Fall is a great time to save money and get ready for those holiday spending sprees. Here are our top ideas to get you started.

The kids are back in school, the temperatures are cooling off, and fall is on the way. As the season changes, it’s natural to shift gears, settle down and start thinking about the holiday season ahead – and the expenses that will come with it.

Fortunately, our team at Family Horizons Credit Union came up with some awesome things you can do now to save money and trim that budget this fall. And as always, if you’d like to talk about starting a savings account or financial planning, give us a call at (800) 944-0423. We’re here to help.

Reap the harvest. Vegetables and fruits are ample (and less expensive) in the fall. Take advantage by cooking up some hearty meals using affordable ingredients, and then freezing them for future meals.

Check out fall sales. You can get some great deals on clothing, home décor and seasonal items right now (and way before Black Friday). Need a new grill or outdoor patio set? Has your lawnmower seen better days? Watch for all those summer-related items that retailers are trying to move off the shelves and out of stock.

Start holiday shopping now. While it might not be as festive as Black Friday, shopping for all your holiday gifts now will not only cut down on stress, you can take advantage of early fall specials (like Labor Day sales) and other pre-season promotions.

Visit resale shops. Make regular visits to consignment shops and thrift stores. You can find fall sweaters, boots and accessories in excellent condition for a fraction of the price.

Skip the espresso. That hot cup of gourmet coffee every morning might taste good, but the expense can sure add up. Consider cutting down (or eliminating) the coffee shop stops and making your own brew from home.

DIY. Whether it’s holiday décor or Halloween costumes, become a do-it-yourself pro. A quick trip to the craft store and an online how-to video can not only save you money – it’ll make you feel proud of whatever it is you create.

Beware of scammers. The months leading up to the holidays are prime time for scammers. Be careful of any bargains or online promotions that are too good to be true, and never, ever give out any personal or financial information over the phone or online unless you’ve verified the source.

Be a frugal fan. Tailgate parties are awesome, and so is getting behind your favorite sports team. But you don’ have to break the bank to do it. Trade those fancy, over-priced jerseys and jewelry for discount store versions. And stock up on your tailgating food and supplies at bulk stores. Better yet, go in with neighbors or friends and split the costs.

Prep your home for fall. It’s amazing how much energy and money you can save with just a little elbow grease. Take the time to caulk and seal all those cracks around your windows and doors, and make sure your heating and air conditioning system is properly maintained all year around.

Find free activities. It’s hard to find a weekend when there’s not some type of free fall festival or special community event. Scour the internet for things to do, pack some food from home and go outdoors to enjoy your friends and family without the heavy price tag.

Reduce your nights out. Sure, hitting the town is a great way to spend the weekend, but staying home can be fun, too (and way cheaper)! Organize a pitch-in with neighbors and hangout out by a bonfire. Cook a special meal for your co-workers, or invite friends over for a movie night with popcorn and some great bonding time. Plan ahead for some nights at home and watch the savings add up.

How do you save money?

These are some fun ideas for saving money this fall, but we know there are plenty more. What are ways that you save those pennies this time of year? Do you have more money-saving tips to share? We’d love to hear about them – please leave your comments below.