Fall Chores: Four Tips to Save Money and Time
It’s fall. Most of the leaves have fallen. Some places have had a killing frost. The skies can threaten snow. I love this time of year; so dramatic! It’s also a prelude to winter, the season of relaxation and catching up on reading or TV.
I enjoy doing chores during this season. I like the crisp air for working outdoors, the quality of the daylight, the tidying up and the buttoning down. Ignoring fall chores can be costly in money and time. Here are my tips to save both:
In Minneapolis we are required to use compostable bags for our leaves, and those bags are pricey. I watch my neighbors fill up a dozen bags or more with leaves for the city to pick up. That’s a lot of raking, bending and hauling and a lot of money besides. Instead, mow your leaves! Chop them into little pieces that will break down and feed your lawn. You’ll save time, money and your back! You’ll also be enjoying some hot chocolate while your neighbors are still stuffing the mountain of leaves into bags.
In your enthusiasm for the end of drab winter and the birth of flowers and greenery again, you invested in pots and soil to brighten up the homestead. What to do with them now that the flowers have succumbed to the cold? Bring the pots with the soil inside to your garage, porch or basement. You’ll preserve any decorative finish and keep the pots from repeated freezing and thawing, which can break them. The soil can be reused with some added soil next spring.
Water expands when it freezes and can crack the hoses. Drain the hoses well, and store in a protected area. Storing them is crucial; one year, I had an icicle fall and puncture a hose I neglected to put away. Leaking hoses are a drag, too, and must be repaired or replaced. A little effort this fall will save you a headache in the spring.
All those beautiful flowers you planted last spring have lost their beauty and gone to seed. It is their purpose in life after all – to propagate their species. You spent good money on those flowers, though, so gather the seeds! Let them dry completely, put them in labeled envelopes, then store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place in the house. Start the seeds indoors early next spring, or plant directly in the ground. You just saved money and channeled your agricultural forebears who gathered seeds out of necessity.
You can still improve your finances even if you don't have a yard of your own. Talk to your landlord and see if you can negotiate a reduction in rent in exchange for doing yardwork. Another option is helping your neighbors. You can make a little extra money if they are willing to hire someone to help them.
So, put on your flannel shirt, don your work gloves and go enjoy November. Soon enough, you’ll be shoveling snow and dreaming about spring again!
If you are looking for other ways to save money and control expenses, LSS Financial Counseling can provide that support. Our trusted, experienced counselors will work with you to create workable plans to monitor and limit spending and meet your budget. Call 888.577.2227, or get all your support online.
Mary Ellen Kaluza is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling.