When I posted my intentions to repeat the 2011 allotment money-saving experiment in my garden this year, I received some lovely tweets and emails asking about the spreadsheet I’d be using.
I’ve spent the last few days tweaking 2011’s version, and have added made it available for anyone to use. If you’d like to give the spreadsheet a go, click here to download the file.
Getting the Current Veg Values
The spreadsheet is made with Microsoft Excel and works out how much I save per picking against a manually entered current market value, depending on the weight of the produce. To get the price of fruit or veg in the shops, I use MySupermarket, a price comparison website which features all the UK’s major supermarkets.
I’ve also included two other tabs for the price of seeds purchased and miscellaneous costs like allotment rent and tools, should I wish to include them.
What I’ve Harvested
To give an idea of how the spreadsheet does its stuff, I’ve added the seeds I’ve bought so far (mainly from the allotment shop and the cheap as chips Vegetable Seeds), multipurpose compost, and all the produce I’ve harvested since my first 2015 pickings last weekend.
So far, I’ve harvested rhubarb, rosemary, chives, chard, and salad leaves. I’m still in debt by £15.39, but hopefully, a few more sticks of rhubarb will get me into the black…
The Experiment Duration
This time around I’m going to record savings from seeds sown specifically with the forthcoming year in mind. That includes my overwintering broad beans and perpetual spinach, as well as my established fruit and herb plants. I’ll keep weighing and recording until next year when the last Winter veg is harvested or the remaining stored squash is used up.
Once again Ailsa is bemused by my commitment to harvest weighing and spreadsheet geekiness, but I’m excited to be undertaking this experiment again. I secretly enjoyed the weighing last time around and it took me a while to get used to not doing it when I stopped!
Let Me Know If You Do Any Weighing!
If you do download the spreadsheet, please let me know how you get on. I’d be really interested to know other GYOers saving totals. The spreadsheet can be used for any period, so if weighing everything for a year proves a faff (Ailsa is reading over my shoulder and nodding profusely…), try just a month in the high season, or pick just a few high-value crops to record.
Working out how much your crops is worth is very addictive, and you might be surprised at your savings totals, even over just a few weeks in Summer.
Any questions or suggestions on how to improve the experiment, please feel free to drop me a line.