Summer's Ending — 10 Smart Ways to Start the Fall Season off Right
The leaves may be falling, but that doesn’t mean the balance of your savings has to drop, too.
August 25, 2021
As the warm summer days change to crisp fall nights, you may already be thinking about the holiday season ahead; jam-packed with travel, gift-giving and other entertainment costs and expenses.
Luckily, you don’t have to wait until there’s snow on the ground to set aside funds for holiday travel. Here’s how you can start saving for holiday trips today, without waiting until winter.
Creating savings “buckets”
If you anticipate spending on everything from back-to-school expenses to end-of-year travel, using a “buckets” feature in your savings account can come in handy.
Many banks offer this feature, which allows you to break up your savings account into multiple digital buckets and send your money to whichever one you choose. This can make it easier to visualize your progress towards certain financial goals.
Spending less on seasonal necessities
You might be sipping the season’s first pumpkin spice latte, but the cold weather will be here soon enough. For some, this could mean shopping for warm outdoor gear and accessories, which can add extra expenses to their budget.
Instead of waiting until the last minute and scrambling to purchase the warmest winter coat out there, start looking now. The benefit of beginning your search sooner means you’ve got plenty of time for cost comparisons and seasonal sales before the cold weather blusters in and rushes you to make a purchase.
You can also save money by looking at second-hand sites like thredUP, Poshmark and Patagonia Worn Wear, where gently-used coats sell for a fraction of their original price. Better yet, you can keep an eye out for clothing swaps in your area to get something “new to you” for nothing.
Starting a savings challenge
With months to go before your planned holiday travel, a savings challenge may be a solid way to save for vacation. A savings challenge is a savings strategy that can span weeks, months or even a year, and it challenges participants to put away cash by abiding by certain “rules.”
A few popular savings challenges include:
Stop eating out. As of 2019, the average American spends $3,526 a year eating out. Try cutting this expense for a few weeks or months and put the extra cash towards holiday spending goals.
Pantry challenge. Put an end to overspending at the supermarket and clean out your pantry at the same time. For the pantry challenge, you’ll quit grocery shopping and eat only the food you have in your fridge or pantry until it runs out.
No-spending days. Once a week, elect a no-spending day where you aim to spend $0 for the entire day. Take the surplus and add it to your savings goals.
X-dollar challenge. This challenge can be done with any denomination bill. For example, in the $5 challenge, you’d set aside every $5 bill you receive. You’d be surprised how quickly it adds up!
No-drinking challenge. If you like to indulge in happy hour, challenge yourself to stop spending on wine, beer or alcoholic beverages for a certain period of time. Take the money you’d usually spend on drinks out and put it towards your savings goals.
Revisiting recurring charges
The average American household spends $564 per year on streaming services. It might be time to start revisiting your streaming subscriptions. Do you really need to subscribe to three platforms at a time? Consider cutting subscriptions down to even one service a month, or rotating between them to strategically save. If you want to take it a step further, you can cut out streaming services completely and opt for complimentary content from a local library; many of which include a streaming service like Kanopy, or DVDs you can borrow.
With the help of certain apps, you can save without even noticing. Consider using automatic savings tools and apps that help you set aside money in simple, convenient ways. These apps will round up credit or debit card purchases, helping you save small amounts that can add up over time.
You can even expedite automated savings on your own by setting up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings on a weekly or monthly basis. Once you set the automatic transfer, you may even “forget it,” or at least miss the money actually leaving your account.
Swapping “spring cleaning” for “fall tidying”
You don’t have to wait until spring cleaning to get rid of your unwanted stuff. In fact, you can sell things like old cell phones, computers and tablets for cash online. Selling electronics on BackBackWorld or ItsWorthMore can put a direct deposit into your account or a check in your hands within just a few days.
It would be tough for some people to go without the internet, even if it means more money in their pockets. However, you can contact your internet provider and attempt to negotiate a better monthly rate. If you’re in good standing, call to ask if the company will remove specific fees or prices that match a competitor’s rate in the area.
Similarly, you may be able to strike a bargain with your insurance provider. If you’re paying auto, home and/or renter’s insurance, your provider might offer you a discount for bundling your services. If you’ve been driving less or your driving record is in good standing, you can also try to renegotiate for a lower car insurance payment. All it takes is a little extra time and a polite approach on the phone.
Cashing in on shopping habits
Why not save a little for something you already do? Companies like Ibotta, Dosh and Fetch give you coupons and cash back when you go grocery shopping. In many cases, all you have to do is upload your receipt and the apps will give you cash back for sharing your shopping habits.
It might not seem like a lot of money with each transaction, but savings from the services could stack up over time.
Seeking out seasonal employment opportunities
As the weather cools down, many seasonal jobs start heating up. If you’re wondering how to save for a holiday trip, you can consider looking for additional part-time or hourly employment.
You might look around your area for:
Outdoor food, wine, beer or music festivals that need weekend help
Seasonal costume stores
Farms with seasonal offerings like pumpkin picking or hayrides
Clerical positions for local elections
Seasonal retail jobs that may be hiring early
If your budget is already tight, taking on even a few extra hours of work each week can be a great way to build up savings for holiday spending and travel.
Tapping into a smart savings solution
As summer turns to fall, you don’t have to freeze up around the idea of saving extra cash for holiday travel and unexpected expenses. Consider the above tips to start the season off right, with some cash in your savings for a holiday season full of travel.
Are you balancing credit card debt on top of your savings goals? If so, consider Tally. Tally is a smart credit card debt repayment app that combines all your credit cards into one monthly payment and offers a lower-interest line of credit* you can use to pay off your higher-interest credit cards.
*To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.