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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook
How much do you love fall? If you are anything like my family and me, it’s your favorite time of year. And frugal fall fun just makes it better.
I’m big into seasonal living. I eat seasonally, decorate seasonally, and enjoy life seasonally. When you can only do certain things at certain times of the year, it helps you savor those things even more. In an “on-demand” world, it’s nice to have some things to anticipate.
Every autumn, there are certain traditions that my family partakes in to welcome the cooler weather and the colors. Here are some ideas for frugal fall fun that you may also enjoy.
How awesome is apple picking? Not only do you get to go enjoy the great outdoors with your family, but you also come home with loads and loads of apples, so the frugal fall fun continues. Teach your kids how to identify good apples so you end up with ones you’ll actually want to eat and use.
We always follow apple picking by making and preserving a tasty batch of homemade apple sauce. This is a water bath canning recipe, so no expensive equipment is required. You can also make spiced apple sauce if you want a little more flavor. This is a productive and delicious way to enjoy autumn.
The cooler weather means that you can fire up your oven without worrying about heating up the house. Fall is the perfect time for baking. I like to make cookies, cinnamon rolls, pies with my apples, and – not on the sweet side – roast entire meals in there.
Not only do you get treats, but your home will smell deee-licious.
Decorating with leaves
I can hardly walk past a good fallen leaf without wanting to take it home with me to decorate the interior of my house. You can use fall leaves in all sorts of ways to decorate, including stringing them on fishing lines and hanging them from your curtain rod and piling them into a basket in all their colorful glory. Making your home pretty with vivid leaves is the epitome of frugal fall fun.
Take a hike
We used to always go for a drive to enjoy the foliage, but these days, you might need to sell a kidney to do it with the price of gas. Keep your kidney and go hiking instead. You’ll be able to enjoy the colors up close, hear the crunch of the leaves beneath your boots, and breathe in the crisp autumn air. Also, it’s a healthy way to spend the day. Be sure to bring snacks!
Switch out your wardrobe
Want the feeling of shopping for new clothes without spending a penny? Pull out your cold-weather wardrobe! I love changing out my clothing seasonally. I always wash things before hanging them in my closet to get rid of any musty-storage smell. It feels like I just went shopping when I get to see all my beloved fall and winter favorites again. At the same time, I pack away all my shorts and sundresses so I can have the same feeling of “new clothes” in the spring.
Jumping in a leaf pile
Is it even fall if you don’t create a big leaf pile in your yard, take the plunge, and jump in? I still love it in my 50s, and that convinces me that I will never get too old for this. It’s frugal fall fun at its finest! Incidentally, there are a lot more things to do with your raked-up leaves than putting them at the curb for pickup. Here’s a list of ways you can put those leaves to work.
Picking the perfect pumpkins
When my girls were young, I was B-R-O-K-E broke. The idea of getting pumpkins, carving them, and letting them rot on the porch was absolutely appalling to me.
So I improvised.
We always made a big deal out of selecting the perfect pumpkins, but not at the pumpkin patch. At least where we lived, pumpkin patch pumpkins were 2-3x the price of grocery store pumpkins. You can still perform the pumpkin-choosing ceremony with plenty of gravitas.
Then we brought them home, and I handed my girls Sharpies and let them go to town. They decorated the pumpkins with markers instead of cutting into them. We saved the carving for the night before Halloween, which meant that the pumpkins were still usable when we brought them indoors after all the trick-or-treaters were tucked into their beds. I always stayed up late on Halloween (burning off some sugar and) salvaging pumpkin to be used or preserved.
Making pumpkin spice creamer
Here’s another “is it really fall if you miss it” thing: pumpkin spice latte. How on earth can you consider it autumn if you haven’t had a PSL? You can save a fortune and sip them all the way through autumn by making your own pumpkin spice creamer with our customizable recipe.
Make smores over a campfire.
I always have a little firepit in my yard. It’s a lovely way to spend an evening all the way through the year. (I live in the South, so it doesn’t get crazy cold here.) And every fall, I break out the graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows to make smores. We like to hang out by the fire, eat smores, and talk about our plans for the holidays that are coming up fast.
Make soup and bread.
Nothing says fall to me like a pot of soup and the smell of homemade bread. It doesn’t matter what kind of soup I have simmering away on the stove; it’s such an autumnal scene. I like to make tomato soup with the last of my tomatoes or a cozy vegetable soup and a delicious loaf of homemade bread to pull out of the oven at serving time.
Knit or crochet
This is the time of year I pull out my yarn. Sitting there in the evening watching a movie with a lap-full of whatever I happen to be making is a cozy and productive activity. I don’t do much crocheting in the summer because it feels hot and uncomfortable, but in the cooler weather, it’s a welcome warmth. Now is the time I start churning out Christmas presents.
And last but not least, I focus on coziness when it’s fall. I pull out the blankets and afghans, light a bunch of candles (bonus points for apple and cinnamon-scented ones), pull on some thick socks and jammies, and sip a hot, delicious beverage. I turn my home from a cool retreat into a cozy haven when the mercury starts to drop.
How do you have frugal fall fun?
Are you a fan of the changing seasons like I am? Are there ways you embrace autumn that I haven’t listed here? How do you have fun without spending a lot of money? Let’s talk about frugal fall fun in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.
4 thoughts on “Frugal Fall Fun: 12 Ways to Embrace Autumn”
While perhaps some would not consider this fun but I enjoy prepping the garden to overwinter for spring. Plant the garlic and make use of our never ending supply of leaves for compost. We lightly till some into the garden (making sure we’ve well marked the garlic area!) then ensure coverage for winter. Downside is having to be vigilant for squash bugs as the leaves provide them a place to overwinter.
We also light to have a fire in the fire pit – again, we have no shortage of sticks. Small ones we’ll break up for wood stove kindling but I have to admit, picking up sticks is a lot more fun since we have a fire pit.
All of the above are good exercise while not exercising for the sake of exercising.
I love this list! Of course I’m going to have to try and add a few because this is inspiring. Around that campfire, fire pit, or even patio hibachi, how about bringing back the old custom of telling stories? Whether it’s one you make up or one you read out loud, it’s a fun frugal activity that’s good for all ages. If a storyteller really gets into it, making voices and sound effects and such, it can be a blast. My dad used to do that when I was young and I loved it. Reading together as a family was one of our favorite pastimes.
Apple picking could be good to do, if there’s a U-pick or a neighbor with an over burdened tree. If you can then juice the fruit and make cider, so much the better. You can even do that with a home made juicer – a blender for the cut up apples and cheese cloth plus colander to strain it through. It’s kind of a pain but tasty. Chickens love the leftover pulp or you can put it in bread. If you don’t want to make cider, you can also make apple sauce. These are both great uses for those less than perfect apples often found in yards.
We always waited until just prior to Halloween to carve those pumpkins. Afterward, the seeds were roasted and Jack-o-lanterns became cooked pumpkin for pies at Thanksgiving.
In Iowa, we are having a gorgeous fall. The days are crisp albeit a tad windy. I love walking the banks of rivers with the dog. I found a very nice farmer who lets me walk on his land. OK. Here’s the fun. Watching the harvests! It’s amazing how the whole process works. Some farmers work in tandem, others in a solitary fashion. Regardless, it’s all done in military precision. We do have a good yield here this year, and I always pause to thank God for this blessing of grains.