Homestead for the Holidays... - Homestead Kitchen - The Frugal Homestead

How to Save Money with a Buying Club

Buying Clubs Can Save You Money!

My family saved money with a buying club when I was a kid. Products came in large bags, cases, and buckets that had to be broken down unless members wanted a large quantity. Buying clubs have come a long way since then. Now you have many different sizes and even individual items. This is great in today’s market when inflation and supply chain issues are making food prices and availability unreliable. Maybe it’s time to check into some buying clubs in your area or start your own.

In some cases you don’t even need a buying club, you can order directly from Country Life Natural Foods (affiliate link) and have orders over $99 shipped for free!

This site earns income from advertising and affiliate sales. The Self Sufficient HomeAcre is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site. This site shares advertising for Amazon and I earn a commission on qualified purchases. This site earns a referral fee for referring customers to Azure Standard.

Updated November 2022

Buying clubs have been around for ages. The basic idea is – a group of people pools their purchasing power to receive better prices. In the early days, farmers would buy seed together for a better price. Over the years these cooperatives (food co-ops) have gone through many changes. Instead of joining a co-op or buying club these days, many people choose to sign up for Amazon Fresh (advertisement).

Today, many families in the United States have a drop site nearby for deliveries from Azure Standard. (Referral link)

Save Money on Staples, Bulk Foods, and Preparedness with a Buying Club

Our family prepares much of our food from scratch. This allows control over the ingredients and we don’t purchase nearly as much packaging as when we buy convenience foods. We eat a healthier diet and waste less too!

I also like to keep extra food on hand in case of emergencies. A lot of my stocked food is home-canned, dried, or frozen from my garden. I also like to keep flour, rolled oats, wheat berries, chocolate chips, dried fruits, and various spices and baking supplies on hand. I vacuum seal or freeze the extra foods to prevent pantry moths.

Buying Club-Friendly Companies

Start out by checking your local area for existing buying clubs, food co-ops, and local businesses that allow bulk purchases. If you don’t know of any, check online for companies that sell to buying clubs.

The ones that I am familiar with are: Azure Standard (affiliate link), Country Life Natural Foods (affiliate link), United Natural Foods Incorporated, and Frontier Herbs.

I’m sure that there are many more around the US that I haven’t heard of. If you know of any in your area, please leave a comment and share them!

Some companies make ordering easy and others are less ‘user-friendly.’ Country Life Natural Foods now ships orders through the USPS with free shipping for orders over $99. That is super user-friendly! I used to order from UNFI but I found them to be a bit more work. I order several times a year from Azure Standard, a company based in Oregon. They deliver to much of the USA.

Azure Standard is great because each member places their own order and pays for it online with a credit card. There is a drop coordinator for each group to sign for deliveries. They may send out reminders and updates. The orders come labeled with the customers’ names on each box or bag so there’s no breaking down or repacking. Members unload the truck and there is a shipping fee (but no sales tax in most areas) added to each invoice.

If you order from Azure Standard, keep in mind that they do not send a delivery date until after the order is packed. If you can’t make it to the scheduled drop, you will need to have someone else pick up your order or check with the drop coordinator to see if she/he can hold your items for you.

Things to Consider When Ordering from Buying Clubs

There are a few things to be aware of before you get started. Some products cost less at the grocery store while others are much cheaper when ordered in bulk through buying clubs. Before you join a buying club, check to see if the prices are better at your local stores.

Flour, grains, baking supplies, spices, essential oils, and some of our organic grocery products cost much less through the buying clubs. I check each online catalog and then compare the best price to the store price before I buy through a club.

Be sure that you will save money and/or have access to the products you really want before you place an order. Check the online catalog for the most up-to-date price. The paper copies are out-of-date before you even get them these days.

Azure Standard even carries livestock feed! Advertisement

Policies and Procedures

Check into the company’s return and refund policies, shipping fees, taxes, minimum order amounts, and any other pertinent information. If you have to have a minimum order of $500 per delivery, will your club be able to meet the minimum? Do you have to order every month? Or can you order just once or twice a year? Is there a membership fee?

