July ChallengeDig Deep for Grocery Savings
Credit union members continue to come up with practical ways to get more for their money. Melissa, a member of Otis Federal Credit Union living in Jay, Maine, has a family of five. She says her family's grocery bill doubled in the past year and a half—sound familiar? Melissa writes about their solution:
With a growing family of five active members, including a father who is a health teacher and passionate about teaching his kids healthy eating habits, our grocery bill has doubled in the past year and a half. We had little experience growing a garden, but found that the $100 we invested to create a raised boxed garden—built it, filled with organic compost, and bought seedlings—in our back yard was a great investment.
Melissa and her family join an estimated three of 10 households growing vegetables for their families. The New York Times reported in June that George C. Ball Jr., owner of the W. Atlee Burpee Company, Warminster, Pa., said sales of vegetable and herb seeds and plants are up by 40% over 2007, double the annual growth for the past five years. "You don't see this kind of thing but once in a career," he said. Ball cited concerns about food safety, taste, and global warming for the revival. But by far, he said, the recent spike in food prices is the biggest factor.
Gardens are a source of healthy food and healthy physical activity. Growing a garden reconnects you with where food comes from. For a generation that thinks food comes from the golden arches, this can be a revelation. And providing some of your own food by gardening also improves your sense of self-reliance.
Not for everyoneFor all its valuable qualities, gardening is not for everyone and is not always a money saver. Consider a few questions:
Too late for '08?Yes, it is pretty late to get started on most crops for this summer, but you might think about some cool-weather fall crops. And here are more reasons to think about a garden now:
Once you dig around in resources from your public library and County Extension office, you might decide to join Melissa's family in the garden. Her takeaway:
We had a blast watching it grow, gathering our crops, and saving money on our grocery bill. In the prime eight weeks of our growing season we saved $150 dollars on "organic" vegetables and were able to freeze vegetables for months after. This year we have added a second garden and plan to eat, freeze, and can the veggies and fruit for well into 2009. We are eating healthy, involving the kids, and saving cash.
Gardens are a source of healthy food and healthy physical activity.
2008 Financial Fitness Challenge
For her idea, Melissa wins a $50 Visa card and becomes eligible to win $1,000 at the end of the year for the grand prize. Complete prize rules are here. We'll share another prize-winning idea next month—it could be yours.
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