Fall is here, with pumpkin spice is everywhere, colder temperatures, and leaves in beautiful fall colors falling to the ground. This is the best time of year to enjoy the beauty of nature with the changing foliage and cool outdoor weather. Fall gives us great opportunities for creating memories with it’s scenic backdrops, but also great opportunities to have inexpensive fun. For more bang for your buck this fall, try these free and inexpensive ideas.
The great outdoors – Festivals, fires, and football
Free Fall – There are so many fun events to do in the fall since Mother Nature gives us a beautiful and scenic backdrop. Here are some free and budget friendly ideas:
Take advantage of the view by going on a road trip, bike ride, or hike.
Take your kiddos to the playground.
Visit your local park for a picnic or people watching – you can even organize a scavenger hunt (weirdest cloud, most colorful leaf, largest acorn, etc).
Visit local farms that offer apple, sunflower, or pumpkin picking. Some offer hayrides and corn mazes as well (usually for a small fee), and bonus if they have animals you can feed or pet.
Visit the farmer’s market.
Check your local community calendars for free local events, car shows, fairs and harvest festivals.
Attend local school concerts and recitals.
Host a leaf raking party (only if you jump in the pile of leaves at the end, though).
Take your pet(s) on walks to the park or dog park.
Dabble in photography – visit a farm, winery or park and snap photos of nature.
Light a bonfire in your back yard and make smores.
Collect pinecones to use for crafts or fire starters.
Go camping! While there can be some costs associate with camping, it’s still an economical way to travel. If you’re not a fan of the great outdoors, you can always set up a tent in your own backyard. Enjoy a night under the stars, make some smores, and breathe the crisp fall air.
Give back. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter or food bank. Host a coat drive to collect coats for the homeless, or collect and stockpile toiletries and items to make care packages. Walk or run in a charity 5k. Host a car wash to raise money for a local charity. The ideas are endless, but fall makes for a great time to give back before the cold weather arrives.
The great indoors – relax and reconnect
Reap your own Harvest – Take your fresh picked apples home and turn them into apple pie, cider, or applesauce. Bring home your pumpkin to decorate, then make a pie from the carvings. Shop the local Farmer’s market then turn your fresh finds into a delicious dinner.
Declutter your home – Now that the weather has cooled off and we’re spending more time indoors, it’s a great time to look around your home and declutter things you no longer want or need. From décor and clothing to kitchen items and gadgets, turn those unneeded items into cash by hosting a yard sale, posting them on resell apps or online shopping sites, or bringing to a resale or consignment shop. You can even host a clothing swap with your friends and refresh your wardrobe for free or at a very low cost. Use any money that you accumulate to add to your holiday shopping budget, keep it in a rainy-day fund, or even complete a project you’ve been wanting to finish up.
Plan ahead meals – Take advantage of all the vegetables and flavors of the season to create delicious recipes. Break out the crock pot and plan your meals ahead of time. By the time you get home from work, your home will smell delicious and dinner will be hot and ready! Keep the leftovers to freeze or take for lunch the next day.
Prepare your home for the cold – Change your air filters in your heating and cooling systems to avoid costly repairs later, and to keep them running efficiently. Check for drafts from windows and doors that will make you use more heat during the colder months. Doing some preventive maintenance now will save you in the long run. And while you’re at it, turn off the AC and open the windows! It will bring the fresh smell of fall into your home and save on costs, too.
Tailgate for your team – Host a football potluck party with your friends and family. It’s a great way to get everyone together. You can do this in your own home or at the game.
Reconnect with friends. Host a family board game or movie night. Make it something that both the adults and kids can enjoy. If it’s close to Halloween, it can be a costume party! For the adults, host a BYOB wine-sharing party. Everyone brining a bottle of wine to share is much more cost efficient that paying per glass at a bar or restaurant.
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