Things Frugal Folks Do as the Weather Turns Cool

by Andrea Norris-McKnight

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A change in seasons can cause a change in your budget. Consider these things frugal folks do as the weather turns cool to make sure their budget changes for the better. Are you taking advantage of these opportunities to save?

Did you know that the changing seasons are typically an ideal time to plan and prepare for saving money? Read on to find out what things frugal folks do as the weather turns cool. Then keep this list on hand. These same things can help you save money when temperatures heat up again.

Update Your Meal Plans

With the change in temperatures comes a change in the seasonal veggies and fruits you’ll find in the produce department of your local grocers.  In many areas of the country, those zucchini, green beans and strawberries you bought so cheaply all summer will get a little more expensive, but you’ll likely see prices come down on cauliflower, bell peppers and cranberries.

Update your meal plans to include recipes that feature fall’s inexpensive produce. You might be able to modify some of your family’s favorite dishes, or you can quickly find easy-to-make inexpensive recipes online. Determine which fruits and veggies will be the best buys for your kids’ snacks and school lunches.

Not sure which fruits and vegetables are in season in fall? Keep an eye out for produce sales in your grocer’s sales’ flyers. And bookmark this handy online seasonal produce guide from the USDA. Using this guide, you can easily update your meal plan each season in order to best take advantage of seasonal produce savings.

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Replenish Summer Wardrobes

At summer’s end, sort through each family members’ summer wardrobe to determine what items of clothing need to be donated, sold, thrown out and replaced. Then shop the end-of-summer clearance sales to pick up any needed items.

Buy kids’ clothing at least one size bigger and they should be able to fit into their new summer threads when the weather heats up again next year. And don’t forget to buy new bathing suits and summer pajamas if you expect they’ll outgrow their current ones by next summer. These items don’t get any cheaper than at the end of the hot season.

If you pack away clothing at the end of each season, now is the time to pull out fall’s outfits and pack away summer’s. Be sure to pack and store clothing such that it is protected from moisture and moths. Unpacking seasonal clothing can be fun since it can feel like you’re getting a whole new wardrobe, especially if you picked up some clearance steals at the end of last winter that you’ve yet to wear.

And when cool weather begins to warm up? Take these same steps so you can replace cool weather clothing during the fall and winter after-season clearance sales.

Pull Out Cold Weather Bedding

While you are packing away and pulling out clothing, don’t forget to pull out cool weather bedding. Even if you don’t put any on your beds just yet, you’ll have time to wash everything that has been packed away all spring and summer.

Make sure you pull out a few extra blankets to keep in living areas other than bedrooms. You’ll be more likely to resist turning on the heat if you have a cozy blanket to wrap yourself in when watching TV or reading in the family room.

And speaking of heat, go ahead and pull out any space heaters you have tucked away in closets or cabinets so you have them handy in your most-used rooms. Like blankets, space heaters can help you keep your furnace or central heat off as long as possible and your energy bills low.

At the end of winter, swap your space heaters for your oscillating fans and your flannel sheets for your moisture-wicking sheets and you’ll be ready to keep cool without cranking the A/C.

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Plan for Holiday Shopping

The earlier you make holiday gift lists and grocery lists, the more time you’ll have to watch for both retail sales and grocery sales.

Shopping ahead for adults is easy since they don’t change interests as quickly as kids do. But you likely already know a gift or two your son or daughter would love to get so start watching prices online. And don’t forget to watch end-of season summer clearance sales for gifts.  If hubby is a grill master, grilling items are deeply discounted at the start of fall. And summer goodies like bubbles and sidewalk chalk can be picked up for mere pennies for kids’ stocking stuffers.

You may not know yet whether you’ll be a host or a guest for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but you can still start stocking up on food items you may need to prepare a holiday meal as you find them on sale. If you don’t end up hosting a holiday meal? No big deal. It just means you have less shopping to do later since you can use the foods for regular family meals. Who says you can only eat stuffing on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Regardless of where you spend the holidays, most of us bake up holiday goodies every year. Go ahead and plan which baked goods you want to make and start stockpiling ingredients at low prices. And keep in mind that baked goods can make wonderful inexpensive gifts for friends, neighbors and co-workers. They don’t need to know just how cheaply you made their sweet treats.

When summer rolls around again, holiday shopping will likely be the farthest thing from your mind, but you can still pre-plan and prepare for upcoming birthdays and other gift-giving occasions year round. As the current season changes into the next, figure out what gifts and even party supplies you’ll need to buy so you can start watching for the best prices. And remember to keep an eye on end-of-season clearance sales for inexpensive gifts.

The best way to take advantage of seasonal savings is to plan and prepare ahead of time. So mark reminders on your calendar now to do these seasonal tasks and you’ll reap plenty of savings, not just during the cool season, but year round.

Reviewed September 2022

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