25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information.)

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)

Are you looking to slow the fall season down and savor it with your family, but your budget is tight? Here are 25 fall activities that you can enjoy with your family–all costing less than $10.

25 low cost or free Fall activities for the whole family. #fallcrafts #fallbucketlist


Before you read the list, I want to make sure that you understand a few things. I in no way expect your family to make this list of fall activities a to-do list. Instead, I want it to be an idea list. Families are busy and trying to fit 25 fall activities into fall isn’t going to create family bonding; it will create family stress.

Think of this list as an idea starter. Pick what ideas work for your family and your budget and forget about the rest.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

1. Attend Free Community Events

Almost every town has a free fall festival of some type. Ask around on Facebook, check your local newspapers website, look at the bulletin boards in your local shops. If you have college in your town, check their Facebook for community events too as some put on free events for families from time to time.

2. Take A Nature Walk

Take a nature hike on a local walking trail in your community. You can take it spontaneously on a beautiful fall day or if you are more of a planner go wild preparing. Create a fall scavenger hunt sheet with five items or so that the kids need to look for on the walk. Give the kids each an empty grocery bag and tell them to collect different leaf specimens on the way.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

3. Bake And Decorate Cookies Or Cupcakes

Time to break out the pumpkin shaped cookie cutters and the orange food coloring. Or perhaps the witch and cat cookie cutter and the black sprinkles. Of course, you could always make cupcakes topped with both orange icing and black sprinkles. In our family, we make cupcakes using my recipe for wacky cake (no milk or eggs and very moist), and we ice them using my super simple three ingredient icing recipe that even someone with minimal baking experience can make in under five minutes.

4. Hold A Fall Themed Movie Night

Make a batch of caramel crunch popcorn and a jug of frugal lemonade. Grab a free movie from your library, or use a free Redbox promo code (psst…the site Money Saving Mom regularly lists them.) If your library allows you access to the Hoopla app, pick one from there. If you can’t find a free one, Redbox movies are under $2 and most Amazon streaming movies are $6 and under. Both make for an inexpensive family night when compared to going to the movie theater.

5. Attend Free Church Events

Our church has thrown an annual trunk or treat for years. It is free and open to all. I know we are not the only church to offer such an event near Halloween. Check your local churches Facebook pages or websites for listings of such events.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

6. Read A Fall Themed Book Aloud

Go to your local library and ask the librarian for suggestions of fall books that your family might enjoy reading together. You might also want to check out their selection of audio books that you could listen to as a family in the car. The Hoopla app is our family’s favorite source of great free downloadable audio books you can borrow.

7. Color Fall Themed Coloring Sheets

A quick Google search will help you find free fall themed coloring sheets that you can print out. Make a family evening of this event by putting out some snacks, putting on music in the background and making sure everyone has plenty of coloring pencils, markers and crayons. A pencil sharpener is also a must if you are going to be using colored pencils.

psst… did you know Hollar often carries all the supplies you will need for a family coloring night at low prices? (they often have Crayola brand too) Use my referral credit (those words in blue) and you will get $2 off your first Hollar purchase.

8. Create Fall Decor Together Out Of What You Already Own

Spend a few minutes going through your home searching for possible fall art supplies then go to Pinterest and enter “fall crafts” into their search area and see what crafts you can make using either just what you have on hand or mostly what you have on hand. If you need a few supplies, dollar stores might have what you need at a very inexpensive cost.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

9. Have A Backyard Campfire Night

Depending on where you live you may or may not be able to have a backyard campfire. If you can, make sure to enjoy a crisp fall evening as a family. Buy the supplies for a hot dog roast and turn it into a night long event. Try my chocolate chip cookie s’mores for a new twist on a campfire classic. Or just keep things super simple and gather around the fire and enjoy each other’s company.

