I used to laugh at those ridiculous Quizno’s commercials that showed various people stuffing their mouths with dry five dollar bills. The humorous display was followed by the slogan: “Want a better way to eat five dollars?”
Whether Quizno’s realized it or not, that was probably the most accurate display of what happens every time we buy food.
More times than not, we don’t make the wisest choices when it comes to the food we buy. If people honestly took the time to analyze how much they spend just on eating out, they’d be shocked.
Over the course of a month, the hundreds of dollars that they’ve stuffed into their mouths could’ve easily contributed to that new house, car, or vacation or other goals that have been brushed aside due to lack of money.
It doesn’t just stop at eating out – how much money are you spending at the grocery store?
Everyday people walk into the store and spend hundreds of dollars on produce that could easily be grown in our own backyards for a fraction of the cost. Plus, we’re paying for produce bathed in pesticides or herbicides that are not necessary with organic backyard gardening.
Home grown food promotes health and wealth!
In addition to saving money on your grocery bill, if you’re good at it, gardening could also make you some extra money. If you knew that you could make $10,000 by the end of the year just by putting your dirt to work – would you do it?
In his book called Pay Dirt: How to Make $10,000 a Year from your Back Yard, John Tullock shares the concept of micro-gardening (gardening in small spaces) and how he used his suburban garden to bring in an addition $10,000 a year. He encourages gardeners of all levels to use the space and skills that they have available to literally rake in the dollars. If we’re willing to put in the work, money can actually grow on trees!
So why are so many people passing up this win/win situation?
For most people, gardening has become a lost art that’s leaving with our grandparents. With the current state of our economy, this is one skill that we can’t afford to lose.
Don’t know how or when to start?
Summer is almost here, it’s not too late to get in on this money-saving and potentially money-making art.
Start by heading to the garden center of stores in your area. Walmart is a good place to start to purchase inexpensive seeds and seedlings, but don’t stop there. Head to specialty garden stores, like Woodley’s or Wingard’s (in SC) to speak to experts who can provide guidance on the best varieties to plant this time of year.
Cold weather crops are best when temperature is still fluctuating – you can still plant crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, onions, collards and other leafy greens right now. The weather is also perfect for starting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra, watermelons and other delicious fruits.
It’s easy to start your own fruits and vegetables from seed. On the back of every package of seeds you can find instructions that tell you when to plant and in which conditions. It’s best to start seeds indoors about a month (or a few weeks) before you plan to transplant them in the ground. This will give you plenty of time to get your yard ready.
If you’re low on space, you can use large pots for many vegetable varieties.
If you’re a bit impatient, rather than starting from seeds, purchase flats of these same starter plants (seedlings) and plant them in the ground when there’s no longer a threat of frost. Right now, you can find seedlings everywhere (Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and local garden stores).
You may need to invest in an adequate amount of compost and/or garden soil to get started, but you can also make your own from composting your kitchen waste. (The savings continue!)
Want to save even more money on your grocery bill?
If you want to save even more money, try raising chickens in your backyard and you’ll never have to buy eggs again. If you’ve got the space for goats, they can provide a healthy source of milk and cheese in far less space than cows need. Want free organic honey? Try keeping honeybees, it’s not as difficult as it seems and you’ll also increase pollination of your crops.
Start small with your favorite foods if you’re not used to gardening or keeping livestock and then add on as you become more comfortable. All plants really need are the initial investments of time spent planting and fertilizing, watering, periodic weeding and then final harvesting.
Before you know it, you’ll have an abundant harvest that you can use in your own kitchen or that you can sell to others in your neighborhood or at a local farmers’ market.
Are you ready to stop eating your money?
Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/bsXPXL