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Fall is the beginning of the holiday season. Everywhere you look, you’re reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. For most, the holidays usher in mixed feelings, a sense of joy and dread all at the same time. Living debt-free or paying down debt may seem impossible. You may be asking, “How can I enjoy the holidays debt-free without busting my budget?” First of all, living on a budget shouldn’t mean isolation and deprivation. I challenge you to include a few frugal Fall bucket list items this year. I’ve created some of the best memories while I was paying down debt. Enjoying seasonal activities doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. I’m here to share my frugal Fall bucket list and exactly how much I’ve spent so far.

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Why create a Frugal Fall Bucket List?

A popular past time on social media is creating seasonal bucket lists. Before I started my debt-free journey, I loved making a list of everything I wanted to try. For the last few years, while I was paying off debt, I avoided bucket lists altogether. I rationalized that they were frivolous and unnecessary. My money would be better spent paying down debt.

To be honest, I was miserable. It was the worse and most agonizing part of my debt-free journey. I felt isolated that I couldn’t afford to do anything with my friends or family. In my crazed obsession to become debt-free, I used every last dollar towards paying down my debt. I drove myself and my family crazy with this self-imposed deprivation. It didn’t dawn on me to search for cheap and even free seasonal events or activities. I was so accustomed to seeing amazing and adventurous bucket lists, that simply listing “carving a pumpkin” seemed boring.

In the end, I realized that budgeting a little more on entertainment would not hinder my debt-free progress. And that’s when the light bulb finally turned on and I changed my perspective. You need to create a Frugal Fall Bucket List! Not just for the fun of it, but to learn how to balance your financial goals with a few frugal splurges.

Change your Perspective

Like anything in life, how you perceive something has the greatest impact. Instead of focusing on what you can’t afford, focus on what you can afford. Having a focus and a plan will steer you in the right direction. When I knew how much I was willing to spend, I found cheap and even free things to do. You don’t have to miss out and swear off bucket lists entirely. According to the Healthy Blog, bucket lists can make you life more meaningful.

Change your perspective on the whole situation. Remember that your bucket list consists of items that you want to do or accomplish before the season ends. Don’t overthink it. Your bucket list does not have to be extravagant or lavish. I’ve actually enjoyed this bucket list more than I thought I would. Just be honest with yourself and figure out what you can fit into your budget. If it’s only one item, that’s okay. Just remember to always budget in a little fun or entertainment in your monthly zero-based budget.

Yes, you can afford a Fall Bucket List!

You may be wondering, “Change your perspective? How is that going to help me when I’m living on a budget without extra cash for fun?” You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy Fall activities. You just need to shift your perspective and focus on activities that are affordable. Focusing on a theme is a great way to combine activities instead of creating an epic bucket list that’s unrealistic and costly. It’s cheaper since the activities complement or feed off of each other. Embrace the simple things in life, and it might just surprise you.

I’ve been posting Fall bucket list ideas all month long. If you’ve missed any, please read these posts here:

How much have I spent?

So far, I’ve spent just under $50. Even though I haven’t spent a lot, I’ve enjoyed the entire process. First, I started researching cheap and frugal activities. It reminded me that you don’t need to have a lot of cash if you get creative. There are so many free things to do. You just need to change your perspective. I have created memories that will last a lifetime, and I’ve done it debt-free, all paid with cash! Here’s what I’ve done so far and how much it cost.

Researching cheap and frugal activities reminded me that there are so many free things to do. You just need to change your perspective. I have created memories that will last a lifetime, and I’ve done it debt-free, all paid with cash! Here’s what I’ve done so far and how much it cost.

Budget-Friendly Pumpkin Fall Bucket List (Total Spent $16.26)

Pumpkins are a Fall staple, and I kicked off my bucket list series with pumpkins as my focus. I’ve spent a total of $16.26 checking my to-do’s off of my pumpkin bucket list. To read the full post on pumpkin bucket lists, click here. For a summary of what I’ve done and how much it cost, read on.

Buy a pumpkin ($12.82)

I purchased three large pumpkins at the grocery store for $2.99 each, and a bag of mini pumpkins for $3.85. While they are waiting to be carved on Halloween, I’m using them as Fall decorations throughout my house. It just doesn’t feel like Fall until I bring home a pumpkin.

Pumpkin surrounded by mini pumpkins, apples, pine cones, and leaves.
Visit a pumpkin patch ($0.00)

We weren’t able to visit a pumpkin patch this year. It just wasn’t in the plans this year, but this one is always a must-do each year.