10 Paint Or Carve Pumpkins Together

Aldi in our town sells pumpkins for less than $5 a piece. Chances are your city has a source for inexpensive pumpkins too. Grab one or a few depending on what your budget can afford and spend a bit of time one evening painting or carving the pumpkin together. If you carve it, don’t forget to roast the seeds. Even if no one ends up enjoying the taste of them, it is a super easy project that all kids should try at least once.

11. Make Some Fall Slime Or Playdough

Slime is all the rage with kids right now. So why not try making a fall themed batch of it (here is a recipe I found on Pinterest). Not a fan of slime? Try making a few batches of play dough and dye them fall colors then have fun making fall scenes with it all fall.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

12. Grab A Can Of Pumpkin And Bake Something

Enter “pumpkin baking” into pumpkin recipes into the Pinterest search area, and you will find hundreds of yummy fall recipes to try (I have an entire Pinterest board full of them). My guess is you might also be able to earn a cash back on those cans of pumpkin you buy if you use a grocery app or two.

Here is a list of the ones I use most often:

13. Collect Leaves And Make Some Art With Them

If you took my nature walk suggestion, you might have collected leaves and are now wondering what to do with them. Make them into art. I entered “leaf art for kids” into the search feed on Pinterest, and some very original ideas came up. Ideas way beyond the simple wax paper placemats I use to make in school.

14. Earn A Few Gift Cards And Cash Them In For Pumpkin Lattes Or Another Fall Favorite

I know a $5 pumpkin latte is a splurge for those on tight budgets, but what if I told you there was a way to grab one for you and possibly a few more for your family without digging into your family’s current budget? I have been using point reward programs for years to treat myself to fancy coffee.

A few top earning sites for me are:

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

15. Organize A Halloween Costume Swap With Friends

Halloween costumes can add up. Yes, there is always the dress up bin as well as the recycling bin for supplies and Pinterest for inspiration, which can result in great 100% free costumes, but there is another way to get great costumes for no money. Invite all the families you know over a few weeks before Halloween for a costume swap.

Make the event fellowship friendly by asking people to bring a dish to share as well as their costumes to exchange. You can dine together and then swap. Any leftover costumes can be donated to your favorite thrift store.

Here is a list of 10 different swap parties families on tight budgets can throw to help each other out financially.

Here is a list of 7 Christmas themed swap parties you can use to help out a tight Christmas budget

16. Pick Out A New Soup And Bread Recipe And Make Dinner Together

What meal screams fall? Hot soup and warm bread smothered in butter–of course! Our family loves my husband’s bread machine white bread served warm come fall, and I am usually inspired by the season to try my hand at creating at least one new type of soup.

My favorite source of free soup recipes isn’t Pinterest though–I know, shocking! Nope, I prefer trying out recipes I find in the magazines I enjoy for free! I earn most of them through RecycleBank where one-year magazine subscriptions vary from 100 points up to 300 points.

With some point earning emails providing ways to earn 100 points or more, it doesn’t take long for me to cash in for my favorites magazines. In fall you will find me curled up under a blanket on my porch swing: a hot cup of something in one hand and a magazine in the other.

17. Attend Free Library Events

One more place to look for free family events is your local library. Often libraries will bring in people to do free to the public puppet shows or short plays. They also offer free book readings for children, movie showings, arts and craft lessons and more. What they offer depends on where you live.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

18. Do Fall Themed Volunteering

Chances are some people in your neighborhood could use help with raking leaves, cleaning gutters, or perhaps picking their fall fruit trees. Gather around the table as a family and make a list of those residents in your community you think could use a hand with their fall chores and then just show up with tools in hand and do the job for them. Better yet, find out when they won’t be home so they come back to a leaf free yard and no idea who did it. That right there will warm your family’s hearts and the recipient’s for days on end.

