How to Take Advantage of your Group’s Purchasing Power
By R Walker
If you are blessed to be part of a group of like-minded people that you meet with on a regular basis, count yourselves among some of the most fortunate few in the preparedness world. Our small, , group meets regularly to pray for each other and this country and to discuss what needs to be done, in order to survive and help others, if a life altering event should occur.
Such an event could be caused by any one of the most commonly discussed disaster scenarios, or it could be as close to home as an illness or job loss. If you are so fortunate as to be part of a similar gathering, I would like to recommend your group try and look for, and participate in co-operative ventures and other ways to standardize or super-size your purchases and methods of preparation.
No one knows what event(s) will trigger the potential fall of our way of life or if things will ever return to “normal” shortly after the triggering of such an event. If you are a Christian, and feel as I do, you may believe that we are, or may be entering in to the end time saga, and if so, things may never return to normal. (By the way I have read the end of the book and I know who wins).
What has worked for our group when Standardization Super-sizing our purchases?
Adventures in super-sizing
Without the fear that I may be over simplifying things, here are several efforts that we have done in our group to save money, time and confusion in our quest to be prepared for the unknown event(s) and being a good Steward of our provisions.
After an opportunity presented itself to our group we opted to combine our purchasing power at a local bulk food store and purchased a large quantity of 3 of the most commonly purchased, long term storage foods that became available at a huge discount (if purchased in pallet load lots). We were able to get beans, oats, and pasta at half of the normal retail price. Each family was asked to give us the quantities of each item, on a spread sheet we passed out. Once we knew what everyone wanted, we combined our order with a local faith based, organization who many of the members attended. We combined our order with theirs in order to get the amounts of product needed for a pallet to complete our first co-operative effort.
It was a month long process trying to get people to commit to a large combined order but the potential for cost savings and combining with another entity help make the arrangement pay off.
Once the beans, oats and pasta, arrived, we utilized accepted methods of storage for long shelf life for our food, but added a few wrinkles.
We felt it might be good to start out first reducing and then combing separate products in our storage pails. We placed a portion of each large bag in much smaller quantities (1-3 lbs.) and placed the smaller quantity in vacuum sealed bags. Along with each bag of beans, oats and pasta, we put bags of similar size with other commodities (rice, sugar, dried potatoes, dried milk, dried eggs, wheat berries, oats, and the like). Each Bag of individual product that was sealed in its own vacuum bag, it was then placed in a large, 5 gal. Mylar liner, followed by the appropriate number of oxygen absorbers, then a 5 gallon pail was used to protect the Mylar. The pails were filled with the various products until each was full.
Each family could vary the theme of the contents of their container. Some families chose to add things like dried nuts, dried fruits, drink mixes, chocolate and other sundries.
Once filled the Mylar liners where immediately sealed with a hot iron (like the one used in most home prior to “permanent press” clothing)
A re-sealable Gama or press sealed lid would then be placed on top of each 5 gal. Container. Each container would have enough contents stored in them to last a family of 4 for up to 2 weeks or more for the products, depending on quantity stored in each of course as well as the make- up and calorie needs of each family when combined with other staples they might have on hand to supplement the dry goods contained in the pail. (I should point out that all of the contents were dry goods, dehydrated or freeze dried items that would normally be stored un-refrigerated, as this method of preservation is not safe for fresh, frozen or perishable items). We chose to follow FEMA recommendations for daily food use, when determining quantiles of each item stored in a container (YMMV).
During our next bulk (supper-sized) purchase, a few of the members of the group wanted to get together and purchase multiple bags of “Scrap silver” coins. It became apparent that if we purchased enough silver at one time, we would get the coins at a bit of a reduced price.
Again a similar process occurred where interested parties signing up for the type denomination quantity of each coin. It was decided to have each member pay for the coins in advance, for the quantity of silver they wanted prior to the placement of the order.
Fewer families participated in this joint venture but once it was all said and done, it proved to be quite advantageous to combine our purchasing power. Once again we had tested and tasted the “fruits” of the co-operative purchase and, have been participating in additional opportunities to do more of the same ever since. We have since purchased ammo in bulk to get the bulk discount and free shipping, as well as other ventures that have seemed to help those involved maximize their budget.
Now we will try standardizing
We then felt that our group needed to standardize many of the aspects of being prepared.
Our group came up with a list of products, tools and equipment that each family or person should have on hand in order to be better equipped for any potential disasters.
This list includes bug out bag contents, methods of long term food storage, and food prep tools (canners, pressure canners, food dehydrators, vacuum sealers, meal grinders, and food mills.) This standardized list of food preservation items allows the group members to exchange experiences on how to do things, and what to avoid when processing or preparing future meals as well as a myriad of their synergies that occur during a cooperative effort. Each family will customize their own menus of course but many of the staples for our top 30 must haves will be on most every ones list.
Many of the members of our community, share surplus produce, products, ideas and techniques that they have experimented or been successful with or believe will become an advantage to put in each other’s tool belt. Most members are vigilant to watch out for garage sale, flea market or sale items that will be of great help in difficult times. Members will alert others to these items by calling to share this information. We are blessed to have a person in our group who has financial wisdom from being a day trader and supporting his family for several years using market analysis and trending and to move investments accordingly.
