Absolute Beginner on a Budget

I have read various bits, and articles, and watched the videos. I under stand the need for temp, rh, and light retention and that’s why you use a tent. However what I’m wondering is if I can simply mildly regulate temp and rh, and use overhead lighting in an unfinished basement (prone to flooding, would build a riser for plants). I would expect decreased yields but I can upgrade with the savings from buying from the dispensary fairly quickly. I am a nearly wake and bake medical patient, so taking a break isn’t an option. I need to get something, anything, to get saving. I’d be using auto flowers mostly, and whatever soil I can get locally that has the best nutrients.

Is this enough to get something going? Or do I really need to just figure out a proper setup first?


Do some searches on screw in led grows. It’s not the best lighthing choice, or even the cheapest at scale anymore, but it is an easy and ready available way to get started quick with parts from an average hardware store.

The real issue of not having a tent in a basement that is prone to flooding is going to be mold. Even if you put em on risers, if it floods in there you will have all kinds of spore in the space. You’re really going to want a tent with a filtered intake for that environment if you dont want to be smoking mold.


That was exactly my thoughts, but I got a solid “ideally not” on anywhere upstairs. Weather is too unforgiving for the garage without shelling out for some insulation. What’s the cost of a good filtered tent? I like the idea in the long term, we have pet hair on every surface. As I’m allergic to them all I can’t imagine inhaling a few months of dander would be great.


Look on Craigslist and marketplace for a deal on used growing supplies. Some locales are better than others.

Use budwashing to get rid of pet dander, or whatever you don’t want on your buds.


don’t be afraid just get some seeds & start your journey. don’t expect a trophy your first time & you’ll probably be surprised & impressed after a bit of trial and error.

the TLC homegrowers put in is mostly why 1st-time growers are astounded that the seeds from an unimpressive 1/8th of whatever-weed produce some tasty homegrown.

there’s an old saying ‘speed costs money - how fast do you want to go?’ and it holds true for weed somewhat but not really. assume about 1k USD will get you an excellent setup & 200 a mediocre one but a grow nonetheless. Try to buy things that can be re-purposed as you progress-- i.e. a small light to start can be used for clones & starts foreverish.

Since you stated you need qty ASAP(my sympathies, you’ll get there), definitely get some autoflower varieties, but also start some photoperiods if you can. Plant guerilla outdoor if you can…hands-free, no-water stuff.

And expect some flops & failures but that’s just like riding a bicycle or anything else…most of us stall the car before mastering the clutch. :wink:




It depends on the size of course, but you can get a good sized tall 4x4 tent for around $80 on Amazon, or even cheaper if you look for a deal, or a smaller tent. This is an inexpensive tent and it has a 10% off coupon right now:

For 10 or 20 dollars more you can get an even better tent.

I am on a budget also, since I am on disability, but if you start off small and add stuff along the way you will be fine. Luckily, this is the type of hobby that you can keep upgrading or adding to as budget allows.

As far as lights go, if you are the technical type, or know anything about electrical wiring etc, there is a great thread here discussing making your own LED lights for very cheap:

If you want to start off small and arent an electrical tech, yor setup can grow as you get more money. You can always get an LED quantum board on Amazon and buy new ones to add as budget allows. Here is a good one that is only $80, and also has a 10% off coupon (4 of those is ideally what you would want in a 4x4 tent, but you can add them as budget allows, and plants grow):

You will eventually also want to add a carbon filter and vent fan etc., but you can get by in veg, with just one of those LED’s and no carbon filter or vent fan at first, so for around $150 you can get your plants growing in a tent under lights.


If you don’t have much of a budget, I wouldn’t bother going LED. your going to have to spend a fair amount on a good LED.
if it were me, I’d buy a dimmable HID ballast and get yourself a MH and HPS bulb. You could probably do all that for a few hundred bucks

1 Like

the slight additional cost of an LED is offset by the fact you don’t have to water as often saving on nutes, and also heat control isn’t as big of an issue. The monthly cost of running an LED vs HPS makes the LED a no-brainer if you are on a budget


I’ll have to disagree with you there. There’s nothing slight about the cost difference between the two when talking about a quality LED.
The cheap fixtures are a waste of time, I’ve tried many of them. You might save a touch on energy costs but you pay for it heavily with yield.