19. Take Part In National Candy Corn Day (October 30th) or another Fun National Day

Sometimes ordinary days start to string together and life seems a little boring. When that happens in our home, I often will take a peek at a National Day calendar listing online and see when the next one is that my family can take part in for little effort and money. National Candy Corn day is one of those days. On October 30th each year my family gets candy corn–they just don’t know when it is going to show up!

You could take this idea a step further and share a history lesson on candy corn, make a candy dish for the candy corn, or make button art in the shape of a candy corn. How much effort and cash you want to put into the national day is up to you. In our home, I keep it simple and pass out the candy with a loud “HAPPY CANDY CORN DAY!”

20. Create A Thankful Tree

Thanksgiving is of course in the late fall. To put your family in the thankfulness mindset create a thankful tree.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Buy a piece of white poster board from the dollar store then use a sharpie to draw an outline of a tree without its leaves.

Grab some fall leaf colored construction paper and a roll of tape. Cut the paper into leaf shapes and put them in a bowl on your dining room table as well as the tape and the marker. Each night at dinner time have everyone pick a leaf and write something on it that they are thankful for. Do this each night the week before Thanksgiving and by the big day, you will have a tree full of gratitude reminders.

25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget

21. Have A Chili Cook-off Night With Friends

Another classic fall dish is Chili. Why not bring the dish back into your lives for the season with a bang by throwing a chili cook-off night. Invite several families and ask them all to bring a crockpot full of their favorite chili recipe. Make a voting area where everyone can vote on their favorites. The winner goes home with a prize–many dollar stores sell medals in the birthday party area.

22. Try A New Apple Recipe

Fall is apple season. Either buy a bag from your grocery store or go to a local orchard and pick your own. Once you have some google apple recipes and create something yummy with them together as a family.

24. Jump In The Leaves Or Puddles

When my kids were little, they used to love it when I not only raked up the leaves in one big pile for them to jump in, but also took the time to jump in it with them. They also loved it when we would all put on rain boots after a fall rain storm and I would take them out to find puddles to jump in.

I am sure a few drivers of the cars passing by wondered what on earth a 30+ lady was doing jumping in puddles, but I didn’t care; I knew why I was doing it, my children’s memories mean more to me than the stares of strangers.

Go out there mom’s and dad’s and not only set the stage for fall fun, but join the kids and jump in those leaves and puddles!

25. Spend An Evening Planning Your Fall Activities Together

Now that you have read my list, grab the whole family and plan a fun filled fall. Make the planning session more fun by including fall themed snacks and fall themed coloring sheets to work on while you talk. Remember: just a sprinkle will do, too much can turn fun to stress.

Have each person in the family come up with one event they want to do and get it on the calendar during your planning night or work together to come up with two fun ideas you all want to do for each month of the fall season.

 Dig Into These Posts For More Inexpensive Entertainment Ideas

Thrifty and Thriving: More Life for Less Money is not your typical “how to save money” book. It does not list 25 ways to save on food or 10 ways to decrease your electric bill. Instead, it shares more than 40 key practices and principles that thrifty families use every day. Get your copy here. Available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.













How To Earn Gift Cards Using Fetch Rewards

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information.)

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)

If you buy groceries (and who doesn’t?), then you could be missing out on earning a gift card or two each month by using the Fetch Rewards app.

I recently discovered the Fetch Rewards app and took the time to get to know all the ins and outs of it to see if it was worth adding to my ever growing list of point reward websites and apps that are worth the time and effort. And it makes the list.

Use Fetch Rewards each time you go grocery shopping and earn gift cards. Such a simple way to earn cash back on your groceries.

The Fetch Rewards app is simple to use, has low cash out options, and you receive your rewards in a very short amount of time. These three things have earned it a spot on my recommended money making and saving apps and websites list.

How To Earn Gift Cards Using Fetch Rewards

1. Sign Up For An Account

As with all point reward apps and websites, you can’t earn if you haven’t joined. Go to the app store on your phone and download the free Fetch Rewards app. Once downloaded enter your information, including my referral code RE9FU. When you enter my referral code, you will receive 1500 points when you scan and complete your first receipt. That is enough points to bring you halfway to your first $3 gift card cash out–making it worthwhile to take that extra second or two to enter RE9FU into the referral code area at sign up.

