Joco Diversions

A chill in the air often means unexpected expenses

Consider stocking up at dollar stores to save money on holiday decor.
Consider stocking up at dollar stores to save money on holiday decor. File photo

Despite a warm start to September, it’s finally feeling like the season that’s here: autumn. I love the warm and cozy vibe of fall as much as the next person, but for many, this is the time of year when finances seem to become even more of a burden. Between the upcoming holidays and the wear and tear of cold weather on our houses and cars, unexpected expenses seem to pop up. So here are some surprising opportunities to make this fall a season of savings.

Shop the season

For big ticket items or small supply stockpiles, there are certain things that are cheaper in fall. Appliances usually come in new around October, so keep an eye out for the clearance of the old ones. Outdoor things about to go out of season also tend to go on sale around this time of year: Think grills, bikes, sunglasses, lawn mowers and patio furniture. The best thing to buy in fall? Denim. It never goes out of style.

Use dollar store decor

We’re headed into a parade of holiday decorating. Spooky pumpkins will make way for friendly turkeys and both will yield to stars and bells in a matter of weeks. No place reminds you of this more than your favorite stores. Don’t be tempted by the festive decorations and miss the price tags. You can decorate your home on a dime with dollar store finds. From hangings and tabletop decor to themed flatware, you might be surprised by what you can find.

Slow cooker meals

There’s something about the running around of summertime that seems to bring a lot more meals out. One of the best parts of cooler weather is warmer food. By prepping slow cooker “dump” meals in the fridge at the beginning of the week, you can have a season-appropriate dinner ready when you get home. It’s all the convenience of a bite on the go with better food — and an even better price tag.

Prep the house for efficiency

Use the brisk fall weather to get your house ready for the really cold months. Seal up exteriors, fix creaky windows and doors, replace the screens with glass and make sure your heating system and pipes are up to snuff. Come winter, your energy bills will thank you for thinking ahead.

Easy small ways to save can add up big in the long run. As your shorts are traded in for jeans and your lemonade is swapped for cider, keep an eye out for other ways you can pinch a penny this season; and decide which festive treats are still worth the splurge.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit