Autumn is the time when the cool weather has me hankering for traditional seasonal foods, be they baked goods or perfectly-colored produce. Here are some of my favorite frugal fall foods and flavors that not only taste great, but also provide money-saving opportunities as well.


It’s tough to get much more traditional – or more affordable – than gingerbread. It’s suitable for September through to spring, and is a flavor suitable for everything from snack cake to bread pudding. I also like to season a homemade gingerbread latte occasionally when the weather turns cooler. (See also: Giant List of Gingerbread Recipes)


As soon as autumn arrives, I’m ready to enjoy anything from pumpkin casserole to seasonal pies. This popular produce item works in sweetbreads, fudge recipes, flavored coffees and more. Some of my favorite penny-pinching pumpkin recipes include bran muffins, pancakes and even margaritas when I’m in the right mood. This particular pantry staple happens to be popular with children and adults alike, making it a safe bet to stock for your holiday baking.

Acorn Squash

Full of fiber and vitamins, acorn squash is one of the more affordable winter squash selections to buy on the fly. Its size makes it easy to pick up a single piece at a time without going overboard on the number of pounds you purchase.  I like to stuff them with grains, nuts and other goodies for an alternative Thanksgiving menu, as well as bake them up for a simple side dish. You can also slice them into rings to roast for a fancier plating option.

Dried Beans

Whether you garden them yourself or purchase them in bulk from the health food store, dried beans are not only good for you, they are also one of the cheapest weight loss foods on the market. Because they fill you up so quickly, it’s also possible to get by with less food on your plate then if you were eating a chicken breast, for example. Try some in dips, salads, curries and main entrees to round out your repertoire of healthy eating options.


Picking your own apples as a family is a great way to have a fun outing and stock some healthy fall food at the same time. Of course, if you don’t have access to a you-pick orchard near your home, the stores are certainly selling them at an affordable price come autumn. Purchasing them in bulk lets you not only make your own sauce, pies and crisps, but also to celebrate Halloween affordably if you combine bobbing for apples with a make-your-own candy apple buffet.

The great thing about fall foods is that they tend to stand on their own as far as flavor, simplicity and how appealing they are to a wide age range. This makes them perfect for those who need to cook for large families on a regular basis.

What are your favorite fall treats? As usual, recipe and meal ideas are welcome in the comment section below. 

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.