How To Earn Gift Cards Using Fetch Rewards

2. Search Through The List Of Brands After Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

Currently, there are 158 different brands available to earn rewards through in the Fetch Rewards app. These are primarily brands that sell grocery and personal product items. All are name brands such as Degree, Axe, Heinz, and Kraft.

If you are primarily an ALDI shopper like me or a store brand shopper, you will probably still find a brand or two that you buy with some regularity, making it worth glancing at your receipt each shopping trip to see if you purchased an item from an included brand.

UPDATE:  Fetch now gives you points for every grocery receipt you update. You do earn more points though if your receipt contains brands from their list.

3. Upload Your Receipt

Knowing that you have a qualifying item on your receipt, hit the “scan” tab at the bottom of the app and follow the instructions.

And yes, one qualifying item is enough to make using Fetch Rewards worth your while.

On my first trip, for instance, the only item I had for a qualifying brand was a 2 liter of Mountain Dew I bought on sale for one dollar.  I earned 16 points plus a 1,000 receipt scan bonus. With each point equaling roughly .001 that means I earned $1.01 back on my $1 purchase.

The second time I used the app my only qualifying items was $2.99 box of Captain Crunch bought for a sleepover my kids were having. I earned a 1,000 receipt scan bonus plus 29 points for the cereal. Essentially this means I earned $1.02 for my few seconds worth of effort to scan and verify the receipt.

Those two trips plus the 1500 points I earned for entering my friend’s referral code at sign up (mine is RE9FU) were more than enough to claim my first $3 Amazon code.

How To Earn Gift Cards Using Fetch Rewards

4. Claim Your Reward

As you can see by my example, it is possible to earn your first cash out with Fetch Rewards in as little as two shopping trips -especially if you enter my referral code RE9FU during the sign-up process.

Fetch Rewards makes claiming and redeeming your reward simple. In the app, press the “rewards” tab at the bottom of the screen. You can then pick out your reward either by “category” or by “points.” I find it easier to search by points. Simply press the 3K option to cash out 3,000 points for a $3 reward or the 5K option to cash out 5,000 points for a $5 reward and so on. Fetch Rewards offers cash out values all the way up to 50,000 points for a $50 reward.

There are dozens of different types of gift cards available including those for Amazon, Walmart, Itunes, Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, Whole Foods and more.

Once you pick a reward, a code will be sent to your email box with instructions of how to cash in your gift card. So far I have cashed out for Amazon gift card codes and the whole process from picking out my reward in the app, to receiving my email, to adding it to my Amazon account has taken under five minutes. I would assume the process would vary depending on what gift card you choose.

Other Ways To Earn Points Using Fetch Rewards

How To Earn Gift Cards Using Fetch Rewards

Take Advantage Of Special Offers

Under the “Special Offers” tab within the Fetch Rewards app, you will find a current listing of offers that provide relatively high point values. For instance, when I wrote this you could earn 1500 points for buying any two Suave hair care products. To get the full details of these special offers, simply touch the “offer” box and a new screen will appear that shares all the details of that offer.

Refer Friends

Under the “me” tab you will find a link to your referral code (mine is RE9FU). Currently, when someone enters your code into the spot for it during sign up, they will get 1,500 points when they complete one receipt and so will you. That equals $1.50 for each of you!

Have you used Fetched Rewards? Is there another app or website that you use to earn gift cards that I might want to check out? Share in the comment section. 

3 Other Posts That Will Help You Earn Gift Cards:




10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Back To School Shopping

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information.)

(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)

Are school supplies and back to school clothing putting a strain on your budget year after year? Stop the money drain with these 10 ways to save money on back to school shopping.