Along the same lines of sharing and caring for each other, we have members who raise produce, (eggs, honey and the like), and our group encourages its members to financially support those who produce such items.
We have other members of the group who seem to have a green thumb and would simply not dream of charging for surplus produce out of their gardens. We do try and repay their generosity with gift cards or gift items or just in love, acceptance and jars of our own home canning efforts.
Try to standardize your group in as many aspects of preparation as possible
We have also tried to standardize self- defense, security, weapons as well as tactical training. Some Christians may feel a bit squeamish about the ownership or use of firearms, but we as a group, believe in order to help others to survive and thrive in a time of potential devastation and desolation (WROL), we have a God given right to defend our loved ones, ourselves and help to protect others as sheep dogs in a world of sheeple. I firmly believe everyone in our group understands in case of a bugout, event, and “we will leave no one from our group behind”.
We do not have a central bug out location at this time but we do have standardized list of items such as tools, utensils, armament, food storage requirements, as well as wealth, health and beauty items and toiletries, recommended for each person showing up at any potential bug out location. (We are presently looking at a location opportunity for our central bug out spot that has presented itself to the group.)
Please do not misunderstand about bugging out. I am a strong proponent of bugging in, in all but the absolute worst of circumstances, but I am particularly concerned for folks in large towns or cities if the unimaginable should occur, such as nuclear events, acts of god, mass civil unrest causing wide spread terror and looting, or marshal law. I also do not recommend heading out without pre-determined caches, means of safe travel, communication, mapped routes and alternatives as well as a prepared destination and a primary, rendezvous plan. I believe to do otherwise may be ill advised.
Our group also tries to look out for the financial interest of each. We have come up with non-binding, recommendations for cash on hand for each house hold should the grid go down and credit cards no longer are viable. Just as a note, it is very important to understand, “Cash will be king for a season if and when things go terribly wrong”. There may then come a time where paper (faux) currency losses is luster and is no longer accepted, once faith in the system completely erodes. If and when the paper is worthless we believe a quantity of junk or silver bullion as well as physical gold and barter items will possibly rule the day.
There are huge benefits in bulk purchases, such as cheaper or free shipping on larger purchases, discount prices for bulk items and discounted prices for larger volumes of goods, not to mention the untold benefits of standardization, but in the real world, these purchases can be problematic:
- Do you collect the money up front from each participant prior to placing the order for each item, or do you trust participants will follow through once one of the members makes the commitment and pays for the purchase in advance.
- How will distribution of a bulk item take place (After 2 years I am still setting on 100 lbs. of beans I have stored in my garage, the owner has yet to pick up).
- When will the purchase be made and how long will some ones money be tied up before the item(s) can be purchased.
Some of these and other nagging questions crop up when contemplating a bulk purchase.
I can say without certainty, I would never consider trusting my family’s life or my own to anyone who I could not say, “their word is their bond”. It is truly an honor in this day and time to “run and role” with these types of people in our Pray and Prep group.
Make every effort to be part of something bigger than your family
I would encourage each of you to look for ways for your group or associates in this thing called “prepping” to standardize and super-size in all ways possible. Large savings can be had if there is trust, cooperation and Integrity in a group of likeminded people. I can think of countless examples where our group has prospered from this act of faith. I will mention a few to give you a seed to build on:
Finding a group of “like minded” individuals may not be easy and trusting strangers with your location and preparations can be very tenuous at best. These methods may not work best for the average prep group but are still workable in one form or another. Cash in advance of purchase, is probably one of the safest ways to go if in doubt, but someone has to act as a treasurer or accountant for the group. This method purchasing of any large quantities requires a great deal of ethics and a lot of transparency.
I thank God for such a group and my heart goes out to anyone trying to form a group of likeminded individuals. This is often as difficult as a “breach birth”, but your local church should be a great resource if you have that opportunity If you can get t word out in the church bulletin about starting a small group that wants to see our nation return to its roots and being ready for uncertain times, I would encourage you to do so.
If you do not attend a church or faith based organization, there may be other options available. Want ads in the personal section of a newspaper or Educational opportunities at the local library might provide an opportunity to meet with and share information about being ready for difficult times. A word of caution, if you are organizing or meeting anyone or groups of people for the first time, to form a group, I recommend meeting at a public location rather than in your home. OpsSpec and protection of your preps and privacy is paramount until long term relationship and trust is developed among members. Some of these co-operative efforts may only work with close relationships of long duration but should not automatically be dismissed. Start small and work up to the big stuff. Signed or initialed Order forms with quantities estimated arrival dates and total price, being documented and understood by all who participate may work wonders in times when memories and intentions might fail.
Perhaps open an account and have a treasurer document your deposits or dues as a vehicle to make large purchases make sense. I have been in travel clubs organizations where this worked very well, but once again all purchases require a certain degree of trust prior to entering in to them.
I hope this article has given each of a few ideas on ways to save, by standardizing and super-sizing in order to be able to do more with less, as well as being good stewards of the provisions the Lord has given you. I would also encourage you to bring savings ideas or bulk purchases to the attention of your group. In an honest and open forum, where trust and mutual respect is garnered, savings and blessings can abound. Please remember to pray for each other and pray for this country, rally around each other and trust one another, it can save you time and money as well as possibly save your life.