It’s officially autumn and just like the leaves, DIY Tax wants you to fall… right into savings. See what we did there? Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky ones who receive a tax refund each year. But if you’re like many of us, now is the time to start saving in case you owe the IRS when you file. Whether you’re preparing for tax time, saving up for a big purchase, or simply want to improve your financial situation, start with these money-saving tips:
Change Your Spending Habits
The weather isn’t the only thing changing around here. Our ways of living shift in the fall and winter months too. We’re not spending money on amusement parks, cookouts, new swimsuits, beach trips, and all the summer fun that we miss so much. Take advantage of the time spent inside in the fall, not spending money. When you do go out, create a budget for how much you plan to spend and stick to it. Take a long look at your spending, then find ways to improve it and cut out unnecessary expenses.
Eat In More
If you eat out a lot, cut back on how often you do. Make a goal of only going out once or twice a week. Plan your meals ahead based on ingredients you already have. Choose recipes that leave leftovers and pack lunch throughout the week. This time of year comes with an abundance of affordable seasonal groceries like squash, apples, and veggies. Try some fall recipes instead of dining out and save hundreds by tax season. Plus, there are tons of affordable recipes out there like this one to make at home.
Give Your Home & Car Some TLC
Colder weather can mean a high energy bill or car expenses for many of us. Consider doing some things to prevent costs down the road. Don’t crank up the heat in your house if you can help it. According to energy.gov, you save as much as 1% on your bill for every 1° you lower your thermostat for 8 hours. Clean your furnace and check your insulation. Turn off electronics when you’re not using them, and set your timer if you fall asleep with the TV on. Check your car oil and battery, and keep your tires filled. These small steps can make a big impact on your wallet.
Stick With Sales
We know that no matter how hard you try not to, you’re going to do some shopping this fall. You’ll probably need some winter clothes or school supplies for the kids, and let’s not forget holiday gifts. Find bargains, clip coupons, spot sales, use promo codes, shop around and plan shopping trips ahead of time. Consider shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops too. Bonus: Summer items are on sale now, so buying now can save you money in the long run.
Build That Stash
Start stashing away extra money each week or paycheck. Every dollar adds up. If you start today with $25 each week, you’ll have $250 by Christmas! That’s enough to get your mom that bracelet she’s had her eye on or better yet, make her a DIY gift and spend that $250 on multiple gifts.
We’ll be posting more money-saving tips and DIY ideas soon, so keep up with the DIY Tax blog by following us on Facebook and Twitter. Let us know what other ways you’re saving money this fall in the comments below!