When we moved back to our second home in 2001 we took this healthy, natural lifestyle that we wanted to live by the reins and ran with it. One of the major reasons we could afford to do it, on one income and pregnant with #3, was by joining co-ops and wholesale clubs.
We joined a produce co-op ran out of the home of a friend. We still do this today. Every week we go and pick out what organic produce we want for the week. In the beginning of this co-op we would get a box of produce, with no selection really. This is when the Joy of Cooking became our best friend. Amy remembers looking in the vegetable section trying to figure out what vegetable it was and how to prepare it.
We joined a grocery co-op so we could get those gluten-free, dairy-free groceries that are so readily available today. In addition we were able to get those organic varieties of things that are just way too expensive anywhere else. You can order things by the case or split them up with a friend or two. When ordering from a co-op it is important to learn to buy what is on sale in bulk, so you don’t have to buy it again until it is on sale again. You basically learn how to stock a store. Eventually we started our own co-op with our friends and began to compile a split list so we could try a large variety of things and get things that came in huge quantities, the more you buy the cheaper the price usually.
We also found some great products that are unfortunately MLM’s (could be good and bad I suppose). So we signed up for them just so we could buy them at wholesale prices. Look for links to Body Balance, a liquid vitamin drink that is actually absorbed by the body; Young Living Essential Oils, these are medicinal oils used instead of conventional medicines; Xocai, a company that uses only the inside of the cacao plant and a cold-process method to make yummy chocolate treats that are caffeine-free and have more antioxidants then any other food.
We joined a natural vitamins, household products and spices co-op so we could get wholesale prices on vitamins, soaps, shampoos, spices, etc. This is the Frontier Co-op; look for the link. Not only do they have their own products, they carry products from other companies too. They are continually adding new stuff. If you can make a $250 order with some friends, then they ship it all to you free as well. Another great resource for the vitamins is Vitacost.com. We will try to add a link on the advertisers page soon, but they sometimes beat the wholesale prices that Frontier has. Shop around, we will add a few healthy stores that we have used and found so you can see who has the best price for what and don’t forget shipping charges, they change everything. It is best to go in with a friend or two to save on shipping.
We had a friend doing all of this with us and fortunately for us, she had a tax-ID# that allowed her to get products from companies that only sell to other companies. This is how we get Biokleen, Garden of Life, Aubrey Organics, and other great products.
We have been blessed to know this person, Toni. She still does all of this today and we are not the only lucky ones who get the benefits, if you are in the Southern Atlanta area you are welcome to join her yahoo group naturallyyoursco-op to find out about all the products she has to offer from a large range of co-ops, MLM’s, and companies that only sell to other companies. She also sends out healthy information and people do get together to split large items like grass-fed cows.
There are ways to do it and afford it. Here we are expecting our sixth child and still living on one income. We may not have nice new furniture and beautiful accessories all over the house. But we have each other and the things that are necessary and important for our healthy, natural lifestyle. So join some co-op’s or make your own, find some wholesale clubs, and shop around. It is possible to eat healthy on most budgets. Sometimes you may have to do without some luxuries, but you will soon find that they were luxuries that didn’t matter or even made your life less healthy so you didn’t need them to begin with. Good luck, you can do it too!