Every week in 2013, I’m sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
We all know that it’s usually much less expensive to grow our own food, than to buy it at the store. But it’s also a lot of work. And time is money, too.
So if you have more time than money right now and you have the space for a big garden, definitely go for it. However, if a big garden is just not feasible, here are a few money-saving options that might work for you:
1. Plant an herb garden.
Fresh herbs are so delicious and nutritious. Best of all, they are easy to plant and care for, too!
Growing up, I had an herb garden for a number of years and loved experimenting with different herbs, different recipes, and different drying techniques. I recommend choosing herbs that you use often in cooking. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a lot of excess herbs that you might not really have a use for.
Tip: Here’s a quick way to freeze fresh herbs.
2. Only plant a few things.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I think we often can get ambitious with gardening and then end up biting off more than we can keep up with.
Instead of planting 27 different things, think about what vegetables you use the most and consider just planting your top 3-4 favorites.
Sure, you won’t be able to fix entire meals mostly from your backyard, but if you don’t have to buy lettuce, tomatoes, or onions all summer long, that will help cut down your grocery bill some.
Tip: If you’re short on space, you might also look into Square Foot Gardening.
3. Look into community gardening.
Want to have a big garden, but don’t have the space or hours of time to devote to it? Consider starting or participating in a community garden.
These are all run differently, but basically it’s just a group of people who all go in together and work together to plant and take care of a garden — and then split the produce that grows.
This might be something you could do with extended family or a few neighbors or friends. Or, you could see if your community already has a community garden project that you could participate in.
4. Have your children plant their own gardens and then pay them for the produce.
Growing up, one of our favorite things about summer was planting our own little garden plots. It never seemed like work and I loved watching my plants grow and produce.
If you have children who will have free time this summer, this might be something to consider. And you can offer to pay them a dime or some similar small amount for every item they grow.
This can be a win-win situation: you get to enjoy garden fresh produce for much less than what you usually pay for it at the store, your kids stay busy, and they have a way to earn money, too!
5. Barter with someone who plants a garden.
If you don’t have any space or desire to plant a garden, another option for inexpensive produce is to barter with friends who have big gardens. Maybe you bake bread for them, or babysit, or mow their grass, or fix their appliance (or whatever your skills are) in exchange for their extra garden produce. I’ve also heard that many people find free garden produce offers on Craigslist and Freecycle.
More Gardening Articles:
- Lower Your Grocery Bill By Growing Your Own Food
- How Gardening and Preserving Can Save You Money
- Making Gardening Work Even When You Don’t Have a Big Yard