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Monday, April 7, 2008

Going Frugal: Gardening

They look yummy, don't they?

Gardening is a great way to go frugal, if you have the time, the space, and the patience for it. I've tried my hand at it both before children and after; while I enjoy the harvest, there is much work to be done before you pick and eat those tasty fruits and veggies.

I've not gardened for the past few years because our family went through several life changes in the space of two years (moving, buying and selling homes, job changes, third baby) and gardening is most successful when you have constancy in your life.

If you've never gardened before but want to give it a try this year, start small. Try potted tomato plants and potted peppers. They're easy to grow, hardy, and delicious alone or together in salsas and other summer-friendly recipes. You won't need much space but you will need a sunny spot for those plants to flourish.

Gardening, as I said above, is most successful when you have constancy and stability in your life. And a garden isn't just a one or two season a year endeavor; good gardeners work their soil year-round to keep it healthy off-season and in the garden to maintain their crops in-season. And a daily time commitment is necessary or you'll find it difficult to see the peas amidst the weeds.

For those of you who try to live greener, gardening offers you the chance to reduce or eliminate any chemicals in the foods you grow yourself. Add in a small compost pile, pail, or tumbler, and you're doubling your efforts to be organically green.

I'm no gardening expert; in fact, my first published article (out this summer) is about one of my hilarious gardening adventures involving an eight-month pregnant me, overgrown peas, two German Shorthair Pointers (mine), and baby bunnies. So before you take my advice, check out these links:

More info that you can shake a stick at here at the Backyard Gardener.

Find your local Master Gardener (classes, seminars, school programs, and help of all kinds offered by avid gardening volunteers around the USA through local university extension offices) here.

This post is part of Be CentsAble's Tipster Tuesday; have a Frugal Tip to share? Post about it, then join in the linkylove here.

For those of you who do garden for fun, for the harvest, and for the overall frugality of growing some of what you eat, what are your best bits of advice to newbies? Share your knowledge; comment below and help the frugal faithful.

Fabulous Freebies: Curves Gym Promotion

Sometimes, it pays to kick back and relax a bit, which is what I was doing last night with my dh Knute. While watching Ocean's Twelve (a very good movie!), one of the commercials was for a new promotion for Curves. If you're not familiar with Curves, it's a women-only gym that has helped many women achieve physical fitness.

THE PROMOTION (it's a good one!):

Bring (3) milk jug caps to any participating Curves to receive a FREE 3-WEEK MEMBERSHIP! Offer good from March 17- July 17, 2008.

Click here for more info.

In my last life (ie: before kids), I taught aerobics and Spinning classes. While my personal fitness regime is limited by time constraints now (I hit our Y late at night, or go running when my dh is here to watch the kids...and there's not two feet of snow on the ground!), it's still very important to me. Taking care of your body is frugal - a strange concept, yes, but true. Poor health results in not only added economic costs, but emotional and social costs that are difficult to measure but very real.

So, frugal faithful, if getting healthy is on your personal TO DO list, but has remained an unchecked box because of costs, I urge you to take the chance to start changing your life, one little step at a time.

Happy Savings - and Happy Sweating!