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The seasons may change, but one thing always stays the same: The opportunity to begin saving more money in your budget.
Now that fall is here, you can use the cooler weather to refresh your sense of physical, emotional and financial well-being. Following are five overlooked ways to save this autumn.
1. Quit the gym and exercise outside
All summer long, you headed for the air-conditioned comfort of the gym. But now that temps have cooled down, there is no excuse not to exercise in the great outdoors.
As Maryalene LaPonsie points out in “15 Simple Ways to Burn Calories Without the Gym,” you can get an excellent workout for free simply by taking your routine into the great outdoors. That’s true even after winter sets in:
Don’t let the cold air and snow deter you. Strap on boots, bundle up and hit the sidewalk or the trails for a walk that will wake you up. It may seem less than ideal, but as someone who tries to walk regularly outside in the winter, I can tell you that you warm up quickly as you move.
For more exercise tips, check out “13 Fitness Hacks That Can Simplify Your Workouts.”
2. Don’t wait — travel right now
As the weather cools down, the travel deals heat up. For example, fall long has been known as a great time to visit Europe. As USA Today says:
Fall and spring are considered “shoulder” season, and there are some good values for European travel with fewer restrictions or worries about traveling in winter weather.
Travel and Leisure says October is a great time to visit the Mediterranean, as rates start falling during the month.
You can also get deals closer to home. For example, Marilyn Lewis points out in “17 Proven Ways to Save on Travel” that ski resorts are cheaper in the spring and fall. While you won’t be hitting the slopes in October, you will find plenty of great opportunities for hiking and biking in these vacation destinations.
3. Enjoy cheap fall foods
Nothing says “fall comfort food” like a delicious slice of pie. As I discovered in “The Freshest — and Cheapest — Pies to Bake for Each Month of 2016,” October is a great month to bake a pumpkin pie. Other great fall pies include apple pies in September and pecan pies in November.
Why do those pies make so much sense at this time of year? As I wrote in the story, the key is to choose pies “based on ingredients that are in season, making these phenomenal pastries even cheaper to bake.”
Read the story to find the best pie for each month of the year. And remember that whatever foods you cook, try to use fall ingredients such as apples, squash, pumpkins and root veggies, all of which are plentiful and cheap in autumn.
For more on cutting food costs, check out:
4. Shop the fall sales
While everyone waits for Thanksgiving and Christmas bargains, savvy shoppers know not to overlook the more modest holidays of the season. They include:
- Columbus Day: Monday, Oct. 10
- Halloween: Monday, Oct. 31
- Veterans Day: Friday, Nov. 11
- Small Business Saturday: Saturday, Nov. 26
Your department store is likely to schedule sales during these times. So, if you need to purchase something this fall and can afford to be patient, try to time your shopping around these holidays.
Of course, a sale is no deal if you spend yourself into debt. So keep your wits about you. For more tips, check out “Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend More.”
5. Start prepping for your taxes
Alas, no matter how much fun you have this fall, you cannot completely escape reality. In life, as a famous phrase tells us, there are two things you cannot avoid. We won’t mention the first — although all those Halloween skeletons should offer a hint — but the second is taxes.
Start gathering your receipts and other important documents during the relative lull of autumn. That way, you will be able to relax during the holidays, knowing your financial house will be in order when the new year dawns, and the tax deadline looms.
Preparing early for next year’s taxes gives you the time to uncover potential tax deductions. It also ensures that you won’t be rushing to gather information at the last minute, which can cause you to file late – and incur penalties.
And of course, examining all those receipts might make you think twice about unnecessary spending — do you really need another scarf?.
Still tempted to put off today what you would rather do tomorrow? In “Confessions of a Tax Procrastinator,” Marilyn Lewis offers four persuasive reasons not to delay.
And if your past procrastination has left you in tax debt, check out our Solutions Center for ways to find help.
Do you have favorite ways to save in the fall? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.