Check the prices against what you might pay through an online company. Sometimes you can find a better price with free shipping for minimum orders by shopping online.

Get all of the facts before you make any commitments.

Paperwork and Expenses

Some companies require you to fill out paperwork to start a buying club and order from them. They may want your social security number or a tax ID number if you are planning on opening a line of credit. I recommend against this, as it can cause complications if some members bounce checks or never pick up. If you don’t know members have them prepay for their orders.

Don’t Go Crazy Ordering from a Buying Club!

Be careful to order within your budget and think carefully about ordering extras or large quantities if you can’t use items up quickly enough. It’s very tempting to load up on goodies that you’d like to have, but don’t really need, so make a list and stick with it!

Do you belong to buying clubs? What companies do you order from? Leave a comment!

12 Comments on “How to Save Money with a Buying Club

  1. Great post! I’ve used Azure for many years and while the prices are higher than a big box store, they offer unique and organic items that BB stores don’t.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Yes, the prices are higher on many things but I have found that I save money on a lot of bulk dried goods. You’re right…there are a lot of choices that I can’t find locally!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you for this! I haven’t heard of it before! I buy in bulk, but usually through Natural Food stores or a Mennonite store a few towns away. I’ll have to look into this more!

    1. Hi Sadie,
      I’m so glad to help! You might have other drop sites in your area…it’s worth checking into! Be sure to watch the prices. For some things, I can get better prices at the store… but bulk goods are often a good deal and sometimes you’re able to get things that aren’t available locally. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    1. Hi Carrie… depending on where you live, you may be able to order from Country Life Natural Foods… out of Michigan. I really enjoy having these resources, especially when the stores charge more or don’t have what I need. Best wishes!

  3. Great post with lots of great info! You are one hard-working homemaker, Lisa! (Love the blog name!) Just subscribed. I’m afraid I would be out of luck if something bad happened. Though, stopping eating bread was very liberating. Now, we only need flour for weekend pancakes or the occasional cookie craving. I belonged to a raw dairy food buying club, but it was raided. With dairy king in California, they don’t want folks to get the idea raw dairy is good for you. My home state of TN is much more raw dairy friendly, and saw 1 gal. raw milk for $4 at a Mennonite farm! Sorry to get off-subject, lot of history there. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Kaye,
      Thanks for subscribing and taking the time to comment! I’m glad to share what I learn along my journey to ‘self sufficiency’ 🙂

      I’m sorry to hear about your raw milk experience. We have a local farmer who we’ve been purchasing milk from, but one of the cows has dried up. I’m really missing my 2 or 3 gallons of fresh, raw milk every week. So I can totally relate to your predicament. I really don’t understand how the big biz can control our politicians and laws…oh wait, I can understand, it’s all about the almighty dollar! Sigh.

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you find another dairy to buy from!

  4. There is one in our town; a lot of the people that belong to our CSA also buy in bulk from Frankferd Farms, a farm and co-op in western PA. They offer their own flour products along with a ton of other organic and non-organic food items. We have bought from them in the past, but found out that we had to check prices – they were not always cheaper. Now that we are baking our own bread though, we need to start buying flour in bulk again. We go through almost a 5 pound bag a week.

    1. Hi Katie,
      Yes, I definitely check prices. If it is a local company that is raising the food locally I will often pay a bit more to keep the money in my community. But if they are reselling products trucked in, that isn’t really local.

      I bake all of our own bread too and you’re so right, flour goes really fast. Good for you! Keep up the great work. 🙂

    2. I love Frankferd Farms! 🙂 I need to check out their wheat berry prices. I never thought to look at that for chicken feed. I usually buy spelt flour in 25 pound bags from them.

      1. I’ll have to check them out when we move back to western NY…it will be about 5 years, so hopefully I’ll remember! Thanks for the info ladies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.