Repeat after me: My wallet doesn’t dictate my happiness.
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My heart will always belong to summer, but I love doing fall bucket list activities around work and side hustles. Sure there’s a chill in the air, but I’m definitely pleased when it’s time to break out my knee high boots! What I don’t find pleasing is the cost of some fall activities. When you’re hustling to pay off student loan debt like me, saving to buy a house or have some other financial obligation, finding the money for some fall bucket list activities is tough. Even with the beautiful memories to create, it’s hard to justify paying for parking, admission, and than for fruit by the pound to go apple or pumpkin picking when you can get them much cheaper at your local grocery story.
In New Jersey you can easily spend $100 per family to pick apples or pumpkins once you pay the admission fee, price per pound of what you picked, food and other farm activities like hayrides, donkey rides, etc. It’s definitely not a fall bucket list activity for those days when you’re short on cash.
But not having a big stream of income is no reason to miss out on fall activities. And apple picking is not the only activity to get you in the fall spirit. Here’s my fall bucket list that won’t cost you an arm and leg to enjoy. Happy Autumn!
- Drink warm apple cider
Unpopular opinion, but apple cider will beat pumpkin spice any day. Drink it warm in your favorite fall inspired mug while cuddling on a soft hooded blanket and you’re in for a treat. Lots of great fall memories have been created while sipping on some warm cider in my household. And if you want to forget them all, you can add some caramel vodka to the mix! Ha ha!
2. Go to a high school football game
If you’ve got sports fans in your life, you know that nothing is more fall-inspired in their world than the NFL. Sure it’s a fun activity, even for non sports fans, but $100’s per ticket, plus parking and food isn’t my idea of affordable fun. Instead, go to your local high school football team. The tickets are much more affordable, the parking is free and you’ll be supporting your community.
3. Go hiking
I’ll be honest. I’m not the most outdoorsy person unless it’s beach related, so hiking is not exactly my thing. However, I know it’s a big deal to those who love exploring. Just do a google search for “hiking + your local town” to locate some great trails. If trails aren’t your cup of tea, consider taking a stroll around your neighborhood parks instead.
4. Make Halloween cookies
Cookies are amazing. They are inexpensive and can be designed for EVERY holiday and special occasion. So it only makes sense we make some Halloween inspired cookies. If you are designed challenged like me, try using cookie cutters like these and just applying some icing and sprinkles for quick and easy decoration.
5. Watch Hocus Pocus
Has fall even entered your life if you haven’t watched Hocus Pocus? It’s a hilarious classic making you question everything you knew about virginity as a child. Enough said.
6. Paint pumpkins
Skipping out on picking pumpkins on the farm doesn’t mean you have to miss all the pumpkin activities. Head to the grocery store, pick out some nice ones without the pricey admission fee and get painting.
7. Take a fall foliage drive
I don’t exactly live in Maine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see beautiful trees come autumn. Hop in the car, and take a drive to the park or even up the highways and see the colors of the changing leaves.
8. Have a fall photo shoot
Instagram or not, you should never stop taking pictures. It’s always nice to have something to reignite your memories. And no, you don’t need to hire a professional photographer to get it done. Nor do you need to pay a hefty fee to attend exclusive events or highly Instagrammable places like the Rose Mansion in NYC. Instead, get creative and do it yourself.
Find the hot spots in your town, wear some fall-centric attire and start snapping. You can even do a nice shoot in your home with a nice backdrop, and a pumpkin here and there. Or if you are going to a fall event, do your best to capture some candid photos of the event. Not a great photographer? Check out tips from Pinterest and other bloggers. I love this post from photographer, Kita of the blog Itsreallykita.com. She offers great tips for snapping great photos throughout her lifestyle blog; especially when it comes to event photos and branded pictures.
9. Roast marshmallows for s’mores
Who doesn’t love s’mores? some associate them with camping during the summer months and others think of them of a nice activity to do around the fireplace during a toasty fall or winter night. I think they’re great all year round. And you don’t need a fireplace to enjoy them. Get a stick from the backyard, heat up your gas stove and go to town. Or head to Amazon and purchase an indoor s’mores making kit if you don’t have a gas stove or fireplace. They are fairly inexspensive and make s’mores making seamless. This one is less than $20 on Amazon.
10. Experiment with making corn
While we may think pumpkin is king once fall rolls around, I think corn ranks up there for a delicious and inexpensive fall treat. Corn on the cob is so delicious and can be prepared in so many ways. Get a pack from the grocery store, and look up some great rubs, marinades and preparation tricks for some delicious corn. Believe it or not, there are several corn cookbooks on Amazon that are a free or extremely inexpensive like this one and this one.
11. Go to the dollar tree and pick out some fall candles
My husband and I are suckers for a good candle scent. I absolutely love cinnamon, cider and autumn spice scented candles. Luckily, you need to spend a lot on them. Take a trip to the Dollar Tree, give yourself a $5 budget and go to town.
12. Have a blind popcorn taste test
Have you ever noticed how many different ways you can season popcorn? Everybody loves the classic movie theater butter popcorn or sea salt seasoned popcorn. But there’s also caramel, sour cream, cinnamon, garlic, pumpkin spice and more. Get a bag of popcorn kernels and start seasoning.
13. Pumpkin beer tasting
Yes, I know pumpkin spice lattes are the current obsession, but if you ask my husband the real winner is a pumpkin inspired beer. Invite a few friends over and have each bring a six pack of some pumpkin spiced alcoholic beverages and see which one tastes the best.
14. Hard cider tasting
This is where the real winner of the bunch will be. Hard cider is definitely the trendy thing to drink and there’s so much to choose from. So of course, it only makes sense to do a taste test for these too.
15. Make apple cider donuts
Everybody knows the best apple cider donuts are found at the farm and are best eaten after pumpkin or apple picking. But as I mentioned this is the budget friendly fall bucket list and the farm is just not in the budget. So instead, why not experiment and bake your own apple cider donuts? Or head on over to Aldi if you have one near you. Believe it or not, their appe cider donuts are actually pretty good.
Have you done any of these? What’s your favorite budget friendly fall activity?
TERRIfic Quips: – Everything has it’s season