one 8x4 foot bed takes up to eight 1.5 CF bags to fill (depending on how much finished compost I have to supplement with). Further, it takes up to three bags of mulch, although that could be gotten free if I would get off my mountainous anxiety molehill and find the place to pick it up.
At $6.97 per bag of organic soil, plus $2.85 per bag of organic mulch, and a further cost of three cedar fence boards at $3.89 each, that means that, when I don't have items here to help (saved fence boards, finished compost, free bark mulch), and presuming I don't need peat (at $1.86 each, so far only used with blueberry bushes), each 8X4 foot bed costs me $75.98 to put in, or, with tax: $82.35.
This is not insignificant, and buying each bit on a separate trip over the coarse of the month so as not to see the total in one place does not change that. $82.35 is still 1/10th of your monthly income.
Naughty Gail, no tomato for you today...ok, tomorrow, since you already ate three off the vine today.