your flights 62-69 days in advance.  The idea is that you will see the best fares this far in advance of your travel dates. In addition to booking in advance, there are also travel apps that will send you alerts on flight specials.

Check on Your Automated Purchases

You may be signed up for a variety of subscription services, monthly donation programs, and membership programs (i.e. gym, special interest groups). In the daily hustle and bustle you may not even remember half of the automated transactions that are coming out of your account(s) each month.  It’s best to do a check on these scheduled debits to make sure they’re still something you’re interested in. Do you ever read that magazine that comes every month? When’s the last time you went to the gym? Are you active in that coaching group? Can you reduce your monthly gift to your favorite nonprofit?  It’s important to check up on these regularly, but particularly during a time of the year when you’re focused on maximizing your dollars without maxing out your bank account!

Written by Desnoyers CPA

Desnoyers CPA

Known for her friendly, outgoing nature and her rare talent for financial foresight, Lydia Desnoyers has been serving individuals and small businesses in Florida since 2010. After earning her Master’s Degree in Accounting from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Florida State University, she became a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.

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