How to Save Big Money on Groceries by Starting a Food Buying Club

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Cut your grocery bill by starting a food buying club.
Cut your grocery bill by starting a food buying club. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If your grocery bill is becoming too much to handle, you're likely looking for new ways to save on food. Most people are familiar with using coupons to save money, but a less-explored avenue is buying groceries wholesale. While one person could never use the amount of food wholesale grocers require for a minimum purchase, a whole group of people banded together can greatly benefit from buying groceries at wholesale prices. You can save big money on groceries by starting a food buying club. This takes organization and accountability, but once you get the hang of running a food buying club, you may never shop at a regular grocer's again.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing software
  • Club members' contact information
  • Grocery wholesaler contact

Gather a group of potential members for your food buying club. Select honest, reliable people who will order consistently. The number of members you need will depend on the size of their orders and the minimum order threshold of the wholesale supplier. Start with friends who you know are frugal. Compose an email/flier with general information about your vision for the group, an initial meeting time and place, and RSVP information. Distribute your email/flier to people you know from your office, school, clubs, religious organizations, and neighbors.

Find a food supplier. Look in the phone book under "grocery, wholesale" for the numbers of wholesale grocers. Watch at local establishments for trucks making a grocery deliveries and either talk to the delivery driver or write down the phone number from the truck. Go into local restaurants at off-peak hours and ask for referrals. Wholesalers differ in what they offer. Some will deliver only dry goods, others offer dry goods and produce, and still others offer dry goods, produce and dairy.

Gather information from your chosen grocery supplier. Ask them what is the minimum order required. Find out if they can take individual orders from club members and compile them into one group order, or if you must do the combining and give one single order for the whole group. Ask if they will deliver groceries to a home or if they require a loading dock. Find out the time frame of order arrival, and what type of payment they require.

Share with the supplier the concept of your group. Some wholesalers only deal with commercial establishments.

Host a group meeting. Explain the vision for the club, how the club will operate and collect dues, if you determine a need for them, such as to cover printing or fuel expenses.

Solicit volunteers to receive and check the order when it is delivered, divide the groceries as necessary and act as treasurer by keeping the books.

Determine how often you will place group orders and when the first will be. This will largely depend on meeting the minimum order threshold set by your wholesale supplier.

Determine procedures for pick-up times and consequences for not picking up as well as how money will be received and refunded if necessary.

Determine how orders will be received. If you have a meeting before each order is placed you will be able to gauge if there is enough interest in a particular item to be ordered that time.

Set up group bank account. You will want the club transactions to be separate from your personal bank account.

Place and receive order with your wholesale grocer.

Have the group meet to divide the food and pick up their individual orders.

Tips & Warnings

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