Some have said that it takes a village to raise a child. Can it take a village to secure your food storage? It can certainly help you acquire items at the lowest prices. Last year, Charlotte, a woman in my area, began negotiating with several food storage manufacturers in Northern Utah. She spoke with her local friends and inquired if anyone else would like to order #10 cans of food storage staples, or bulk items with her so they could place a larger order and get a reduced price. Many people were interested. The woman collected the orders and money, and once a month her husband or another man would drive a trailer to Salt Lake and pick up the order. A year, and several thousand #10 cans later (literally), the companies Charlotte was using offered to bring the orders to her (which would save on gas and time) if the orders were large enough. The group needed to order 8 pallets worth of items. So Charlotte opened the opportunity up to our women’s organization and others in the area to use the strength of our numbers to get the lowest possible prices.
This system is working great for us. Each month, Charlotte selects a few items that will be offered to the group to order. Last month, we could choose from 4 kinds of soup mixes packed in enameled #10 cans, and a 25# bag of dehydrated hashbrown potatoes. Limiting the number of items for the group to purchase each month allows us to focus our buying power for the lowest prices on these select items (we’re buying hundreds of each one, rather than 10 or so of multiple items). Each group of women has a designated person to announce the items, gather the orders and payments and then deliver the orders to Charlotte. We place the orders at the beginning of a month and then they are delivered by freight toward the end of the month. The other benefit of offering a few items each month is families don’t feel overwhelmed and anxious about spending a bunch to build their food storage supplies. They can just buy something each month.
Charlotte is also using our bulk buying power to negotiate the best prices on preparedness items like water filtration bottles (these can be as much as $49 online, we’ll be ordering them for under $20) and emergency blankets. Charlotte isn’t making any profit. All of us are benefiting from the use of organization and ingenuity to provide the manufacturer with a very large order, who in turn provides us with a nice price reduction. It’s a great arrangement.
Cooperative buying groups for food storage are being organized by some web sites, but you can do this yourself easily. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.