Awesome Autumn: Fun and Frugal Ways to Celebrate Fall
Summer has subsided, and the holiday season is on the horizon. But the imminent excitement over upcoming festivities is often tinged with anxiety about anticipated expenses. Fortunately, the month of October is an ideal time to explore enjoyable autumn activities that can help keep you entertained while bolstering your budget for the coming days of parties and presents.
No matter where you live, there are creative ways to savor the seasonal change without spending big. Here are just a few ideas to kick off a fantastic fall:
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? With the hectic back-to-school season in the rearview mirror, now is a great time to delve into classes that pique your personal interest. Whether it’s a first-time culinary expedition or a second language, most local community colleges offer a wide array of affordable in-person or online courses. Not ready to formally enroll? Pick up some books or watch videos on a favorite subject to create your own custom curriculum.
A game night is a great way to spend time with friends as the temps drop outside. Light up the fireplace and serve a simple spread of finger foods like crudité, mini sandwiches and chips and dips, along with wine, beer and soft drinks. Don’t stress about seating. If you don’t have a lot of chairs, just clear some floor space and arrange comfy pillows and cushions to sit on. Choose an easy-to-play game that everyone can enjoy and keep one or two others on hand for backup. Spice up your old board games by suggesting that everyone make their own personalized game pieces to use at that night’s gathering.
Urban root cellars have made a comeback, and they’re a great way to save your garden produce (beets, carrots, squash, cabbage, etc.) once the sunny months have faded into fall. To create an easy DIY cellar, dig a deep hole in a sheltered spot, then sink a 32-gallon heavy duty trash can into the hole, keeping the rim just above the soil line. Line the bottom of the can with two inches of damp sand and a layer of vegetables, then repeat the layers until you end with sand on top. Place the lid on the can, top with a mound of straw or shredded autumn leaves and cover with a sheet of plastic film anchored with a few bricks to keep produce fresh for 3-5 months.
Find a Festival
With the return of cool, crisp afternoons, it’s an ideal time to pull your sweaters out of retirement. Then gather up friends or family and check out the local (and often free) fall festivals where you can experience traditional autumn activities like hayrides, corn mazes and pick-your-own pumpkin patches. Oktoberfest is in full swing in many parts of the country, with each region adding its own touch to the traditional event. Fall is also prime time for arts and culinary fests where you can sample creative cuisine, unique artwork and live music.
Wander the World
If you’re thinking ahead to holiday gifting, consider treating yourself to a trip. Depending on your destination, the more economical low season can start as early as October and carry on through early spring. Aside from conserving cash on everything from tickets to accommodations, traveling off-peak also allows you to visit major attractions without having to navigate swarms of tourists. Whether you want to explore major U.S. cities like New Orleans or San Francisco, or bask on the beaches of Cancun or Costa Rica, traveling during non-traditional times can be an excellent way to enjoy both reduced stress and increased savings.