Some consumers have found that clipping coupons isn't the only way to cut costs. For shoppers like Jen Wiggins, forming a buying club with other families can also help save money on grocery bills.
"It's really a group of people banding together to increase their purchasing power," said Associated Buyers, Inc. owner Karta Owens.
The clubs work on the premise of power in numbers, because the people in the groups qualify to buy groceries at wholesale prices. Many wholesalers require a minimum purchase of about $350, but with ever-increasing food tabs, Wiggins has no problem hitting those numbers with her buying club, which is composed of three members.
"I'm all about saving money and I feel like I can definitely save the money with a lot of the products that I get," said Wiggins, who started her buying club four years ago. "I think you could probably save the most money buying bulk things: pasta, flour, baking products, sugar. And if you can divide them up with somebody, that's the way to save money."
In Wiggins' club, which has had as many as seven members, participants pitch in for orders, collect money and divide the groceries into each family's portion.
Wiggins said she saves between $100 and $200 monthly on her family of three's food bill. She also saves because she doesn't spend money on fuel, since the food is delivered to her.
Larger families have reported saving as much as $500 a month and, as Wiggins' family grows, she expects her savings will too.
She uses Associated Buyers International of Barrington, N.H, which supplies stores and restaurants, but gets about a quarter of its business with buying clubs.
Owens said club members save 20 percent to 25 percent on groceries and added it goes beyond banking extra money.
"It's not just economics," Owens said. "You get this great food, but what they really find is it brings them closer to their community."
Associated Buyers specializes in natural and organic foods, which are what most buying clubs are interested in. The company offers almost everything except fresh items like produce and milk.
Many wholesalers who provide goods to buying clubs specialize in natural and organic products.
"I'm trying to be environmentally conscious and you can get a lot of recycled products like recycled aluminum foil, — products that are more environmentally friendly," Wiggins said.
Check out the following links to learn more about buying clubs: