Life Begins in a Garden: Living for the Future

By Sarah Leitzel

Someone asked me the other day how I am saving for my future. I have a retirement plan through my full-time job, but it really made me think. I thought about why I place so much importance on gardening and preserving and cooking from scratch, why I shop at second-hand stores and why I feel compelled to reuse and recycle and create less waste. I sat down between chores this weekend, between pasta salad and more salsa, and really thought about it. I did some quick calculations and impressed myself with the amount of img_3547money I am saving by doing what feels natural to me and by what I have come to find enjoyment in doing. For example, my boyfriend and I really enjoy chips and salsa. By growing our own tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and jalapeños and making our own salsa, and eating about a pint a week, we end up spending about $49 a year on salsa. Over 50 years, that will cost us about $2,450.  If we simply bought about a pint of salsa a week at $3.48 a jar, we would spend $9,050 over 50 years. What a difference! I have also gotten into the routine of reusing plastic storage bags two to four times. If I bought a box of 42 quart-size bags a month for 50 years, I would spend $2,400 over 50 years. If I reuse each bag four times, I spend $600. With each area in our lives that we pay close attention to not overindulging or overspending, and going second-hand or homemade instead, we make a significant gain toward our financial future and doing our part in preserving our health and our environment. It’s never too late to start.

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