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Home > $20 Challenge Balance: NEGATIVE $10.89!

$20 Challenge Balance: NEGATIVE $10.89!

April 14th, 2007 at 10:17 am

How on earth does someone have a NEGATIVE balance on their $20 challenge? Read on to find out ...

For my 2007 $20 challenge, I have challenged myself to take $20 cash to start up my first-ever vegetable garden. Once I start harvesting, I will add the value of what I grow based on what it would cost if I bought it at the store.

I started herbs & grape tomato seeds inside, and planted rainbow chard seeds directly outside. [I may also plant some lettuce blend seeds ... still trying to make up my mind.] I scrounged up as many found containers as I could; since my last update I got six 5-gallon pails through Freecycle which I think will be good for the tomatoes.

I'm doing all container gardening because I'm a newbie and it forces me to keep this small-scale and because I'm in a rental house so that limits my options. [I don't think my friend / landlord would be thrilled if I tore up his yard!]

What I realized since my last update was that I did not have nearly enough
potting soil to plant all of my starts! I had bought a huge bag at Costco and thought it would be enough ... but I was wrong, wrong, wrong! Go ahead and laugh you experienced gardeners ... I do realize it was a total newbie mistake. Smile

So, I thought long and hard about what I would do. I came up with a couple options such as:
- Add more cash to my challenge money [For example, I am now doing Pinecone surveys and have made $15 already this year. I could have added that money to my challenge and used it to buy more soil.]
- Just plant as many starts as I could with the soil I had and consider those my "$20 Challenge Plants" --- Then buy some more soil out of my pocket, keep them separate, and consider them the "non-challenge plants."
- Give away the extra starts and just not bother with them at all.

I thought about this dilema for several days. I really wanted to make my decision in the spirit of my original challenge to myself which was: "How would a new vegetable gardening entrepreneur start up a little gardening 'business' with only $20 in cash?" So I decided to do what so many small-time entrepreneurs have done when they find themselves strapped for cash but still believing in themselves and their product: I decided to figuratively "whip out the credit card and charge it!" So, I bought a 2nd big bag of soil which put me over the $20 amount, and I am now charging myself interest at the rate of 8.66% until I have harvested enough veggies to get out of the red. Hence, the NEGATIVE $10.89 balance on my $20 challenge. That number is just going to get worse until I actually harvest something, and if my crops fail, I may bankrupt my challenge. [So, it really is like starting a little business!]

Now, if you're interested, here are a couple points for clarification:
1. The 8.66% rate is the average rate on my credit cards. I am not actually carrying a balance on my cards (I pay them off in full every month) so I am not actually paying any interest on that soil, but because I want to "keep it real," I decided to charge myself interest.

2. I really am a small business owner, as is my husband. I am definitely not advocating "whipping out the credit card and charging it" as a way to start up a business!!! But I do realize that is what many folks who start businesses have to do. I most strongly advise that if you really want to start up a business you do your darndest to not only come up with the start-up cash and enough to keep the business going for as long as you think it will take to see a profit, but that you also have many many months of living expenses and a generous emergency fund set aside before you actually go out on your own. [Maybe someday I'll write an entry about the years of planning, preparing, and sacrificing my husband and I did before taking the plunge and going out on our own ...]

Well ... Here's hoping for good weather until my next update!

2 Responses to “$20 Challenge Balance: NEGATIVE $10.89!”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  2. mariejensen2007 Says:

    I think I would have done exactly the same thing, maybe only worse. As a business owner myself I would have made sure to get the best most expensive soil & beans etc. I like your idea though-and the title did make me laughSmile How about this idea-have a bakesale to fund the garden debt! (Only you have to use what you have or have people donate as to not incur more charges. Also, sorry for being so ignorant as I've heard it before on this blog somewhere but where can I find info on doing Pinecone studies?

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