How to be frugal in Autumn would be much catchier if I’d replaced Autumn with Fall, but I’m English and I just can’t. Besides, I spent a long damn time in primary school learning how to spell Autumn, with it’s ostentatious silent ‘n’ on the end. I don’t want that knowledge to go to waste.
There are loads of ways to save money in Autumn – it’s cold enough that you don’t want to stray far from the house, but you only need a blanket, rather than full on central heating. It’s also one of those times of year when being frugal can really make a difference for the following months. So, let’s crack on:
1 – Start Christmas shopping
Yep, I went there. Don’t be one of those people desperately hoping their November paycheck will cover all their pressie-buying bills. If you start now, you can make those handmade gifts you always planned on making, but ran out of time for. You can also elevate a so-so present into an awesome one with a little thoughtful extra because you’ll have time for the inspiration to hit. Maybe a lovely bottle of nail polish to attach to the manicure gift certificate, glitter to put in the card of your four-year-old niece (be prepared for your sibling to hate you though) – you get the idea. I’ll do a post of budget-friendly gifts soon if I can think enough for it to be useful.
Not only will getting your Christmas presents sorted early on be great for slotting into your budget, but it’ll give you greater piece of mind too. You won’t need to worry about not being able to pick something up, and you’ll have time to remember to buy presents for people you might forget.
2 – Get your car winter-ready
Fun I know, but super important. Check your tyres, get a service if it’s overdue. Make sure you have a blanket and a torch and all that fun stuff in the boot. Check out this post from the AA for more information on this. It may not seem like this can save you money, but if you have to miss work because your car breaks down it can cost you big. Keeping up with your car’s essential maintenance can keep up your car’s MPG and save you petrol money – whoop whoop!
3 – Up your thermostat game
Ok, I get that you want your house to be warm, but you also don’t want it to be too hot. It’s uncomfortable and costs money (unlike being cold, which is uncomfortable and FREE). We tend to have our heating on for an hour in the morning (set to come on half an hour before we get up) and for an hour or two in the evening round 5. We put it on for longer in one instance only: when we need to dry clothes quickly. Because we’re basic as hell (and don’t have a dryer or an outside).
Get yo’self a cosy blanket, some slippers and a super-cosy hoodie. As well as keeping costs high, having the central heating on all the live long day a is pretty unhealthy and is a major amplifier of the common cold. Contrarily enough, the cold kills the cold.
Btw, being cold (or hot) is often exaggerated by our brains, so create the illusion of cosiness with candles and lamps and such. If a room looks cosy, our brain will assume it is, so you’ll feel warmer quicker.
4 – Layer up
Don’t whack all your summer vests in storage just yet – you can layer them underneath cardigans so that if the day unexpectedly decides to do a plausible impression of a day in mid-July (always a risk in Autumn), you can just whip off your cardy and be good to go.
5 – Get that pantry filled
It’s cold, it’s dark and you’re tired. Unless your ten minutes away from a delicious pasta dish, you’re going to order a takeaway. Make sure you have hearty things like lentils and potatoes and all things delicious so you don’t succumb to temptation. If you’re more organised than me you may wish to consider a slow cooker (crock pot). Actually, it’s not just lack of organisation – I’m far to risk averse to leave a heated appliance running whilst I’m at work. Nightmare.
ALSO there acan be some great deals to be had around bonfire night (or, in the US, Halloween and Thanksgiving – in the UK we obviously don’t do Thanksgiving, and Halloween my as well be renamed Watch Hocus Pocus day – since that’s the only remotely Halloweeny thing we do). Consider stocking up for Christmas: booze and chocolate especially.
6 – Stay in
Tbh I’m a huge advocate of staying in all year round, but for all you party animals out there, consider having your parties at home. Booze is cheaper, you can do it in your pjs and you won’t need to worry about getting home when you’re drunk. Invite your friends round (all those warm bodies will heat your house too – bonus!), crack open a bottle or five and have fun. Play board games, watch movies, have a rave: whatever floats your boat. Food like jacket potatoes and at-home picnics are cheap, quick and easy to prepare and people go mad for them – especially drunk people (although in my experience drunk people love anything remotely carby).
I realise I’m coming across as quite the alcoholic in this post, and I’m ok with that.
I also like to do a budget re-hash in Autumn, usually out of necessity because I need extra money for presents. I coincide this with an Autumn Clean, where I chuck out as much crap as I can in order to cover every flat surface in my house with candles. Because it’s fall, y’all.