Absolutely search Craigslist. I have not used market place, but I hear there is stuff on there.

Here is a thread on the grow room I put together from Craigslist.

You will be amazed the deals out there. I will tell you they are normally more at the end of the month, beginning of the next because of people moving.


Those DIY LEDs from the thread linked above should only cost a few bucks more than an HID and you’ll save the difference in power within a few months. They’ll also kick the hell out of hid in terms of quality, yield per watt and ease of use. If I didn’t have all my hps ballasts and bulbs laying around I’d go LED no question.

The 7 in 1 screw in fixtures are dirt cheap and work shockingly well with hardware store bulbs…I’d recommend those for someone on a budget. When you get some more cash you can use those for veg and get some strips for a flowering room.

You can put the plants right out in the open in the basement with no tent just fine. Just make sure air is moving around with some type of oscillating fan or whatever. Also you need to make sure it is 100% dark down there when lights are off…like can’t see your hand in front of your face dark. That includes blacking out any little lights on power bars etc.

Grab a 7 in 1 fixture and fill it with 15W screw in bulbs. Mix cool white and warm white bulbs. It should cost about 50 bucks or less and will cover about 4 square feet…hang it from the ceiling and you’re in business!


18” 3 bulb vanity fixture $11, and household screw in LED bulbs with diffuser dome removed. I found the bulbs at a habitat for humanity store 4pk/$2! Use the ones that are 9-15w of actual power draw. 35w/sq foot seems to be the target For bloom unless your growing very tall plants. Put two of those fixtures side by side with 9-10w bulbs for veg, 13-15w for bloom, 90w fixture (6x15w) for $25, plus a power cord from around the house.


1 Like

Only reason I want to use the old T8s is they are already here. LEDs are definitely in the future, I just need to save more capital.

Fortunately I have part of a degree in electrical engineering and technology. DIY LED no problems once I can source the parts, draw up a board. Money in the end. I’d love to expand outside too, but we have a small yard so limited area for a greenhouse. We may be moving in the next 5 years, to a more friendly state, so I’m trying to keep it movable. Otherwise I’d be tempted to buildout a grow cabinet, I built theatre sets for a year so I’m a competent carpenter.

Good to know I’m in the right place, all the threads here are daunting to just start reading but you guys always post helpful advice with a thread link often! So glad I joined up here.


I live right by one; don’t know why I didn’t think about that! I have a friend that works there and keeps an eye out for things for our theater, I’ll talk with him and see if he can give me a holler the next time they have something.


Then do your best with just put a line of clones (barely any veg time) right up to the bulbs and adjust height as needed.

1 Like

Color spectrum is what I’m most worried about, I can build LED panels for a few bucks and an hour of soldering but I’m worried on using an improper spectrum. Any guidelines on what wavelengths and on what proportions?

1 Like

Just a thought…there are tons of 0 dollar hid lights out there in the trash. It’s what I did starting out. A little diy to make them remote mount, and something you pulled out of a dumpster is just as good as a high dollar hid set up. Biggest difference being it most likely will have an old magnetic ballast…but who cares? You are on a budget right?
Look around at what society throws away, you will find you can live well on it. I have built a house from the trash. No joke. And for those that laugh, I bet my place would put your mansions to shame​:rofl::joy:! Especially from a cost stand point. (10+ acres and 5000 square foot house…under 40 grand all up, and paid for.
That is all from the trash. The windows, the siding (I make it from oak pallets), our flooring, appliances, all of it. If it doesn’t work I fixed it.
It can be done👍


check that DIY thread about making your own - they have some very cheap builds going on there

the thread listed is the best place to ask, those guys have it nailed down


Just for some encouragement, and to show you it’s real, and can be done
I am not special by any means.


My “DIY skills” got me in trouble, and I’m discouraged from bring curb pickups home… you start one fire and all the sudden you’re “dangerous”.

I for sure will keep an eye out on Craigslist, and other places. I scour them regularly for other categories for work, might as well see what I can sneak into the basement when no ones home.