Save money on all your back to school shopping from school supplies to clothing needs.


Our children go to a small private school two days a week and are homeschooled the other three days a week, but that doesn’t mean they need any fewer school supplies each year. Thankfully I am able to apply a lot of my best thrifty tips for living on less to back to school shopping to help shrink the cost of those supplies.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Back To School Shopping

1. Make A List

If your school is like the one my children attend, they probably send you a handy email with a downloadable supply list inside– make sure to print it out. On the back side of that list write down what your kids need beyond those supplies, things like new shoes, socks, sweatshirts, and school uniform items if your school requires them.

A few notes on how we decided what clothing items are needed for back to school.

To make a complete back to school wardrobe list I have each child dump every item of clothing they own on my bed and then we go over each and every item together. Does this item still fit? Sometimes if I don’t believe the answer to this question I will have them try it on–especially my sentimental child who wants to keep every article of clothing that sparks memories. Is the item in good condition? If it has stains or rips it goes straight in the trash. I know I am not the world’s best stain removal wizard and I don’t have time to mend. Do they still like wearing the item? If not and it passed the stain and rip test it goes into a box for the thrift store.

Once we have our pile of items that is staying we sort it into t-shirts, long sleeve tops, sweatshirts, shorts, jeans, etc so that we can see where there are wardrobe holes. I aim for four of each type of clothing item, that seems to be the magic number in our home to avoid the ‘Oh, no! I have nothing clean!” morning panic. If the child has less than four, we decide together what colors would work best with what they already have and add that article of clothing and suggested colors to our list.

I then divide the list into items they need right away and items that can wait. So if they need t-shirts we will get them right away since it is warm when they start school, but if they need a new winter coat then that can wait until cooler weather arrives, allowing me more time to find a great bargain. I store their lists in a zippered pocket in my purse so I have them with me at all times to refer to when I find deeply discounted clothing items in their size.

2. Shop Your Home First

Chances are you have a few items lying around your house that could be on that school supply list you printed off. Perhaps you bought a few extras last year just in case, or there are other items that were barely used. If so, don’t rebuy them; use what you have.

I know that might be hard to hear for some. After all there is a certain thrill as a child to going to school the first day with all new supplies, but is it really worth it? How long does that thrill last? I am guessing it dies by the end of the first week of school.

Teach your children instead to be wise stewards of money and the environment by using up supplies they already own. I am not saying they have to go to school with pencils with only an inch left or erasers that are as big as a pinky fingernail. But if the pencil was sharpened and used once and the eraser still looks like new, use them up this year and pocket the savings.

  10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Back To School Shopping

3. Buy Quality Where It Counts

My middle child is a senior in high school this year and he is going to go to school with a backpack he has used already for all three years of high school and it will probably make it to his very last day of this fourth and final year of high school.

The backpack is a Swiss Gear backpack (very similar to this model) bought on clearance one January for another purpose and then put away for school.  I paid about $5 more for it than a cheap version would be. That $5 difference has paid me back again and again. As of today after three years of constant use only one small accessory strap has fallen off. Other than that it is in perfect working order.  My daughter has the same brand in a different color, and her’s is now in its second year of use.

I find the same applies for binders, I bought my son several Five Star brand binders (like this one) his first year of high school and he is still using them going into his fourth year.

At home we use better quality pencils (this is our favorite brand), erasers and pens because I know they will last longer. However, I don’t send them to school with them because I have learned the hard way that my children are very absent minded with little items, meaning they get misplaced long before they get used up. Knowing this I send them to school with less expensive brands.

4. Shop Sales Or At Least Go To The Store Known For Lowest Prices

I only buy supplies for two children so I don’t do the school supply sales game where you go to store after store grabbing the lowest priced items at each one. If you have more children to buy for I can see it being worth your time. I suggest you follow the site Money Saving Mom during the back to school shopping season. The site does a great job of listing where you will find the lowest prices on school supplies.