Carve a pumpkin ($2.19)

We like to carve pumpkins on Halloween night, so we haven’t done this yet. I bought another pumpkin carving kit, so we’ll be ready.

Roast pumpkin seeds ($0.00)

We plan on roasting pumpkin seeds when we carve the pumpkins on Halloween. We technically haven’t gotten to this yet either, but it won’t cost us a cent when we do.

Have a pumpkin treat: ($1.25)

This year instead of buying a pumpkin latte, I switched it up and bought a pumpkin donut instead. It was cheaper than a Starbucks pumpkin latte and it was delicious. If you love pumpkin, branch out and try something different this season.  

Frugal Fall Apple Bucket List (Total Spent $30.14)

Focusing on seasonal fruit is a budget-friendly way to create a bucket list that won’t break the bank. So far, I’ve spent $30.14 checking off my apple bucket list to-do. To read the full post on creating a Fall bucket list focused on apples, click here.

Apple Picking ($0.00)

It’s been way too hot in Southern California to go apple picking. Last year, we went apple picking for the first time, and we loved it! The apples were more flavorful than store-bought. We had a great time strolling through the orchards and tasting all the yummy samples. I’m hoping to check this off my bucket list before the apple picking season is over.  

Drink Apple Cider ($3.85)

Freshly pressed apple cider from an apple orchard is better than anything you can buy at the grocery store. My family still rave about the apple cider we tried last year when we went apple-picking for the first time. I bought a jug of apple cider at the grocery store hoping that it would taste as good. Sadly, I was mistaken. The silver lining to this story is that we promised ourselves that we would visit Oak Glen again just to taste the apple cider.

Make Caramel Apples ($20.49)

This was by far the most expensive bucket list item. This was my first time making caramel apples. The final product was not that pretty, but I sure had a great time eating them. Sure, I could have bought ready-made caramel apples at the store, but it was fun trying a new recipe and much more interesting making them. The most expensive item was the candy thermometer purchased at Target for $12.08.  The apples tasted way better than store-bought. Unlike the store-bought ones which are often mushy, mine stayed crispy, even days after. Try making these at home. You won’t regret it! For the recipe, click here.

Four caramel apples on a gold plate.
Make baked apples ($5.80)

The aroma of baked apples mingled with cinnamon and brown sugar is one of the most heavenly scents for Fall. Baked apples are simple and easy to make. It just goes to show that simple, down to earth recipes can be the most satisfying and delicious.

Bobbing for Apples ($0.00)

My family is not on board with this bucket list item. But, I’m hoping they’ll catch the Halloween spirit and take a bite at the apple, so to speak.

Frugal Spooky Fall Bucket List (Total Spent $2.50)

I love getting scared during this time of the year. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on spooky experiences. For example, I’ve spent a whopping total of $2.50. To read my tips and tricks for creating a Frugal Fall Spooky Bucket List, click here.

Watch a scary movie ($2.50)

We decided to rent the movie “It” for $2.50 at our local Movie Video Store. You can always rent a scary movie for free from the library.

Read a scary book ($0.00)

For all that know me, I’m a book nerd and I love it. Before living debt-free, I would impulsively purchase digital books especially if I was really into a book series. I spent so much money purchasing digital books when I could have easily have rented them at the library. Truth be told, I simply didn’t have the patience to wait until the book was available at the library, and it cost me dearly. With a little patience, I can read to my heart’s content without spending a dime. I’m currently on the waitlist to read “Doctor Sleep”, the sequel to Stephen King’s, “The Shining”. I read the sample of the first few chapters, and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to finish it!

Tell Ghost Stories ($0.00)

We are reserving this bucket list item for Halloween night. There’s just something about Halloween night that makes even made-up scary stories even more frightening.

Go on a haunted tour or haunted hayride ($0.00)

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do this bucket list item this year. Sometimes the best-laid plans just don’t pan out. Typically, date nights in October include a “scary” experience like a haunted hayride or tour. It may be time to switch it up and check this item off with my friends next year.  

Final Thoughts about How much I spent on my Frugal Fall 2019 Bucket List

My experience proves that you don’t need a large pile of cash to start a Fall bucket list. I’ve only spent around $50, but I’ve enjoyed planning and trying out these Fall adventures. It’s money well spent in my eyes. Don’t sit around moping just because you’re trying to live a debt-free lifestyle. Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to sit at home, bored, alone and isolated. First of all, change your perspective and decide what bucket list items you can do this Fall. In the end, you’ll find that frugal experiences doesn’t necessarily mean they’re short on fun. Happy Fall Bucket List Making!

What Frugal Fall Bucket List Items are you trying this year? Share in the comments below.

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