This week saw the USDA downgrade its corn yield in the United States from 166 bushels per acre to 146 bushels, but some growers are bracing for 100 or 105.

As you can see from the graphic below, the American farmers are having a harsh time of it weather wise. With lower yields and strong demand, especially from China, this will indeed mean that prices go up up up!

Back here in the UK we have to worry also. We too had a drought, albeit on a lesser scale, right up until June. Then we had a consistent 5 weeks of rain, with almost a weeks worth of rain failing each day. This has literally washed away or killed many corn crops due to be harvested this Autumn. Rest assured, that over the coming months, the already increasing food prices, will grow and grow, even if the crops don’t.

So today I propose that we grow our own Vegetables! Not only will this help our waistlines due to the calories saved, but will indeed save our pennies and pounds in the local greengrocers.

1) Grow the veg you like to eat – We will never advocate waste, so put your time and effort into the veg you like, then eat it all up.

2) Grow what is expensive to buy – If like the Kaizen’s you watch a lot of the cookery shows such as the Great British menu or Masterchef (Australia is a firm favourite), Asparagus, French Beans and Mangetout have become staples in our diet. They’re all ridiculously expensive to buy, so in the veg patch they go.

Where to get seeds?

With an ever growing number of allotment owners, and people interested in growing their own food, I don’t honestly think paying for seeds is really an option.

Try http://www.freecycle.org/group/UK for the seeds and also any small tools, if you don’t have them. If you must buy gardening tools, then budget no more than £20 for them, and check the special offers in Aldi or Lidl. We have found their ‘gardening deals’ to be great value and the products of a very high quality.

Total Annual Investment: £20
Annual Return: £500+

You spend what each month?

When you tally up the bills each month and the ad hoc purchases from the local convenience store, it really does become quite scary, that you are spending an awful lot of your income on non-essentials.

Let me first point out

We live very well! By some peoples understanding, an extravagant life.

I have 2 separate gym memberships, a personal trainer, a bmw in our driveway, a rolex on my wrist and we take 2+ holidays a year. Ok this is ridiculous when you write it down. I realise that, we lead a very good life.

However, I have one simple rule in life and that it, do not buy anything you cant afford. I never buy on credit and don’t currently have a personal credit card ( though if paid off in full each money is a great way to budget). We offset our savings against our mortgage and this looks healthy with 35% remaining to be paid.

Over the next month, my goal is indeed a simple one. Keep track of all spending and reduce my monthly outgoings by 25-30% and keep it that way!

Let me know how you get on also.

The right time to start saving money?

I’ve been reading money saving, personal finance, early retirement blogs for a little while (racking up countless hours to be honest). I had concocted the notion of creating this blog when I hit the ripe old age of 30 in a few months, with the view that I’ll be financially independent by the time I hit 40.

Then I figured, if I was going to act on what I preach, my first post should be today and it should be entitled:

Start saving for the future now!

About me:
- I own my own business which I love, so the option of an early retirement doesn’t really appeal to me

- I’m married, with no children

- I have a 4 bedroom of which the mortgage sits at £153,000

This is a snapshot of my finances and for someone my age, they seem to be fairly typical. While I am not in employment, I will advise you folks to utilise your skills, whatever they may be to generate extra income.

My postings will be geared towards saving money, planning for the future and putting any investments I have to “work” to ensure I get the best returns I can.

How I started out on this journey 

First things first, reduce my outgoings! On a normal day, my eating expenditure would be something like:

Regular Coffee x 3 – £4.95

1 x 500ml bottle of diet coke – £1.20

Blueberry Scone – £0.85

Melt of the Day – £3.95

Thats a sub total of £10.95 a day

Multiply this by 5 working days each week and then by the 48 weeks a year I am in work = £2,628 A YEAR

Thats it! Gone.

Let me also add, that I am a bit of a fitness fan. I train a few weight 3-4 times a week and have just recently purchased a bike to cycle (on occasion) to work. This quest to make my outgoings leaner, will also be coupled with a quest to make myself much fitter.

Instead of the lunches I am used to, it’s packed lunches galore. Todays cost is as follows:

2 x small baps – £0.32

2 x slices of ham – £0.64

Small bit of salad – £0.20

Scone was replaced by porridge this morning, so this cost £0.20

No coffees today!

Total Expenditure – £1.36 SAVING £8.59

If I continue this going forward, this would allow an overpayment of £2,061.60 on my mortgage by year end alone. Exciting!