The sun is setting earlier each night and the kids are back to school. It’s hard to believe that summer is over! The leaves will be changing colors soon and before you know it, you’ll be out shopping for the holidays. By sticking to a budget, September is a great month to save money. With a little effort and planning, there are plenty of ways to save money and score some great early fall deals.
September Savings Add Up
1. Save at home.
September is a great time to save on energy bills. Skip running the A/C or furnace whenever possible. Turn on a fan if you’re too warm or put an extra blanket on the bed if you’re cold. Don’t forget to switch ceiling fan directions and pick up new furnace filters too. It’s also a great time to check the weather stripping on doors and windows and to get your chimney cleaned before winter.
2. Hit up clearance racks.
While it might seem like shopping isn’t going to help you save, if you find clearance items you need – or will need next summer – you can save! You’ll find summer clothes, patio furniture, grills, lawnmowers, back-to-school supplies, and more with prices slashed in September.
3. Shop at local thrift stores.
You can find great sales at thrift stores in September! If they have any summer clothing left, you’ll probably save 50-75% off already low thrift store prices. You’ll also get the first choice of winter clothes that are on display. Many thrift stores carry Halloween costumes for your little ghosts and goblins too!
4. Visit a farmer’s market.
Rather than picking up seasonal fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, find your favorites at a farmer’s market. You’ll find carrots, potatoes, apples, pumpkins and more in September. If you want to decorate for fall, you’ll find all you need at the market. It’s also a win-win when you get great produce and support local farmers.
5. Make some great home-cooked meals.
Bring your farmer’s market finds home and make an amazing soup or stew in your slow cooker. Instead of stopping for fast food or ordering take-out, you’ll come home, and dinner’s ready! You’ll probably have enough for left-overs to take for lunch the next day too. Your home-cooked meal will save you money, and it’s probably a much healthier choice.
6. Seek free or low-cost entertainment.
In September, you can have fun at fall festivals and go for walks in the woods. Rather than going out with friends, invite them over for game night or to have a bonfire. Remember all those subscriptions you pay for? Stay home and watch movies or start watching a new series. Don’t forget to check out what’s going on at your local library too.
7. Negotiate your bills.
Now that the lazy days of summer are over commit to taking a couple of hours to go through your monthly bills to see where you might save. You might be surprised to see that automated monthly payments have gone up without you noticing! Call your cable and internet providers and see if there is any way to reduce your payment. What about all your insurance bills? Don’t assume that your current insurance provider has the lowest premiums for the coverage you want. Shop around, and you might save hundreds of dollars each year.
After a summer of fun, September is a great month to get your financial house back in order. Making a few small changes is worth the effort when you see how much money ends up back in your bank account.
Knowing that the holidays are just a few months away, you can always start looking for early deals for your loved ones too. Just make sure that if you buy gifts ahead or shop summer clearance racks that you keep track of what you’re spending. Also, don’t forget where you’ve stored these items. If you’re not careful, you might go way over budget on great “deals” and not be able to find what you bought!
Article contributed by Vicki Cook
Vicki is the co-founder of Women Who Money and Women’s Money Talk, and the founder and blogger behind Make Smarter Decisions. She enjoys writing about real estate investing, financial independence, career decisions, and travel. She’s been an educator for over 30 years and holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.