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!
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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.
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.
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!