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 money 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.
Visit my blog at simplysarahliving.wordpress.com for additional thoughts, short stories, and poetry.