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When I talk to people about couponing, one concern I regularly hear is regarding the apparent lack of coupons for fresh produce.
Although you may be surprised at how many coupons are available for fresh fruits and veggies, you do have other options when it comes to cutting costs. Growing your own veggies may be hands down the cheapest way to get access to the freshest food available.
Planning your first garden
If you’ve never planted a garden before, the thought of growing your own food may be intimidating. While there is a little more to it than simply plopping a seed in the ground and hoping Mother Nature will take over, there is no reason for gardening to be overly complicated or expensive.
Start by finding a sunny spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight each day. You don’t need a large space either. Square foot gardening is a popular way to get a significant amount of produce out of spaces as small as 4×4. Container gardening is another option if space is limited.
Make sure your spot is well enough away from trees so its root system won’t interfere with your plants. The spot you pick should also have soil that drains well. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your soil, many nurseries, agricultural extension offices and even hardware stores offer free or low cost soil testing.
Should you be in an area with poor soil, you may want to consider constructing a raised bed that can be filled with the right mix of compost and soil. This will increase the start-up costs for your garden, but remember much of this is a one-time expense.
Finally, consider whether to grow seeds or plant seedlings. Seeds are cheaper but may need to be started indoors and then transplanted after the last frost in your area. Buying seedlings is more expensive but may be easier for beginner gardeners. Regardless of which method you choose, you can find recommended planting times on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website.
When selecting what to plant in your garden, keep in mind the following criteria: the size of your garden space, the type of produce your family will eat and your hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are used to indicate in which parts of the country plants will thrive, and you can find your zone.
Last year, SavingsAngel members took a poll in the gardening section of our online Angel Community to determine which five garden plants were most popular. According to our members, these are the five ‘must-plant’ items for gardens:
Other easy plants for beginner gardeners include green beans, lettuce, zucchini and herbs such as basil and parsley. Fresh herbs can be grown inside in small windowsill pots and offer fantastic value. Rather than spending a couple dollars each time you need herbs, you can spend that money once and have access to free, fresh ingredients all year long.
Now is the perfect time to start planning for your garden. It may take a little time and effort upfront but your grocery budget will thank you when you can pick free fruits and veggies from the backyard to supplement your supermarket savings.
If you hate couponing, you’ll LOVE SavingsAngel. If you love couponing, you’ll LOVE SavingsAngel.
The best couponers save hundreds of dollars every month at the grocery store. However, extreme couponers can end up living very extreme lifestyles to get those savings. For over five years, SavingsAngel.com has equalized the playing field – giving extreme savings to busy families who don’t have the time or ability to be an extreme couponer. Each week, SavingsAngel.com’s over 70 angels combine over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2000 different manufacturer coupons. These combinations result in our members getting access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Simply log in, choose the deals you want, print or clip only the coupons you need, and save hundreds of dollars a month at regional and national stores. Our angels will personally work with you to craft a plan that will help you buy healthier food at lower prices – helping you keep $200 to $400 in savings each month.
Josh Elledge is the Chief Executive “Angel” of SavingsAngel, Inc. – launched from his home in January 2007. A husband and father of three, he now appears each week on television, in eight newspapers, and a number of radio stations across the country teaching families how to cut their grocery bill in half using the Internet. Elledge created the technology found on SavingsAngel.com through the need to save his own family’s money. Successfully able to cut his own grocery bill from $600 a month to less than $300 a month, his message has reached hundreds of thousands of families. SavingsAngel.com is now growing rapidly throughout the country. You can watch a short video at SavingsAngel.com that will explain more information about how to cut your own grocery bill in half with the help of SavingsAngel.com!