It’s back-to-school time and every family is looking for ways to cut costs and save a little extra money during the fall season. With the majority of everyone’s budgets being stretched thin due to the back-to-school necessities, it’s important to cut costs when and where you can.
Here are some quick and easy ways to save money this Autumn:
1. Furnace Check – Once winter really sets in, the heater gets turned on and the electricity bill goes up. Make sure your furnace is running at optimal performance. Also, make sure to change the filter for the fall/winter season. This will allow air to flow freely throughout your home, keeping you warmer without having to turn up the heat all the way.
2. Car Insurance Check – As you head into the autumn season, it’s important to evaluate your current car insurance. Make sure you have the proper coverage for the icy winter, but also, this is a great time to get some quotes from other companies and run a price comparison. Doing this once a year will ensure you are getting the most value from your premiums.
3. Find The Free Stuff – Fall is a great time to get outside with friends and family. While there are many great things to do that can be pricey, there are so many free things going on as well. Check your local newspapers or community websites to find great stuff to do with kids or adults for free.
4. Pay In Cash – Did you know that people spend 18% more with credit cards than with cash? This includes using a debit card. Carry cash with you at all times and spend that instead of putting something on a credit card. You will spend less and save yourself on interest or other associated fees. This will help prevent you from falling into steep credit card debt as well. It’s a good rule to follow!
5. Coupons – Using coupons can be very tricky. The key is to only clip the brands and products you use on a regular basis. Trying to use a coupon just for the sake of using that coupon will not save you money. Look for your regular brand name products and only what you intend to use that week. Then read the limitations to ensure you get the most for your coupon. Make sure you take advantage of double coupon days or price match guarantees.
6. Turn Down The Heat – Add weather stripping to any doors and windows that have air leaks. Then turn your heat down 1-2 degrees. This subtle change won’t be too harsh on your family, and will save you money on your heating bill each month. The average household has their heat turned up much higher than they need to and that leads to high heating bills.
7. Make Coffee At Home – This seems to be one of the most difficult things for people to do. It is so easy now to just go through the drive through and pick up your fancy coffee every day. However, investing in some flavored syrup and your own coffee, and even a good travel mug will save you close to $100 or more a month!
8. Brand Name vs. Private Labels – When doing your grocery shopping, look at the private label brands first. These are great products and are considerably less expensive. It may be a few cents here and there, but it does add up. Plus, combine it with a coupon if you have one and you have saved even more money in the grocery checkout line. These less expensive brands will feature the same ingredients and nutritional information about 99% of the time.
9. Make A Shopping List – When going to the grocery store or shopping in general, it’s important to do some pre-planning. Make a list of meals for the week. Then look through circulars and other places to find sales and coupons for the ingredients. Make a list of what you need and then head to the store prepared. Make sure to stick to the planned list. If you are heading out for a pair or two of new jeans, make that mental list in your head and stick to it. That way you won’t end up bringing home 4 pairs of jeans, 2 dresses, new shoes, and 5 tops that you really didn’t need.
10. Shop Consignment Stores – Kids clothing is expensive and they grow out of it so fast. Shop consignment stores first and look for clothing with tags still attached. These have never been worn and are sure to make great outfits for the first day of school. There are usually local pop-up consignment sales throughout the year, such as a big Spring event or a Fall event that only happen twice a year. You can find everything from clothes to shoes, to toys and strollers, to car seats, beds, wagons, and so much more. Take advantage of these pop-up consignment events and consider selling some of your slightly used or new items or volunteer your time to obtain even greater savings.
You can find a ton of ways to save money during the Fall season. You just have to do a little planning, budgeting, research, and some comparison shopping. Don’t forget about using coupons or promo codes when you can to save even more money. A lot of people are nervous about the prospect of standing in long lines for holiday shopping, but if you shop earlier in the fall you can beat the crowds and still find some great deals.
By Lauralynn Mangis, Online Marketing Specialist at Advantage Credit Counseling