Budgeting for the Month: October

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You might say October kicks off the crazy shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, winter holiday spending (including Halloween) for 2014–2015 was $623.5 billion. That’s almost six times the amount we spend on back-to-school, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day combined!

It’s incredibly important to make a budget ahead of this crazy spending season so you are in control of your money. Here are some common expenses and opportunities to plan for in the month of October.

1. Sporting Events

It’s football time. From college tailgating to watching your kid’s junior varsity game, you’ll be supporting your favorite players with some extra cash this month. So make a game plan before you start cheering from the sidelines.

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Related: One Thing to Remember Before You Watch Your Kid’s Sporting Event

2. Candy for Trick-or-Treaters

This one’s a given in October. Kids will come knocking in the hopes of scoring some sugary goodness. Set aside a little money for sweets—after all, those little fairies and vampires in front of you are working for it on Halloween!

3. Halloween Decorations

What Halloween is complete without some decorations? Whether you want to turn your front yard into a graveyard with mock headstones, a fog machine and spooky sounds from a concealed speaker or just put a few pumpkins on the front porch, mark some of your dollars for decorating.

4. Fall Travel

If your family has a fall break and you’ve got the money budgeted, then head out and have fun! A lot of resorts send out special offers since business is slow this time of year. Just remember the other costs that go with a getaway such as gasoline, boarding costs for your pets, and restaurants.

5. Grills and Patio Furniture

Grills are marked down as much as 50% after Labor Day. And that’s nothing compared to the 90% discount you may find on outdoor furniture! Selections for both items are more limited the longer you wait, but you can’t argue with the savings.

5. Out-of-Season Foods

By now, the farmers markets are all closed up, your garden is dry as a bone, and the grocery store has put a premium on tomatoes and cantaloupes again. Remember to budget more money for all of those now out-of-season ingredients you’ve been enjoying all summer.

Related: 5 Simple Ways to Cut Down Your Grocery Bill Without Coupons

6. Cold-Weather Wear

Long-sleeve shirts, jackets and coats may not be on sale this month, but you might still be in the market for them. After all, adults may need to replace the older-than-the-children hats and coats in their closets. And kids grow up fast—they need new clothes practically every year. If their duds don’t fit anymore, sell them on consignment and use that money for their next round of jackets, shirts and gloves. Budget some money and check the clearance section while shopping. You never know what sort of deals you can find there.

The opportunities to spend in October are nothing to be scared of. Why? Because you have a plan—which means you have control. Make your budget to determine what you can afford and what needs to wait. That gives you great peace of mind.

For even more October budget line items you shouldn’t overlook, check out this article on EveryDollar.com.

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