So you love the idea of bulk buying, but can't fathom storing 30 pounds of flour at a time. Or you'd like to buy organic products but don't want to pay the 40% higher price for produce. Gathering some like-minded buddies together to start a buying club will bring you closer to your goal of eating healthier and inexpensively.
Most food cooperatives originated as small buying clubs consisting of a few families. The larger your buying club grows, the more savings each member reaps in the long run. You can use your buying club to purchase bulk goods from Sam's and Costco or directly from a local distributor. When buying from the distributor, you'll side step the grocery store markup--provided you have enough families to make it worthwhile. If you're the organizing type and love saving money, open Excel and let's get started!
Step 1: Generate Interest
Send out letters to your neighbors and close friends--especially the ones with lots of mouths to feed. Calling will usually get better results. Let them know what will be required in the food buying club, from volunteering to food list deadlines, so no surprises will pop up. Set up a meeting two weeks after your initial contact and review all expectations. You'll need at least a dozen families to reap savings from cooperative buying.
Step 2: Investigate Distributors
You have several choices when it comes to your distributors. From Sam's Club and Costco to local distributors that work directly with groups and grocers there are many places you can choose from. Consider the needs of your particular group before investing in fees.
Step 3: Get Organized
Make sure you set up deadlines for food lists and stick to them. Spread the work by assigning one or two volunteers to compile the lists, several others to pick up the food. The more streamlined your process is the easier it will be to coordinate. Also consider giving other roles such as treasurer, sorter, and deliverer. Holding pick up at a central location will make it easier on everyone. Check out the national Food Club site for free software to aid in organization.
Step 4: Open Lines of Communication
Anytime several people work together, conflicts arise. Rather than see it as a big bummer, use those times of friction to work through problems and grow as a community. We have far too few opportunities to embrace and face relationship problems--utilize it as a learning experience. Hold quarterly meetings for families to evaluate how things are going and to tweak processes if need be.
Step 5: Growing the Group
Leave the door open for new, responsible members to join. With more participation, you can lean on new volunteer to help shoulder the load. Even use the knowledge in your growing group to swap healthy recipes and frugal living tips. If the group swells too large, consider opening a food-cooperative for your members and the community at large to start making money.
The free Coupon Sherpa mobile app brings hundreds of in-store coupons to your purse or pocket. Learn more and download the exclusive mobile app today.Mobile Coupons
All designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. No claims of affiliation are made about the stores on this site.
© 2013 The Frugals