10 Free or Frugal Fall Activities
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The start of September and cooler temperatures have me excited for fall. We are very frugal and have unapologetically cut our expenses, but that doesn’t mean we’ve eliminated fun or time with friends. We’ve just shaped our lives a little differently. Even though our utility bill will soon double, there are fun ways to save money while enjoying fall!
Financial independence and FIRE does not guarantee happiness, you have to go out there and find what makes you happy!
Here are my favorite frugal fall activities to help you save money this autumn!
1. Jump in a Leaf Pile
Once the leaves fall, get some exercise, and rake them into a giant pile for jumping! (Is it weird we don’t have kids and still do this?)
This is one of the best ideas since you can burn some calories, get yardwork done, and have fun. Invite some friends over to also do activities 3 and 5 and you have a full day of frugal fun.
Bonus points – then mow over the pile of leaves and spread on your garden beds. This makes free, awesome compost and it will help you retain your topsoil on your frugal garden! Or you can do as our home and rake the non-mulched leaves into your garden. The leaves will still decompose into nutrient rich soil, it will take a little longer.
Cost: Free (assuming you own the rakes)
2. Cider Mill Crawl
This is the much more PG version of a bar crawl. (Must visit three to count it as a crawl!)
Grab some friends and go on a cider mill crawl! This may be difficult to execute in some states, but Michigan has a bunch of cider mills, and they are conveniently clustered together. Michigan has a great website and your state may too!
Pile in a car or two with your friends and taste test to find out the best cider in your neck of the woods. Each of you can buy a 1/2 or whole gallon from one cider mill to divide the cost up. (As much as I’d like to drink cider by the gallon that certainly is not a healthy or frugal habit.) It’s best to do this when the leaves are changing and prime for some awesome photos.
Bonus Points – Travel via bike!
Cost: $10 for a gallon of cider and a couple of donuts
3. Tell Ghost Stories around a Fire
Invite your friends over for some drinks and to enjoy a fire (s’mores optional). We gather wood to burn from the woods behind our house. We also had a 60′ pine tree fall in our front yard that we sliced up to burn. If you don’t have that option, don’t move firewood buy local!
Bonus Points – Have everyone (or couple) bring a six pack of fall beer to sample and share. Our favorite is Southern Tier Pumking
4. Carve Pumpkins
This is a classic frugal fall activity! I can get pumpkins cheap from Kroger near me, or you can head to the pumpkin patch. If you see a small roadside stand the pumpkins will be cheaper there than at the large tourist pumpkin patch.
You don’t need fancy knives or carving kits, but if you want those they are a one time buy if you store them in a place you remember! We actually keep our one official pumpkin carving knife in our utensil drawer year round.
Bonus Points – Carve pumpkins you grew in your garden!
5. Play Yard Games
Fall is the BEST time to put on your favorite sweatshirt and bust out your yard games. I love board games, but there will be plenty of time for that in the winter. Get outside and enjoy the last few weeks of good weather. Our favorites are:
- Susie sticks (build your own with 3/8″ PVC)
- Beersbee (build your own set with 1/2″ PVC)
- Can Jam
- Bocce Ball
Bonus Points – Make a homemade trophy for the winning team to get everyone in the competitive spirit
6. Build a Fall Sign
I have a quite the stockpile of craft ideas and seeking financial independence has challenged me to use what I have! The only crafting supply I’ve bought in the last year is extra envelopes! (Though I may have asked for yarn for my birthday…)
Get creative and use what you have on hand!
Bonus Points – Make the sign using free pallets!
7. Go on a Hike
Hiking is an awesome frugal fall activity! It is free, you can see nature in all it’s colorful glory, and take some time away from screens and bond.
I’m seeking financial independence to grow my IRL relationships and improve myself. There’s something bonding about completing a challenging hike with friends or family. Our whole pack loves hiking (especially the dogs).
I also recommend solo hiking to reflect and meditate. Just know the path!
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the trail.
Bonus Points – Bring some in-season fruit (apples, peaches, plums)
Cost: Free or whatever the gas costs!
8. Host a Football Watching BBQ Potluck
College and NFL football seasons have started (Go Green!) and instead of splurging and going to the game, invite your friends over to watch one of the games that your antennae picks up (we don’t pay for cable). we either grill or make copious amounts of chili and have people bring a side dish.
9. Attend a Perennial Flower/Seed Swap
A few organizations in our city host a perennial flower/seed swap in the fall. These are awesome to attend to get more varied plants in your landscaping. We have bountiful lily and hosta plants, so this is a great way to get rid of some of those.
Fall is the time to plant bulbs and garlic for next year! So don’t forget about your frugal garden even as the weather is turning cold. These events are also great places to meet others interested in growing food and flowers.
Bonus Points – Bring a friend who is new to gardening. Spreading your love for growing plants helps the environment and to develop community.
10. Harvest and Make Sauces!
Fall is the time to process the fruits (literal) of your labor. You can make homemade BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, applesauce, etc.
It’s also time to preserve garden produce (or get it super cheap from the grocery store or farmers market). We use this vacuum sealer to freeze zucchini, beans, and peppers. We display shelf stable fall and winter squash in little vignettes throughout the house then cook the produce throughout the winter.
It’s amazing how much time you’ll save throughout the year by spending 1-2 weekends prepping food and sauces in the fall. We get so busy around the holiday’s that it’s nice to have spaghetti sauce frozen and ready to use for a quick weeknight meal. We used to freeze our sauces in gallon sized freezer bags. This year we are trying out freezing them in quart sized mason jars for ease of defrosting. We’ve acquired about 50 (not exaggerating) mason jars over the past few years, I”ll let you know how that goes.
Bonus Points – Can some of the sauces to use as Christmas gifts!
Cost: $10 for needed groceries/electricity
So there’s my list of 10 Frugal Fall Activities! Fall is my favorite season. We are working to live a more simple and present life. Recognizing and enjoying the changing of the seasons is important for our pack.
Let’s start the conversation! What are your favorite frugal fall activities?
Note: This post contains some affiliate links, please see my disclaimer page for more information.