Hello dear friends! Cold weather is upon us, and before we know it we will begin the countdown to December. December! Can you believe it? I am not ready for it yet, but ready or not, here it comes. Time for jingle bells, the holly and the ivy, and candy canes and lights galore. Did you know the average American also spends an average of $900 every Christmas holiday on giving? Here are some shopping hacks that I employ for fall (and all year round, really) that help me keep from straying off of my fall budget and keeps me sanely frugal.
Until I went on a budget, I would spend money on food and basics that I needed. Walking out of the store, I would argue with myself for why I spent too much money. “I can’t believe you just walked out of Walmart with 2 bags of groceries and paid $40,” I would tell myself.
My mom, who keeps a strict budget, and is now cruising Alaska and the world with my dad because she once “lived like nobody else,” kept telling me, “Try a budget, try a budget.” I avoided it, arguing to myself that I was on a “budget.” I was a careful spender. Heck, I pay cash for everything. How would a budget help me? Turns out, she was right. Don’t they say, “if you don’t succeed, try doing it the way mom told you to in the beginning?”
On a budget, I know exactly what I have to spend. It saves me a ton of headache and self-doubt. The hard part of going on a budget, is cutting out the frivolous expenditures for the necessities. The easy part is, knowing what I DO have to spend on the frivolous expenditures and I can still spend it and have enough for my necessities. Really, it’s a win-win both ways.
Let me talk about the art of saving. The art of saving is not the art of depriving yourself. I used to think it was. The word “budget” to my ears was synonymous with the sinking feeling of “no indulging!” There was no way I could do it, I thought. Well…the art of saving is not any of these things. Instead, it is the satisfaction of spending WITHIN limits so that you can stockpile and one day spend WITHOUT limits. (Although by that time you will probably be so used to spending within your limits that you can’t give it up.)
Here are 14 shopping hacks for fall that help me stay in my budget.
- Buy and save up for what you really want, not what will get you by until you can get what you want. You end up spending more sometimes buying the thing that will get you by when that money could have been saved and put away for what you really wanted. Satisfaction guaranteed with this principal of spending.
- It’s okay to shop at “regular” stores. Shop at upscale stores when it is necessary, but don’t feel like you have to shop there to keep up image. The amazing part of American shopping is that there are literally millions of options. Browse your options to find what you really want and will really treasure.
- Learn to do your own manicures/pedicures. Grooming yourself is a necessity of a happy lifestyle, but learning to do your manicures and pedicures yourself is the ultimatum!
- Make your own coffee. Kevin O’Leary never spends $2.50 on a cup of coffee, he makes it himself. I am inspired. If one of the world’s richest men takes the time to pour his own caffeine, I can do the same!
- Plan your October/November/December dinner menu. The art of saving includes planning a menu. That way you eat exactly what you plan to spend.
- You don’t need every latest fad or gadget. I have heard of someone who buys the newest cell phone every time they come out. That’s a lot of money spent on a gadget that will go out of style in a couple of months. Maybe it’s just me, but I am a child of the generation where cell phones were just becoming a thing, for safety reasons, really. I cannot figure out why a 4-year-old needs the latest Iphone XS. If anyone can explain, please let me know!
- Don’t feel like you have to buy everything your friends buy. What might work for your friends may not be the best for you. I remember someone recommending some cream for winter dryness to me and they really wanted me to try it. I went ahead and bought it, all the while knowing that my skin is prone to acne when I use any kind of cream. For some reason, I got it because they thought it was a good idea, not because I thought it was.
- Use washable napkins and dishes. Reuse items instead of trashing them. I know someone who uses a gorgeous bedroom quilt for a Christmas tree skirt. Very creative and practical.
RELATED POST: Before You Trash It, Do This
- Plan your Thanksgiving and Christmas decoration before you buy it. I might be a complete weirdo but I walk through the store and plan the theme for my Thanksgiving table or Christmas tree before I ever put anything in my cart. It keeps me from over spending. especially since I am a sucker for Christmas décor.
RELATED POST: How I Decorated My Tree
- Spend time with family and friends instead of going to the mall every weekend. Focus on building and strengthening satisfying relationships. Retail will still be there when you come back to it next weekend.
- Plan a satisfying menu that fits within your means when family comes to visit for the holidays. Food for the holidays can be expensive. Choose some simple and decadent dishes that take few ingredients and won’t cost a lot to prepare. I usually Google recipes that have 100’s of 5-star reviews. Following this easy guideline, I have never had a recipe go wrong or turn out non-delicious. If someone takes the time to leave a review, it must be good!
- Use coupons. Yes, I know, “couponing” is almost a cliché now. There are blogs dedicated to it and even a TV show written about it. Before you buy any product, make sure there is not an online coupon offered by the company on their website. I remember my mom buying $300 worth of Christmas gifts at Bed Bath and Beyond for only $150 using coupons.
- Be wise when it comes to fall deals and sales. Some deals sounds out of this world, but always remember, “The company designed the deal with the goal of making their money’s worth off of it,” unless they have a poor business plan. No matter how good the deal is, they aren’t planning on losing money. Make sure any “deal” or “savings” will genuinely save you money.
- Avoid signing up for every store credit card just to get something free. Just because you have been wanting a free crockpot and the store is handing out free crock pots to sign up for their store credit card does not mean you should sign up for the credit card. Ask about interest rates, fees, and minimum spending amount before you say “yes.” In the end, the company is going to make their money, no matter how great the offer sounds.
FEATURED COMMENTS OF THE WEEK:
heartandsoul974 writes, “Beautiful country photos! I saw some of that sky when I visited my brother in Dallas and took a ride into the country. I live in rural northern New Hampshire and I love it! 😃”
Thank you for your lovely comment! I have not been there but have seen pictures and rural New Hampshire looks like a gorgeous place to live. Especially right now, with the fall colors!
I really appreciate your comment. I had no idea either!
Eric Men comments: “Fall is in full swing; pumpkins are everywhere. I love these cooler temperatures!“
So do I, Eric.
Thank you, readers, for all of your lovely comments! If you leave a comment, I will tag you.
Don’t forget to sign up for my Fall giveaway, Gearing Up For a NORDSTROM Giveaway. It is open until October 29th. The only work you have to do to win is follow and fill in a little quick survey so I can get your feedback about this blog. Please honestly give me constructive criticism in the survey on what you think about HCG. The the only way this blog will ever truly grow is through your honest thoughts.
Do you use a budget or a different form of money management? Do you feel like a budget is necessary or there are better ways to handle money?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!