7 ideas to save money in autumn
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It might not feel like we've had much of a summer here in the UK, but believe it or not, it's nearly over and autumn is just around the corner. Whether it's on extra days out and activities, additional childcare of going away on holiday, it's easy to rack up extra costs over the summer and in autumn, we want to cut back and get back on track in time for Christmas (that's right, I just mentioned Christmas in September!). Need a little help turning it around? Check out our super simple 7 ways to save money this autumn.
1. Cool weather money saving
Depending on where you are in the UK, you might already be feeling the cool of autumn. But now that the weather is cooling down, don't rush to get the heating on just yet. Autumn can be a good time weather-wise, and you can take advantage of opening your windows for plenty of autumn fresh air and dig out the cosy blankets and jumpers for the cooler evenings.
And speaking of the weather, it might be a good idea to consider weather-proofing for the winter ahead. Check the window seals and doors of your home for drafts. Replacing seals and blocking drafts can be a great way to reduce heating costs when the weather gets colder.
2. Home cooking
Make the most of any September sunshine and break out the BBQ a few more times, start recreating some of those amazing foreign dishes you tried on holiday to make your home cooking more adventurous. There are lots of ways to make cooking at home a fun way to save money.
It's also a great time for fresh produce. Get to your local grocer or market (they still exist, promise!) at the weekend and see what they have on offer. Stock up and make large batches of food that you can freeze. Soup is a great way to use up veg and freezes well. Plan in some time to batch cook and stock up your freezer with ready-made meals to reheat for the family. Soups are an easy way to use up extra veggies and freeze them for later use. Consider spending an evening or even a weekend cooking items that you can freeze and heat up for yourself or your family later.
3. Seasonal Sales
With summer clearance sales and the short run times of back to school sales, there are often great savings to be made in autumn. Off-season shopping is a great way to save money for the autumn. Remeber the golden rule of sale shopping - only buy what you needed already, don't be tempted to buy things you never needed just because it's a good deal. You can also take advantage of grocery offers, putting aside long life treats and extras for Christmas before the shops start hiking up the prices.
Did you have to miss your summer holiday this year? Autumn time can be a great time to scoop some great last-minute deals on weekends away - plus there are fewer crowds to deal with now the tourists are all back to school and work!
Although online shopping means we can compare the best deals easily. Don't forget to check out what's available locally. Many shops are looking to clear summer stock ahead of Christmas, so maybe you can bag some unexpected bargains and support local business as well.
4. Start your Christmas shopping
In summer, the big family holiday is usually the biggest expense. And in winter, that big expense is usually Christmas. If you have the budget for it, start buying gifts now and putting them away for Christmas rather than a big rush - and expense - at the last minute. Make a list of all the people you are going to buy for and keep your eyes peeled for presents they might like now.
You might even find that you're less inclined to buy Christmas themed tat by shopping earlier. Not many of us really want a Santa mug or reindeer PJs, and it's just because we get carried away shopping close to the big day. Just don't be taken in by THE FEAR in December and have a last-minute splurge, stay organised and stick to your list. Your wallet will thank you later!
5. Socialise at home
Many of us are in the same boat in autumn, trying to save some money after an expensive summer and start saving towards Christmas. So your friends and family will most likely welcome an evening invite for dinner or drinks and you all get to save money! Take it in turns to host and even if you spend on alcohol or food it's still cheaper than meals out or a trip to the pub.
Try some board games in the evening, or take advantage of the early autumn nice weather by getting outside and playing some sport for low-cost fun ideas.
6. Earn money with a boot sale
Have you got a lot of stuff? Most of us do! So how about a clear-out? You may have to get a bit organised, find out some local boot sale venues and gather all the bits and pieces you have to sell. It can be easier doing a boot sale than listing lots of small items online such as on local selling pages. So if you have a lot of stuff to sell, then this is a good option for you.
This time of year is perfect for car boot sales, as the weather is still nice enough to be out all day. And your home could benefit from the freed up space before Christmas. Get organised and sort all your rooms by category: keep, sell and donate. And then act quickly, leaving bags of stuff lying around for ages means you never get around to selling it and it continues to gather dust.
If you only have a couple of items you want to sell, then maybe stick to your online marketplace on Facebook or similar. It can be a low hassle way to have things collected from you if you don't have many items to worry about.
7. Track your finances
As always, it's never too late to tackle your spending habits. Find the way that suits you, whether that is keeping a notebook to track spending, or having all incomings and outgoings mapped out in a spreadsheet, or even keeping lists handy on your phone - There are lots of money management and budgeting apps available to help you stay on track.
Really pay attention to your spending. Where is your money going and is there anywhere you can cut back? Try a new supermarket or a weekly meal plan to tackle your grocery shopping? Switch to packed lunch and make coffee at home if you don't already. If you get bored with cheese sandwiches every day then get into the habit of making an extra portion of dinner and reheating for lunch at work.
Saving money is an all year round challenge, but worth it when you achieve a savings goal or feel less under pressure. If however, the timing isn't quite right for you and you find yourself with a large expense you're struggling to cover, consider whether a short-term loan could help. Use our calculator to see if you could comfortably afford the repayments before you decide.
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