It's likely vegetable gardens will expand this year. Home produce is fresh, delicious and possible even on a balcony or deck.
The most cost-effective method of growing vegetables is from seed. The varieties available from seed far outstrip what a supermarket can offer. Heirloom vegetables have become very popular and are likely to remain so. A great source for them is that great Colorado company Botanical Interests. Their vegetable and flower seeds are noted for their high germination rates. You can buy their seeds from many garden centers or online.
Another way to save money is to water wisely. Soak plants thoroughly and infrequently. Group plants by their water requirements. Add more perennials with lower water needs. A low water garden doesn't have to look like Death Valley; it can be just as lush and colorful as a water-guzzling one.
Rather than buying new pots, re-use last year's plastic pots for starting seeds or young transplants. Potting soil can also be re-used, especially if you mix it with fresh nutritious compost. You may read elsewhere that this is not a good idea due to a possible build-up of harmful bacteria. That is unlikely in our climate and the warning is really only valid for wet, humid places. I've been re-using my potting soil my entire gardening career and I've never encountered a problem.
Finally, do more with cuttings and division. Many annuals such as coleus, geraniums and blood leaf can easily be propagated from cuttings rooted in a glass jar on your windowsill. Many established perennials may be divided in March and April to expand and fill your garden. Just dig them up, cut them in half or in quarters, and replant.
With some thought and determination, you can grow a beautiful and productive garden on the slopes of the fiscal cliff.