What I do is simply head to the one store that I know has in general the lowest prices for school supplies overall in my town and I buy them there. I might not save the most money, but I also save time that I could spend on other money making or money saving ventures. You personally need to decide which approach would work best for your family and your financial situation.

41 Websites and Apps Thrifty People Use & Love

5. Use Cash Back Sites & Apps

Even though I don’t store hop for school supplies I will open up every cash back app and site I can think of to see if perhaps I can get a bit of money back on my purchase.

If I am shopping online I check these three sites to see who is offering a cash back deal on the store I am about to shop at. If several of them offer a cash back, I check to see which one is offering the highest rate.

The smartphone apps I use most often for savings in store (some do offer online savings too)

  • ibotta–Does rebates for both in-store and online shopping. Great selection of stores!
  • Shopkick–Earn points just for walking into the store
  • Receipt Hog–You don’t earn a lot using Receipt Hog, but it is so simple to use.

6. Consider Buying Secondhand

When I mention considering secondhand items to fullfill your back to school shopping list I am not talking about just clothing items. I have bought my children like-new binders at yard sales as well as report folders, pencil cases and more at a fraction of retail costs.

Secondhand clothing will save you even more money, though. I personally find yard sale clothing to be the least expensive, but it is also very hit and miss as to whether you will find what you are looking for. If you want to save money and you are short on time I would head to the biggest thrift store in your area.

You can also shop for secondhand clothing online. I have personally used Thredup dozens of times with good success, I make sure to check  the “like new” and “new with tags” option to ensure good quality. You can get $10 off your first order at ThredUp when you use my referral link (these words highlighted in blue are it). If you like name brand items I think you will like what you find at ThredUp. They have all sizes from infants through to adult.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Back To School Shopping

7. Buy Ahead When You Find Deeply Discounted Items

You know that every year you are going to need pencils, pens, erasers and paper so why not stock up if you see some deeply discounted a few months after school starts? Place these items in a plastic tote with a lid so they won’t get beaten up. Next time back to school season comes up you have a jump start on shopping.

8. Use Discounted Gift Cards

Discounted gift cards can save you anywhere from 1% to as much as 20% or more on your shopping, but you do have to think ahead. I usually pass unless I can save 5% or more. Our family likes using the company Cardpool, but there are others out there. A good site to use to help you get the best deal on discounted gift cards is Gift Card Granny. You simply sign up for an account and then you can start searching for the gift card you want and it will show you all the places offering that gift card at a discount.

The key to using discounted gift cards wisely to save money is to only buy them for stores you shop at often and always for a little less than you plan to spend. That way you are not stuck with a bunch of gift cards for places you either won’t shop at in the next 12 months or with less than a dollar on them.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Back To School Shopping

9. Keep Track Of What You Spend

Each and every year keep track of what you spent on school supplies. Use that information to create a budget for the next year. To be on the safe side always add about 10% to the amount you actually spend for next year’s budget to allow for rising prices or a change in supply list.

10. Earn Gift Cards For Things To Help You With Next Year’s Shopping

Did you know that there are companies that will give you points for searching the web through their search bars, or for printing and using coupons, or shopping online? You can then cash those points in for gift cards. These are all actions you probably already do for free so why not get paid to do them? One company that does this is Swagbucks. I have used them for years. Swagbucks makes it simple for everyone to earn anywhere from $5 to $25 or more each month without changing their online habits all that much. Simply download their search bar and use it instead of your current search engine.

Sign up for Swagbucks using my referral link | Snail Pace Transformations

Hope these tips help! Do you have any to add?

Three Related Posts You Are Going To Want To Read:

Thrifty and Thriving: More Life for Less Money is not your typical “how to save money” book. It does not list 25 ways to save on food or 10 ways to decrease your electric bill. Instead, it shares more than 40 key practices and principles that thrifty families use every day. Get your copy here. Available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.