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Saving Money? (Updated 2021)

Here at 420Beginner, we are long-time fans of growing your own, especially indoors. Not only do you get better weed, you also save money. But with the rapid growth of huge cannabiznesses everywhere, and now with Coronavirus plague pushing prices down, we started wondering

Can You Save Money Growing Your Own Weed?

It turns out that the answer to that seemingly simple question depends on a LOT of assumptions.  It also turns out that nobody seems to really know.  So we decided to test the assumptions and make the calculations.

The first step was deciding what assumptions to include and what to exclude.  That’s not straightforward either, but we can break it down into bud-size chunks.

Assumptions Grouped

  • Indoors or Outdoors?
  • Legal or Stealth?
  • Available Space?
  • Natural or Artificial Light?
  • Local Electricity Cost
  • Autoflower or Photoperiod?
  • Buy Seed, Use Seed from Another Plant or Clone?
  • Nosy Neighbors or Fellow Travelers?
  • Local Bud Cost at Dispensary or Street Corner?

Assuming That:

Startup Costs:

APotForPot Medium Starter Kit is 99.95.

White Widow Autoflower from ILGM is $89.00 for twenty seeds.

TopUp Soil and Fertilizer from Amazon, approximately $50.

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Applying the Assumptions:

We start with one White Widow Autoflower from ILGM.  it is easy to grow, grows best indoors, and will produce 2-4 ounces in about three months.  Because it is autoflower, we don’t need to adjust lighting and anyway cannot do that since we are using only sunlight and ambient light for growth.

We are successful in our first harvest, and allow the plant to continue growing, resulting in an additional harvest approximately every three months.  Because we are growing indoors, our yield is on the low end of the expected yield.  We only have one plant so we are getting about 2 ounces x 4 harvests per year equals 8 ounces total.

In Oregon, premium indoor weed is around $150 per ounce.  8 ounces of that weed costs $1,200.

To grow the same amount, we spent about $240 or $30 per ounce.

Grow Your Own Is Cheaper Than Buying

Based on the assumptions we made, growing your own is about 1/4 the cost of buying in a dispensary.  That makes sense:  the dispensary has huge taxation and compliance costs, in addition to the cost of the weed itself.

Even if the dispensary is a vertically integrated business and grows its own, it still is likely to have costs for growing that are slightly more than $30 per ounce.  That is before the cost of setting up the retail store and all the costs involved in retailing. So the get-rich-quick model of cannabis retailing is not exactly what it seems.

Now obviously, we made the simplest assumptions.  If you make different assumptions, your costs can increase significantly.

If you need to grow stealthy or indoors in a sunless environment, then you are probably looking at using a grow tent and grow lights. Read about stealth growing here.

What About Stealth Growing

For instance, adding LED lighting will add the capital cost of the light (50-75 dollars per plant) and the electrical cost (50 watts per plant times 365 days times 12 hours per day times $.098 per kilowatt-hour = $21.46 per plant per year).  Read about LED Grow Lights here.

Adding a complete grow kit with LED light, ducting, light hangers, fan, etc is a higher startup cost of $75-100 per plant, but that assumes you are growing 4 or more plants at a time. Read about complete grow tent kits here.

And each plant will still cost about $20 per year in electrical bills if you are in Oregon.  A good deal more in Michigan, slightly less in Washington, etc.

Calculating the costs of a larger but still personal grow operation, and finding the most efficient option is a complicated topic.  Maybe we will tackle that another day. For now, just start with one and enjoy the gardening.

Good Growing and Good Karma

MaryJane Farmer



Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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1 thought on “Saving Money? (Updated 2021)”

  1. Thanks for the email. I look forward to more. Also I appreciate that (at least some of) the links included in the email go to Canadian retailers (eg Amazon.ca) since I live in Canada.
    Hoping for a beautiful outdoor crop this summer.


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