Saving Money


Lately I have really come to enjoy gardening and all of things that go along with it.  So what "goes along with it?"  To be honest, one of the major benefits, and reasons I started gardening is to save money.  I love saving money at the grocery store, but I love getting stuff  for free even more.  My diet consists mainly of produce, and cereal, with a few rice/chicken/beef/pasta themed dinners thrown in somewhere.  Because I eat a lot of produce, I was shopping for it once or twice a week, and spending a fair amount of money. 

For example, I eat a salad with at least one meal every day.  Typically I buy the pre-cut, pre-bagged stuff.  Why?  Because If I were to just buy a head of ice berg lettuce, I'm substituting cost for nutrition.  Since I'm not willing to do that, I buy the more expensive, ready-to-go, healthier stuff.  These bags of lettuce/spinach/mixed greens, etc. cost me close to  $3.00 a bag (and I can eat the whole bag in one setting).  Even if I don't have a salad every day of the week, and cut out a few days $3.00 x 5 days is $15.00 per week... just in salad!  However, I bought a pack of lettuce seeds with 5 different varieties, as well as a pack of iceberg lettuce seeds for $0.75 each.  That's $1.50 for a whole bunch of lettuce.  It converts to the price of one head of lettuce, plus much more for FREE!

I realize that it takes a few months to grow lettuce from seed to harvest, but lettuce can be grown year round, so once started  I'm not missing my salads during the overlap periods.  Also, it is important to know a few things about lettuce in particular. 

  1. Stagger planting times.  I planted 8 plants right at the start, and then planted 8 more about 3 weeks later.  This means the plants will all come to maturity at different times, so that when I harvest one crop, I will have more lettuce ready in just a few weeks.
  2. With lettuce, it is smarter to practice "sustainable harvesting."  What is this?  When it comes time to eat the lettuce, I have one of two options.  First, I could cut the entire head of lettuce out of the ground, chop it up, and make a salad.  Easy enough, but this leaves me in a pickle for future eating.  If I cut the whole plant out of the ground, it won't grow back.  It won't produce more lettuce for me to eat in a few weeks.  I basically have to start completely over from a seed - which takes months.  My second option is to go around each my 8-16 plants and pick 1-2 leaves from the outside of the plant.  This will give me 8-32 huge lettuce leaves, plenty to chop up and put into a salad. 
** I Challenge You to Save Money **

I know that many people don't have a garden, or an interest in gardening.  But like I said, gardening has opened my eyes to other money saving lifestyle changes- like reducing my power bill by 75% ever year.  Over the next few months, I will post an easy, inexpensive idea people can do to help them save money.  Notice the key words  EASY and INEXPENSIVE.  The great thing is that I'm allowing an entire month to complete a task.  After all the steps are complete, your cost of living will be dramatically reduced!  So, if you're interested in saving some serious dough, stay tuned for more!

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