Can a Garden Help You Save Money?

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Nearly everyone you talk to these days is trying to save a few bucks and I am no exception.

I’ve personally tried lots of different things to save money. I’ve tried couponing, using cash envelopes to keep track of what I spend each month, and more.

I still use coupons now and then to save money, but I am not an extreme couponer because I found that couponing can cause me to buy a lot of things I don’t actually need. I also still use cash envelopes for some of my budgeting categories because it helps to keep my monthly spending in check.

But one other way I’ve been thinking to try and save money is by starting a garden. But, would a garden help you save money on groceries? Let’s look at some of the costs and benefits of having a garden.

Start With a Plan

I personally have not grown a garden, but I am considering it. One thing I think should be done before starting such a time consuming and labor intensive project is to determine what you actually like to eat and may want to try to grow. It will also be helpful to know how many of these items can actually be grown where you live.

I have to admit I have done only a little bit of research on gardening in my area of the country. What I have learned suggests that there are several variables that go into determining whether or not you can actually save money through gardening.

For instance, if you plant foods you don’t actually like to eat or don’t have recipes or meal ideas to use the produce, you’ll just be wasting time, money, and energy growing those things in your garden.


garden help you save moneyGather Supplies

Obviously, you will need seeds or seedlings to get your plants started. In addition, you may need compost and fertilizer, as well as an area of adequate size to grow the number of plants you are considering. Add the cost of water, hoses, nozzles, sprinklers, shovels, hoes, tomatoes cages, garden stakes, and any other supplies, and your expenses start to rack up pretty quickly.

Of course, some of the costs can be spread over several years. After all, I doubt you are going to buy certain pieces of equipment every year, such as hoses, nozzles, and rakes. In addition, you may have seeds from your own garden to start your plantings for your subsequent years further reducing your costs. So, your initial outlay of money for the first year of your garden will probably be higher than for the years following.


Do the Work

I haven’t mentioned how many hours of labor you will spend outside preparing the soil, planting, watering, weeding, and tending to your garden. Of course, some people look at gardening as a hobby or a form of recreation rather than work. However, if you want a true representation of the cost of your garden, you should consider the man hours you spend gardening as well as the cost of everything else that goes into it.


Production Losses

So far all I have talked about is what goes into a garden. I haven’t mentioned what comes out of the garden. Some years you may have a bountiful crop. But there are also going to be years when you fight diseases, pests, and the weather. These variables affect not only your outcome but your costs as well.

As you can see, there are many variables to consider before you decide to start a garden to save money on your grocery bill. The worst part is, some of these you have no control over. So, would a garden help you save money? I feel like the question is best answered based on whether or not you are willing to put that much work into something that carries some risk and may not gain you anything at all. That’s why I haven’t yet started a garden myself. But I’m still considering it.

Do you have a garden? Do you think a garden can help you save money?


  • I’ve been gardening for the past three years in a small 15’x15′ community plot for the past two years. Honestly I don’t think it’s saved me a ton of money, especially when you consider the time.
    When I was a kid my parents grew most of our vegetables in two huge gardens and saved them for the winter. Looking back, I think we were actually farmers. 🙂 They made it work by economizing it to a large scale, picking vegetables that they could put up for later, having a storage system (chest freezers), and exploiting manual labor from servants (sorry – children). 🙂

    • I agree that it’s probably not a huge money saver unless you have a very big garden. But, it can be a frugal hobby. 🙂

  • I have always wanted to start a garden for a while now, and this has inspired me to go out and start gardening! Awesome article, thanks for sharing!

    • Well, it can be expensive, so make sure you start small. 🙂

  • We actually do a 40’x30′ in the spring and rock it out until fall. We started 3 years ago. The first year we flopped! We didn’t know what we were doing. 2nd year we came out even. Pricing the veggies at discount prices due to that’s what we would honestly buy. But last year!! We came out 350 to the good 🙂 still pricing as if it was regular vegetables on sale that week at the grocer (but honestly we do everything organic and the price would have been much more if tallied up that way.) It is hard work and you must be diligent with a little bit of patience but for us and where we live it works! We have already tilled the ground and are waiting for blackberry winter to end to put our seedlings in the ground. Hope it works for you if you enjoy such things.

    • Nice job! That’s definitely encouraging for people to stick with it for the long-term savings.


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