How to Have a Fun Frugal Fall for Grown-ups
Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year. It’s time to put on those favorite sweaters, drink spiced lattes, and indulge in pumpkin everything.
The talk often turns to getting children ready for Halloween and finding family-friendly activities. Those are great. But adults can have fun too!
Kids aren’t the only ones that can carve this fall. Try carving out some time for yourself to enjoy these fun frugal fall activities for grown-ups.
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Go apple picking
Fall is apple season and what better way to celebrate than to pick your own apples? Gather up some friends and family and head to the nearest apple orchard. Many orchards have several varieties of apples, even some you may not typically find in grocery stores.
Don’t worry about picking too many apples either. Fresh ones taste delicious and they last a long time in the fridge. But there’s so much more that you can do with fresh apples.
Make baked apple treats
A good way to pass an afternoon is to use your apples for cooking and baking. Try making apple cider, applesauce, apple pie, apple hand pies, apple muffins, or straight baked apples.
Baked apples are an easy treat. Add some cinnamon, sugar, butter, and a few nuts to the apples…yum! It’ll make your house smell good too!
Have a picnic
Summer weather can be too hot, but the weather in September and October may be just right to stay outside comfortably for a picnic. Pack a sweater or light jacket if the weather gets cool.
Go for a hike
Spring and fall are the best times of the year to go for a hike. Once you get walking, you warm up without worrying out overheating in the hot sun. Flowers and wildlife are still out to see. And depending on where you live, you may see the leaves changing colors.
Go on a road trip or camping
If you’re feeling even more adventurous or want to take a getaway, turn that hike into a full road trip or camping trip. Lodging tends to be less expensive and fewer people are around as it’s no longer prime vacation season.
Carve a pumpkin
Carving pumpkins isn’t just for children. Adults can join in on the fun too. Buy pumpkins for only a few dollars at the supermarket rather than a pumpkin patch to save money. You might even buy more than one pumpkin to practice carving or share in the fun with friends.
Try out new soup recipes
Fall is soup and sweater weather. As the weather gets colder, bring out your favorite soup recipes or find some new ones to cook up.
Soups are budget-friendly too! They’re often filled with inexpensive vegetables or beans. A big batch can last for several days of meals. If it’s too much soup at once, freeze the leftovers and take them out anytime for a quick meal.
This curried butternut squash soup is my favorite fall soup. In fact, I made it this week to kick off fall! It’s only a few ingredients and makes for a great meal paired with hard crusty bread.
Host a soup exchange
Round up some friends and have each person make a large batch of different soups. Then put them in smaller containers to pass out to each other during a soup exchange. Not only do you get to try different soups, but you also have dinner for days!
Try baking a new pie
While pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies will always be perennial favorites, why not try baking a new type of pie? Some pies like plum, pear, or even chocolate pie are suitable for autumn and sure to be a hit. Don’t forget to invite me over for a slice!
Clear the house of clutter
I hear you, cleaning the house isn’t exactly fun. But it feels good to have a clean and clutter-free home.
Clear your closets of summer clothes. Donate or recycle what you don’t need. Put away things that have been sitting out for a while. Then you’ll have space to put out fall and winter decorations.
Stock your fall wardrobe with sales and thrift finds
Do you need new clothes for colder weather? If you like shopping, try browsing store sales and thrift stores before choosing to pay for things at full retail price. You might be surprised at how much money you save when you play only a few dollars for sweaters, pants, and jackets.
Host a clothing swap
A clothing swap is a great way to get new clothes for free. Gather up a group of girlfriends and have them bring any clothes and accessories they don’t wear anymore. Then take turns picking out items while having fun socializing with each other.
Hold a garage or yard sale
Most people think of garage and yard sales taking place in the spring. Fall is not too late to host one either. Post online and in the neighborhood to publicize the sale. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with potential buyers to get your things sold. You end up making money instead of spending it!
Take a tour of open houses
Fall is frequently the busiest time of year for home sales. If you like architecture, interior design, or HGTV, check out the open houses in your area to see their staging and get ideas for your own place. You don’t even have to be looking to buy a home to take a tour.
Make some Halloween treats
It’s not just children that love Halloween candy. Adults are just as fond of sweets too. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy Halloween treats out there if you’re monitoring sugar and calorie intake
Make your Halloween costume
Store-bought costumes can be expensive. Challenge yourself to make your costume for less. They often turn out better looking and unique when they’re homemade.
Invite friends over to watch football
A cheap way to socialize during the season is to invite some friends over to watch football. Put out some appetizers, snacks, and drinks, and you’ll keep the guys busy for hours. If you’re looking to save even more, make it a bit more potluck style so you don’t have to do it all yourself.
Visit a fall festival
There are lots of fall-themed and unrelated festivals this time of year. In the SF Bay Area, there’s the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Some of the highlights are seeing the winner of the pumpkin weigh-off and watching the pumpkin pie eating competition.
Check out fall festivals happening in your area. You can keep costs low by eating before visiting or bringing your own food and drinks if it’s allowed.
Have a bonfire
Hold a bonfire in your backyard or at the beach. Just don’t forget the smores!
Try some fall crafts
Adults aren’t too old for crafts either. Trader Joes has a haunted house and turkey gingerbread kits in the fall.
Spend an afternoon make them yourself or with the children in your life. My niece loves making these with me each year, and her parents love that it keeps her busy.
Redecorate the house for fall
Use free pinecones and pumpkins and gourds from the supermarket. Pull out the decorations you used last year and reuse them again this year. If you have children, have them help you make some easy crafts that can go on display around the house.
Visit museums on free days or after hours
Many museums have special deals for admission even in the fall season. You might find some offer one day free a month or evening programming for adults at a discounted price.
Attend school concerts and recitals
If you live near a university or conservatory, you can find low-cost and free performances on their performance calendars. Students have to perform as part of their degree program. Many of them perform in November and December to the end of the quarter or semester.
I’ve attended high-quality musical theater shows, opera performances, and piano concerts from graduate students. They were just as good as some of the professional shows I’ve seen.
Volunteer your time
Volunteering your time doesn’t cost anything and can be fun too. Many charities are looking for help in the fall season. You can help serve meals, drive seniors to holiday events and medical appointments, gather clothing for underserved families, and much more.
The best part is that you can decide how much time to devote, whether is one event for the season or a few hours a week.
Prepare early for Thanksgiving and Christmas
If you know you have big plans for the holidays this year, start planning early. Put alerts on flights to get the lowest prices. Make a gift exchange list and brainstorm gift ideas for your budget.
Use your gift cards and stores credits to purchase gifts and holiday decorations. You’ll save yourself time and stress with an early start.
While many people lament the end of summer, fall offers plenty of fun frugal things to do too.
What are your favorite ways to have a low-cost fall season?