Gardening contributes to our psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being. It can also contribute to the financial well-being of the family. USDA estimates food costs for a household of four at different financial levels. The information is found on their website at http:// www.cnpp.usda.gov. The thrifty level is $146 a week or $584. a month. Low cost level is $191. a week or $764. a month, moderate level is $239 a week or $956 a month, and liberal level is $289 a week or $1156 a month. For purpose of this example lets choose $956. a month for the household of four. Let's assume the house hold of four includes 2 parents which work full-time. Dad has a sizeable income and mom works at minimum wage. They pay for daycare for 2 kids under age of five. Mom has no benefits with her job. Minimum wage in Oklahoma is $7.25 hour which is sad. Mom works 35 hours a week for a gross of $253.75. When you withhold 15% taxes she'll net $215.69 weekly. She probably doesn't have time to fix breakfast every morning so we need to subtract $15.00 for fast food and $5.00 a week for occasional Starbuck coffee(which she deserves). I'm sure she didn't have time every day to make work lunches so we need to subtract four eat-out work meals for her and dad. Let's estimate $28. a week. She must put gasoline in the car for additional $35. a week. We can't forget daycare costs. You can find Oklahoma daycare rates at http://www.okchildcareportfolio.org/pdf/summary. It will cost approximately $89.56 per child per week for a total of $179.12 a week. Let's add up moms' weekly costs; $38.06 taxes, $15.00 fast food, $5.00 coffee, $28 lunches, $35 gasoline, $179.12 childcare for a weekly total of $300.18. Mom is spinning her wheels going no where since she is going in the negative. She is working harder than ever to help her family. Maybe she needs to look at a different approach; family gardening. If she stayed at home she would have the option of home-schooling and gardening to reduce her monthly food costs. She could sell her excess produce to reduce the cost of her gardening supplies.
Next week we'll determine how much space is required to grow food, how much you need to plant for a years supply, and gardening methods such as container gardening.
I am not suggesting that anyone quit your job. If you have fixed monthly expenses, you can't quit. However, you could garden to reduce your food costs.