There are lots of other ways you can be resourceful and trim down the cost of everything from starting seeds to mulching - without whittling down the fun of gardening one bit.
Here are just a few way to save on mulch. Don't throw those grass clippings away. They are quite suitable for mulch. You can recycle weeds and put them to use as a mulch. Let the weeds dry completely before mulching to keep them from springing to life again. Or, shred and mix with grass clippings. Since weeds are so plentiful but not very sightly, this is a good mulch to use in the orchard, where a lot of mulch is needed but good looks aren't important. Many gardeners feel that flower beds or other showplace gardens deserve a handsome mulch like cocoa hulls or shredded bark.
But buying bag after bag of these mulches, enough to spread at least 1 inch over the garden, cn put a dent in anyone's wallet. Here's a money-saving compromise: Lay a 1-inch-thick layer of newspaper over the garden; this free mulch provides the first level of defense against pesky weeds. To add the finishing touch, spread a thin layer of the decorative mulch over the bottom "working" layer. You'll get the dual benefit of a thick but attractive mulch layer at a fraction of the coast.