Finding Holiday Savings in Your Fall Budget

 

Say goodbye to humidity and hello to all things pumpkin! Fall is finally in full swing and some savvy shoppers are already planning for big ticket holiday purchases. While some may be reluctant to plan their holiday budget while the kids are still planning their Halloween costumes, you may want to consider that last year, Americans that reported racking up holiday debt added over $1000, on average to their existing debt profile. Finding holiday savings in your fall budget can be simple with the help of these six tips:

Prepare Your Holiday Gift List

Being adequately prepared for the start of the shopping season can be one of the easiest ways to curb excessive spending. Start by reviewing your gift list from last year. You may have saved your 2017 list on your phone or computer, and if not, consider creating a master gift list this year and storing it digitally. Populate the list with those you’d like to shower with holiday cheer. While your budget may not allow you to give a gift for each member of this list, performing this exercise will give you an idea of where your expectations lie in relation to reality, and help to prevent wasteful spending.

Make the Most out of Fall Sales

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are a given, but they’re not the only opportunities to save this fall. While the kids have been in class for a few months now, many large retailers run back- to-school sales throughout the fall season. Often these sales offer deep discounts on shoes, clothes, school, and art supplies. Halloween and Veteran’s Day offer additional opportunities for savvy shoppers to save money this time of year.

Make Your Own Halloween Costume

In 2017, Americans spent a record $9.1 billion on Halloween costumes, decorations and treats. While this pales in comparison to the spend realized around the holidays, anyone with children can attest to the fact the cost of these haunted tricks and treats add up rather quickly.  One simple way to cut costs this fall is to design and make your own Halloween costume(s). Check your closets, collect household items, trade ideas or costumes with friends to come up with something completely new and exciting. With a little imagination and creativity, there’s no end to the possibilities. And let’s be honest, it’s very rare that a store-bought costume can compare with your one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

Slow Cook Your Way to Savings

Fall is the best time of year to whip out the crock pot. Falling leaves and frost on the ground signal to each of us that it’s time to close down the grill and bring our culinary talents back indoors. This is exciting news in more ways than one. It’s true that few amongst us would turn down a hot bowl of chili while enjoying fall festivities, but utilizing the crock pot can also provide plenty of leftovers for the work week and beyond! You are less likely to dine out when you have a plethora of seasonal leftovers available to you at home, and as an additional benefit, you’ll save yourself time by not having to cook each night!

Pay Yourself First

This is a tactic widely used by savvy consumers. The idea is quite simple: Every time you get paid, take action to move a percentage of your pay into a savings account dedicated solely to holiday shopping. This ensures that these funds will be removed from your checking account and will be available when you begin holiday shopping. Like common Bill Pay services, this process can also be automated through pre-defined transfers to ensure that you don’t struggle with deciding whether or not to save during a particular pay period.

Buy Generic

Generic brands have exploded over the past decade offering consumers a bevy of alternatives to expensive, name brand products. This is not to say that all generic options are on par with their more expensive counterparts, but with the sheer number of options available, you’re likely to find a number of generic brand products that are suitable for you and your family. You may even find that you prefer some generic brand products and can continue your savings well beyond the fall and winter seasons.

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching. While everyone hopes to purchase that perfect gift for everyone on their list this holiday season, it is those that are frugal-in-Fall that have an advantage.  Making a few simple changes to your current budget can help you avoid racking up mounds of credit card debt by the time the New Year rolls around.