Sense & Centsibility Blog

Fall Chores: Save Money and Time with These 4 Tips

November. Most of the leaves have fallen. We’ve had killing frost. The skies are threatening snow. I love this time of year! So dramatic.

I also enjoy fall chores. I like the crisp air for working outdoors, the quality of the daylight, the tidying up and buttoning down. November also heralds the season of relaxation and catching up on my reading: Winter.

The cold is serious up here in Minnesota. Ignoring fall chores can be costly in money and time. My tips:

  1. The Leaves.

    In Minneapolis we are required to use compostable bags for our leaves. And, they 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 and bending and hauling. Instead, mow your leaves! Put the mower on mulching mode and mow them into little pieces that will break down and actually feed your lawn.  Save time and save money on fertilizer. You’ll be back in the house enjoying some hot chocolate while your neighbors are still stuffing the mountain of leaves into bags.
  2. The Flower Pots.

    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 (and soil) inside – (garage, porch, basement.) You’ll preserve any decorative finish and keep the pots from repeated freeze/thaw which can break them. The soil can be reused with some amendments next spring.
  3. The Garden Hoses.

    Water expands when it freezes and can crack the hoses. One year I had an icicle fall and puncture a hose I neglected to store away. Leaking hoses are a drag and have to be repaired or replaced. Drain the hoses well and store in a protected area. A little effort this fall will save you the time and expense.
  4. The Seeds.

    All those beautiful flowers you planted last spring have lost their beauty and went to seed. It is their purpose in life after all – to propagate their species. But, you spent good money on the seedlings or seed packets.

Gather the seeds! Let dry completely, put them in labeled envelopes, and then store in an airtight container someplace cool and dry in the house. Start the seeds indoors early next spring or plant directly in the ground. You just saved money and channeled your agricultural for-bearers who saved seeds out of necessity.

So, put on your flannel, don your work gloves and go enjoy the fall chores. Soon enough you’ll be shoveling snow dreaming about spring again!

Author Mary Ellen Kaluza is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling. She specializes in budget, credit, and debt counseling.