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7 Ways to Spend Less This Fall Season

The new season is falling into place. (See what we did there?) Halloween, Thanksgiving, and all the autumn activities can be a lot—a lot of awesome, yes—but they can also be a lot on your wallet . . . if you aren’t ready.

So, here’s what you do: You budget. That’s how you make sure your money goes where you want it to go. That’s how you keep from overspending or missing out on the fun of fall.

You can be ready for all of it—the leaf-crunching and apple-munching, pie-baking and costume-making. How? Just remember these seven things when you set up October’s budget.

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1. Halloween Costumes, Candy and Celebrations

It isn’t really October without Halloween, are we right? About 70% of Americans participate in this hair-raising holiday with national spending totaling around $9 billion!That’s a lot of fun-size Snickers, superhero masks, and skeleton-silhouetted decor.

Though it comes at the end of the month, don’t let it sneak up on you. It’s a thriller night, and the only thing that can save you from the beast of overspending then is your own preparation now.

Fear not. There are plenty of ways to creep it real this Halloween without burying your budget alive. Check our Halloween savings guide for more tips on that one.

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2. Upcoming Holiday Travel Expenses

You know what’s just around the corner? Family members encouraging you to come home for the holidays. (As the song says, there’s no place like it.) Next month holds Thanksgiving, and the month after is Christmas.

You know this, but does your budget? Stuffing the turkey and the stockings aren’t the only upcoming expenses for fast-approaching festivities. Start considering what you’ll be spending in airfare, gasoline, lodging, and road-trip snacks. If you begin to financially prepare for this today, it won’t hit your budget all at once.

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3. Fall Activities

Haunted houses, pumpkin patches, cider-sipping sessions. This season sits between the bug-filled heat of summer and the frost-filled cold of winter—making autumn the perfect time to go out and do.

Some things are free—like raking up your leaves and jumping in. Some things have fees—like purchasing tickets to watch your fave football team or taking a hot-air balloon ride.

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4. Seasonal Food

Taste buds, get ready for candy corn, savory squash soup, and everything pumpkin—literally everything. Pumpkin chili, pasta, cheesecake, pancakes. And of course, pies and spice lattes. What would autumn be like without autumnal food? We hope the world never has to know.

You probably won’t be adding in a budget item named “Caramel Apples.” That’s both super specific and bad for your dental health. But—you do need to make space for your pumpkin and fall food affection.

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5. Clothing: New Jeans and Winter Wear

October is the month for denim. This is because most people aren’t thinking about buying new jeans in the sizzling summer months. Retailers are wise, so they wait until August and September to hit you up. They know you know temps are about to drop like the beats in a rapper’s mixtape—and their ads encourage you to get your closet back-to-school ready.

But if you wait until after everyone else jumps on the jean-buying bandwagon—when retailers notice denim sales are what’s truly cooling off—you can get some serious deals.

We want to make it clear this is not the best month for deals on winter wear. However, it is the month when you realize your kid’s coat is now a crop top and the soles of your boots are peeling away. You can update your wardrobe and replace worn items—as long as you’ve budgeted for it, of course.

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6. Fall Photos

It isn’t too early to be thinking about those Christmas cards. You know everyone loves getting one with a photo or three—which means you need a photo or three.

No one will judge you if there’s just an assortment of self-taken pictures with all the family members (both human and furry). You don’t have to spend money on a leaf-themed fall photo shoot. But you can hire a professional—if you’ve got the cash. Pro tip: Stick one of the pictures in a frame, and you’ve got an excellent Christmas present for Grandma. Speaking of which . . .

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7. All Cash Christmas Fund

Just hear those sleigh bells nearly jingling, nearly ring-ting-tingling too. Christmas is coming—every month it’s one month closer. (It’s mathematically proven.)

Keep heaping cash into your All Cash Christmas fund. No holiday can be holly jolly if you’re wondering how you’ll pay for both the mortgage and the merriment. Money stress will ruin what should be the most wonderful time of the year. By planning ahead, you can celebrate the season without that stress. (Sorry, there’s nothing we can do about the one cousin who always talks politics or the aunt who’s sure you hate her if you don’t take a second helping of her pies. But budget stress—we’ve got you there.)   

Log in to EveryDollar today to make sure your budget’s ready for all this fall goodness.

Infographic on saving for fall expenses