Budget-Friendly Fall Activities For The Family

Fall is officially here (& feeling like it too!) Fall is the most wonderful weather and there is always so much to do with your family during this time of year. Take advantage of the budget friendly options this fall and do some fun activities with your family!

go for a Hike

Get outside – take advantage of the beautiful, not too hot and not too cold, weather. Load the family up and hit the trails! Living in North Alabama, we have many places around us to take short, scenic hikes. Try Bankhead National Forest, Monte Sano State Park, DeSoto State Park for some good, family friendly hikes! The best part is hikes are very inexpensive, usually just a few dollars per car!  

Picnic

There are plenty of parks and outdoor areas that are easy to pack a meal and have a nice afternoon picnicking with the family! Enjoy the fresh air and the changing leaves while finding some play time for the kids!

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

This is the most obvious family friendly fall activity and we have plenty to chose from in our area! Make a quick Google search and take the whole family! At pumpkin patches, there are usually mazes, hay rides, and games for kids! What a fun way to spend a fall afternoon! And don’t forget to buy enough pumpkins for another fun activity listed later!

Carve / Decorate Pumpkins

Now, we get to take the pumpkins we got at the pumpkin patch and create another fun fall activity that costs close to nothing! Get a set of carving utensils or even some paint and decorate away! Having carved/decorated pumpkins add a personal touch to fall decorations and makes for a fun activity for the whole family!

go apple picking

Go apple picking, we also have many options around us for a trip to pick some apples, drink apple cider, and enjoy the weather. Easy and inexpensive way to make fun memories with you kids and family!  

bake yummy fall treats

‘Tis the season for apple pie, caramel or candy apples, oven smores, or fall shaped cookies! You can even find pumpkin slice and bake cookies at your local grocery store to pop in the oven for some added fall sweets for the family to enjoy!

Go to a Drive-In Movie

Drive-In movies are a fun (social-distanced) alternative to a movie theater. We actually have a few around North Alabama that are definitely worth a visit. They often play older movies and offer a double feature; the first movie is kid friendly and the second is geared more for adults. Check the websites and see what movies are being offered this fall!

Sometimes, A Bargain Is Not A Bargain

When you are shopping and you see that “sale!” sticker, think about a few things before jumping into a purchase thinking it’s a bargain. Sometimes, a bargain is not a bargain after all.

Here’s a list of five times a bargain may not be actually be a bargain:

When you don’t need it

The price might scream a good deal but, if the heavily marked down item is one you aren’t in need of, you are spending money that could be used for something you need or want more.

When it’s a faulty product

There are times when it doesn’t pay to be cheap. Often times, when an item is at a very low price or found in a “bargain store.” When you find a product you are unsure of, hold it up to this checklist to deterring if it is quality:

  • – Where was it manufactured? If a product looks to be a designer or name brand but has a made in china sticker, it’s sadly just a cheap knock off and really isn’t a good deal.
  • – Are there any noticeable defects or missing parts?
  • – Does it appear to have been worn out?
  • – Is the material good quality?
When the “sale price” isn’t really a sale

Sometimes, retailers will feature the items price as the “sale price” but in reality, the store has never even sold the product for lower than the sticker price.

Other times the price tag may say “original price: $59.99. Our price: $49.99.” The item has actually never been sold at $59.99 before. If an item is truly marked down you will find another price tag placed on top of the manufactured price tag.

When you’re paying the BOGO price

Though the title “buy one get one” sounds like a steal, but its simply not as good of a deal as it sounds. The deal hides the fact that if you weren’t planning on buying 2 items, it really isn’t a discount.

If it’s part of a liquidation sale

When retailers post signs that say “everything must go” the store owners are depending on shoppers to assume that all items in the store are being sold at a discount price, which often is just not true.

Save Money this Fall

School has started, hopefully the cooler weather is on its way, which means fall is almost here. With the change of seasons, its typical for us to switch gears and start thinking about the holiday season that is ahead – and the expenses that they include.

Cook with in-season produce

Plan your meals according to the in season produce, you will save money this way! Also, fall is soup season, make a huge pot and freeze some for later to save on an extra meal cost.

open the windows – save on ac

I know were in Alabama so it might be a few months before we can act on this but it can be a big money saver when do get the colder weather. Open your windows and enjoy the fall air while saving money on your utility bill!

DIY your fall décor

Fall is a great time to DIY fall décor, Halloween decorations and maybe even costumes. Pinterest and YouTube are a great place to find easy, inexpensive DIY projects to d this fall. You can even turn these crafts into fun family activities.

find Free community events

This year may be a bit different but the fall is a prime time to get outside and find somethings to do! Normally, there are carnivals, street fairs, concerts, hay rides, and pumpkin patches. Though those things have been cut down this year, consider getting outside and enjoying the brisk air by going on a hike, to a park, or just taking a walk around town.

Start planning ahead for the holiday season

It’s never too early to start putting some many back for the busy holiday season ahead. Try to find ways to cut costs so you can have a stress-free holiday season full of fun for the whole family! Stay tuned for a blog coming soon about starting early on holiday saving!

Managing Financial Stress

As most of us know, money can be and often is one of the main reason people stress. Money is a can bring stress, especially in the times we are currently facing, where the future is uncertain and you feel worried, eager for the next step, and overwhelmed.

While it is completely normal to experience these feelings but you have to remember not to beat yourself down. Here are some ways to help you manage your financial stress while also taking care of yourself during these unprecedented times.

Determine the root of your financial stress

Write down the areas of your finances that bring the most stress to you. Examples could be medical bills, hard-to-manage payments (like mortgage or car payments). Evaluating your situation will often help you determine and create the best plan of action to help you manage these expenses.

Understand that you’re not alone

You may often feel ashamed of your financial situation, do your best to put it into perspective. So many people, world wide face financial hardships. You are not alone, try to focus on how to move forward.

Make a plan

Identify what’s within your control like a possible refinance? Also determine what can you not control? For example, furlough from your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Make a list of what’s in your control and tackle your stress as best you can.

Take small steps

Try to work towards your financial goals in small steps, don’t try to make the biggest payment right off the bat, try making multiple small payments to help take the stress away from other financial priorities as well. After slowly taking the steps to meet your goal, you will have made progress without feeling overwhelmed.

Work to long-term goals

Working to have financial freedom can be a long process, however, you can build some valuable habits when it comes to finances. For example, building an emergency fund so the next time you feel overwhelmed with finances, you have a savings account you can pull from instead of feeling like you’re behind.

Stay Positive and take care of yourself

A shift in your attitude and mindset could potentially flip the whole situation to help you feel motivated to conquer your financial stress. Stress can be a hard thing to go through, it can lead people into a place of unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms. If you notice you’ve developed unhealthy habits due to stress, you may consider talking to someone to help you through the process. Try your best do take things one day at a time and take a few breaks here and there to do something for yourself, like a hike or bike ride.

We hope these will help you get through any financial struggles that may come your way and take some stress and worry away during the times we are facing as a community.