We’re smack-dab in the thick of autumn when the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Since you’ll be spending more time at home staying comfy-cozy, it’s not a bad idea to learn a few ways you can maximize your time, energy, and money in anticipation of the big chill. Take a look at these nine ways to save in November, and then add your own suggestions in the comment section below.
1. Score Big Deals on Halloween Costumes and Decorations
Prices will be slashed the day after Halloween to move inventory expediently to make more room for Christmas swag galore. November 1 is a perfectly fine day to start stocking up on costumes and decorations for next year – the discounts will be steep – but if you wait a few additional days you may see those already deep discounts get deeper. The tradeoff to this tactic, however, is that the pickings may be slim by the time you get to the sale. You’ll have to decide what’s worth more – a good selection of items at around 50% off or a limited selection of items at 75% or more off. Up to you.
2. Scoop Up the Savings on Discounted Pumpkins and Gourds
Just like Halloween costumes and decorations will be priced to move the day following the festivities, so too will pumpkins and gourds that will otherwise rot because demand has dwindled to virtually nothing. Take advantage of these super savings by scooping up a few prize selections that you can turn into soups, sides, and desserts to soothe your soul you when the mercury takes a dip.
3. Teach Yourself How to Can Fruits and Vegetables
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It’s totally cliché, for sure, but the logic behind it isn’t flawed. With that concept in mind then, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to can your own food to fill your pantry. There are plenty of resources on the Internet to turn a novice into a pro in no time, including this comprehensive how-to site from one of the most popular names in canning. Learning this skills will not only ensure that you’re eating healthier whole foods, but you’ll also save a ton of cash over buying the packaged alternatives that you normally purchase.
4. Pay Attention to Falling Poultry Prices
Poultry is an autumn dinner-table staple, which means that you’re likely to find more deals on chickens and turkeys because of their abundance in supermarkets. Take this opportunity to stock up on whole birds that you can turn into several meals and then use the carcasses to make your own homemade stocks. You may even be able to score a free bird if your market is offering holiday incentives – like free turkeys – when you reach a certain spend limit in a specific period of time. Check with your local market to see if these programs are in place.
5. Make Homemade Broths to Eat Healthier This Winter
Since fall is a time when roast meat, poultry, fish and root vegetables make up more of your diet, you’re wasting an opportunity if you’re discarding the undesirable bits. Those bones and parts and stems hold a lot of flavor that you can unlock by boiling them down into a stock that you can later use for soups, stews, and flavoring rices and pastas. Your homemade beef, fish, chicken and veggie broths will keep for six to 12 months in the freezer, and they come at no additional cost to you since you’re using the remnants of something you’ve already paid for to make something new. Get started with this how-to on chicken stock.
6. Take Advantage of Pre-Holiday Sales to Stock Up on Baking Supplies
Fall and winter is the prime time for baking at home, and as a result many markets will run sales to help you stock up on baking supplies. Enhance those deals by clipping coupons, using your market’s loyalty card, and consulting money-saving apps on your trip to the store.
7. Winterize Your Home and Automobile
Properly winterizing your home can result in serious savings throughout the fall and winter. Some items to add to your check list include sealing up drafts (which can waste up to 30% of your energy use), changing furnace filters, running fans in reverse, protecting your water lines, turning down your water heater, make sure your heating system is working efficiently, and self-monitoring where you’re keeping the thermostat. To prepare your car for winter, make sure you have an emergency kit inside in case of unexpected breakdowns during a storm, check your car’s belts and hoses, replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid, check your antifreeze levels, change your oil, and check your battery and tire pressure.
8. Scour Clothing Racks for Remnants of Summer Clearance
Summer is but a memory in November, but there are probably a few leftover clothing items that pepper clearance racks at your favorite stores. Get a head start on next year by buy shorts and other warm-weather clothing while they’re at rock-bottom prices.
9. Host a Clothing Swap With Your Friends and Neighbors
If you need winter clothes and can’t necessarily afford a new wardrobe, consider hosting a clothing swap with your friends and neighbors. During a clothing swap, guests will bring their unwanted items that they’d like to trade for other people’s unwanted items. If all goes well, you can make out with a few new pieces that you love while getting rid of a few old pieces that you don’t want anymore.
10. Enjoy More At-Home Entertainment Instead of Going Out
Who wants to venture out of the house when the wind is howling and the trees are shivering? Not many of us – which is why November is an ideal time to cut back on the outdoor recreation and enjoy more time at home. You won’t have to spend any money at home by reading, playing video or board games, baking and cooking, inviting friends over for movie nights, knitting, finishing open projects around the house, decorating for the holidays, making crafts, or whatever other indoor activities strikes your fancy. This autumn, slip into your comfiest sweats and enjoy the brisk weather from inside looking out. You’ll be happy you did.
Do you have other suggestions on how to save money in November? Let me know in the comments below.