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Can You Save Money with a Home Garden?

Posted By timparker On 12/15/2011 @ 2:11 pm In Personal Finance | 5 Comments

Food costs are rising and they’re going to rise more. Agflation, as it is called, isn’t being kind to consumers who are facing lowering wages or even unemployment. Food prices continue to rise and that has consumers scared. Some people are cutting out their weekly restaurant meals in exchange for cooking but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [3], food prices at the grocery story are rising at a much higher rate than your favorite restaurant. Before you start eating out more in order to address agflation, eating at home is still 66% cheaper than eating out.

If you can’t find a safe haven at the grocery store, where do you go? Some have turned to growing their own food but is it worth the money? Like any hobby, you’ll need to a few seasons of learning how to do it, some money to invest in to supplies, and enough time to tend to the garden.

Seeds

Others seem to have the same idea as you. Starting in 2009, seed companies have seen a sharp increase in their retail seed sales. In 2010 they reported a 30% increase in sales in just one year and that’s up from a 20% increase the year before.

The Perfect Storm

There is a perfect storm that has brewed making home gardening rise in popularity. First, going green is the 21st century version of modern and progressive living. It has quickly becoming mainstream. Second, part of the green craze is the increased emphasis on health. We no longer want chemicals sprayed all over out food and since we can’t directly control that, some would rather grow their own food. Finally, we want to save money. Those who have suffered since 2008 have learned that tightening their financial belt is a must and they see a garden as a way to cut down on costs.

Is it for You?

You have to look at saving money in a holistic way. It’s not just about limiting the amount of money leaving your wallet, it’s about everything money gives you. In the case of vegetables, your money gives you the power to pay somebody to invest their time in to growing. One article [4]asks three people about their financial return on their garden. One reported a profit of $2,500, another $800, and another lost money but the only person who considered the value of her time was the person who lost money. Are you taking time away from other things you enjoy more in order to save what may only amount to a small amount of money?

If you’re somebody who enjoys gardening activities, it may be worth your time to learn. Start during the off season and put together some projections like  This author [4]did. How big does your garden have to be to turn a profit? Go to an organic food store and write down the price per pound or container for comparison. It may take two or more seasons to get it right but for those who have the time to devote to learning and tending to the garden, the savings could be sizable. For those who are busy career people, it may be best to look for other ways to save. Coupons, maybe?


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[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

[4] One article : http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/RaiseKids/will-a-vegetable-garden-save-money.aspx

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