Monday, June 9, 2008

naturally frugal

i was talking to a friend today and our conversation reminded me of another conversation- one i had with my sweet sister in law in oregon about buying clubs. she mentioned that i should blog about the buying clubs and co-ops i am a part of. so here goes! if you are moving towards a healthier lifestyle and are looking for ways to make it more affordable- buying clubs are your answer! i currently run a buying club through a company called frontier. frontier is a natural product distributor that health food stores order their stock from. my members and i get natural/organic baking, body and cleaning products for wholesale prices. if we meet our $250 price point (which we always do!) our shipping is free! the prices are considerably better. some items are half of what i'd pay at a health food store. *i am also a part of a chicken co-op out of a small texas town. i order meat around every 6 weeks and pick it up soon after. again, it is natural chicken that is about $2 less/pound than i would pay in the store. i have been a part of other co-ops like ozark, now morningside organics, that you can order any bulk, organic grocery item through.

being a part of co-ops allows me to be wise with our money while not comprimising our health. if you don't have a buying club near you, consider starting one with a group of friends. they are relatively easy to manage. there is some time commitment involved but really minimal- i'm talking about maybe 3 hours a month (depending on your group size).

ordering through co-ops had a bit of a learning curve for me. so here are some things i've learned:
1. don't buy a case of something from the catalogue 'just to try it'. "mmm. sea weed flavored sesame sticks. this i've GOT to try!"
2. try to find friends to split cases with- that way you have a true co-op system going
3. learn how to use what you have and not buy more until you have finished it up
4. you will have to plan your month around various pick-up times
5. research the item before you buy it. more than likely the co-op coordinator is a busy mom who doesn't have time to work out a return for you
6. pay and pick up on time! the coordinator usually has to put all items on a personal credit card.

in my experience, eating and cleaning (my home and myself!) naturally/organically is comletely possible. and while the savings can't always be cut out of the sunday paper, they are there; you just have to ask around until you find what you're looking for.

Edit (Nov. 2010)

*I now buy our chicken and meat from a local farmer.


The Kramer Family said...

I so appreciate this post. I've been trying to understand the co-op world. Not having a great variety in the health and whole foods world in Brenham has made me want to look deeper into this.

I'm serious. I drove to College Station (45 min) and spent 2 hours in HEB looking at the amazing varieties of food. And don't get me started on the bulk foods!

I am curious where you are located? I noticed some mutual friends and was wondering if you are from these parts. I would be interested in joining a co-op. My e-mail address is

Thanks so much!

Steph said...

Ok, I'm coming to your house and snooping around all your cleaning stuff and food...I'm so curious about all this stuff, how good it works and most importantly how it tastes! (The food, not the cleaning stuff ;)

Really. Coming over. Snooping. Tasting. Look out!

Kellybird said...

this is great! thanks so much for your help.

as for luby's... mark was behind me which is why i took such offense. and you're so right on so many different levels about luby's. i hope i never see luby's AGAIN!

oh, and back to help. what do you use for serious clogs in a sink drain?

mandi said...

depends on what your clog is- i always start with dumping baking soda down the drain and then adding vinegar. clear drains, and a fun science experiment all rolled into one. better save it for a saturday night- too much fun for the work week : )