Most of us already know what a great way using coupons to save money, especially on groceries. However, there are other strategies that I would like to share to help you stretch your food buying power.
Join a Local Non-Profit Food Co-Op
For a very reasonable price (usually less than $30), one typically buys a share, then your share can give you things like 5-6 lb of meat 5 lb of fruit, 5 lb of veggies, fresh baked bread, pasta or rice. Definitely worth more than $30 retail of food!
How does the food co-op afford this? Simply individuals volunteer time and use local resources to maintain high quality products to feed the largest number possible. For more information and to see if there is a food co-op in your area, see http://www.coopdirectory.org or http://www.oneharvest.com/
In my area we have several food co-op options. I am part of one that a lady just runs out of her home. Each Saturday morning I drive just a couple of minutes to her house, pay her $17 and get a big basket of fruits and vegetables. A couple of things that I really like about the co-op are one, that we get nice variety of food each week and two is that it is not produce that has been sitting in the grocery store. It eliminates the grocery store middle man so I feel like the produce I get is super fresh. For me this works great. I then buy my meat here.
If there is not a food co-op in your area, you can consider starting your own. The first step in starting a food co-op is learning as much as you can. Learn about co-ops, learn about your community’s needs and vision, and learn about the organizing process.
Here are a couple of other options:
Join Community Supported Agriculture
This is an AWESOME idea! An individual “subscribes” to a farm by giving a set $ amount to the farmer in the spring when the farmer needs resources the most. Then, when harvest begins, usually first of July, the subscriber receives a weekly bounty of fresh fruits and veggies, usually for 13 to 15 weeks. Costs and variety of harvest vary by farm. See http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ for participating farm locations, pricing and details.
Grow Your Own Garden
This might seem simple, but it can take time and space. Live in an apartment? Try container gardening.
Visit your local bread or bakery outlet store.
I make a monthly trip to the Sara Lee bread bakery outlet store which sells the only wheat bread that is made with whole wheat flour and no high fructose corn syrup at a discount that ALL my family will eat. (Yes, I should be making it, but I am still mastering my breadmaking skills). My sliced bread of choice retails in stores for $3.89, but I purchase it at the bread outlet store for $1 to $1.25 per loaf. So I buy 8 loafs at a time and freeze them. The savings are evident.
By planning ahead, using coupons and adding an alternative idea or two from the list above, one can extend their grocery buying power while adding healthy nutritious food to your family’s diets.