The opportunity to save literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year on your grocery costs can be accomplished through the power of community. The amount that you can save is only limited to the strategic relationships that you can develop and maintain. So what is the secret handshake that you have to know in order to take advantage of these great savings? Well the first step is just a simple handshake that transitions to…ok so I am just kidding about the handshake.
The key to saving this magical 50% figure on your grocery bill is to talk to your family, friends, neighbors, and community members. Sharing resources such as warehouse store memberships or access to a restaurant supply store will allow those in your inner circle to maximize the amount that can be saved without incurring the exorbitant cost of spending the money to gain access to all of these different stores. I will say that while I can think of hundreds of times that I have saved tons of money at these stores, if you don’t know what the local prices are in your area you can greatly overpay as well. Many of the box stores will sell items at a loss to earn your business on other items where most of the discount stores operate on set margins and will not always have the best price on certain items. The following four options offer the greatest opportunity for savings.
Warehouse Stores – Sam’s Club and Costco can be a great resource for food as well as many other items. Not only is there an opportunity to pick up items at a reduced cost but these are places that you can get items in large quantities as well. To get into warehouse stores there is an annual membership fee that must be paid. Some individuals have these memberships but some also have these memberships for their businesses which not only allows for the savings but the membership cost can be covered as a business expense. In addition to food items, I like to pick up clothing and other seasonal type items at these type of stores because towards the end of the season you can save a ton of money. Right now there are coats that sell for $100 new that are on clearance for $10 at our Sam’s Club. It is still snowing outside! Take advantage of the savings people and shop at the end of the season for next year.
Restaurant Supply Stores – There are some restaurant supply stores that are open to the public but it seems that the true stores that supply restaurants are not open to the public and knowing someone in the food industry can help you gain access to these stores. This does not mean that you have to be best friends with the owner of the local buffet. If you know someone who has a coffee shop that could be your way in. You can always check with the store and see what their policies are as well. Some may let you in if you are shopping for the high school concession stand or for your organizations fundraiser. It never hurts to ask. Of course there is always the option of starting up a hotdog cart so that you can take advantage of this opportunity!
Military Commissaries – If you live in a community that has a military installation, there is a good chance that there is a commissary there. For those that may not be familiar with military jargon, a commissary is a grocery store. You will find just about everything there that you can find at your local Kroger, Albertson’s, Safeway, or other local grocery store. Now military commissaries are not open to the public so unless you are a member of a military family you will have to know someone who is. This is where the community connections come in. So what if you do not live in a military community? Well, military retirees are entitled to commissary privileges and many will travel to the nearest military base at periodic intervals to stock up on items. If you know a retiree then you may be able to tag along and take advantage of some of the savings that are available at the military commissaries!
LDS Canneries – I am not a subject matter expert on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints faith or the services that are offered through the LDS canneries but I do know that there are many bulk foods that are offered for sale. From what I have seen on the internet it seems as though the restrictions on who can use the cannery depends on the local rules. If you know a member of the LDS church this is probably the best way to obtain access to your local cannery. The bulk foods available through the LDS cannery are prepackaged as well as cannable by the consumer and fall into the short and long-term storage food categories.
Anyone know how to increase these savings even more? You guessed it…coupons! Obviously coupons cannot be used in every situation but if the chance to use them is there then by all means take advantage of it. I have saved most of my money shopping at the military commissary where I can say that I have saved a ton of money. With coupons that amount has increased even more. One example that I can think of is a coupon that came out in the Sunday paper and was for $1.00 off of an Oral-B dental floss. The commissary has the dental floss for $0.95 and after taking the $1.00 off for the coupon I had a credit of $0.05 plus a roll of free dental floss! Not a bad deal at all.
The bottom line is that through family and community relationships you have the opportunity to greatly stretch your grocery dollars. There is nothing to lose other than your hard-earned money.
If you can think of any other great ways to save on the grocery budget, chime in and share them with the other Ninja’s in the community!