Prepping on a Budget: Group Co-ops

One of the tips you’ll hear the most when trying to save money on food is to buy in bulk.  As a rule purchasing in bulk is a good strategy for prepping on a budget, but you need to be careful and compare  per ounce prices.   You can beef up your savings when prepping on a budget by putting together  group co-ops.

How to use Group Co-ops when Prepping on a Budget

Now when I mention group co-ops people think of already existing group co-ops like Azure Standard or something along those lines.  I’ve ran many a co-op in my time, and truth be known, co-ops come in all shapes and sizes.

Bulk Nuts Vacuum sealed with a FoodSaver

Recently a friend of mine contacted a local nut company and asked how big of an order was required to get their discount price.  A discount price is often not as low as a wholesale/resale price because a company requires a wholesale business number to sell at that price.  But a discount price is much lower than a sale price and makes it worth the time to co-ordinate orders with a group of other like minded people.

You can run group co-ops for all sorts of things from food to tangibles like grain grinders, water purifiers, etc.  It’s not hard.  Just give a company a call, ask if they would be willing to participate in your co-op.  Many grocery stores are willing to order in larger quantities of items for discount prices.

Where to find Group Co-Op Opportunities when Prepping on a Budget

Azure Standard

Walton Feed

Emergency Essentials

Local suppliers of fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.

Local health food stores.

Local grocery stores.

The worst that can happen is for someone to tell you no.  Big deal.  Scratch them off your list and move on to the next name.

Bulk Purchased Pumpkin Seeds Vacuum Sealed with a Food Saver

Back to our local nut co-op.  I purchased about 50 pounds of different kinds of nuts and seeds.  All at about a 30-40% discount.   It was awesome.  And easy.  And totally worth the time to bag up all those orders.

How to Store Nuts When Prepping on a Budget

I used to pour them in Mason jars and then stick ’em in my freezer.  But that didn’t leave a lot of room for great stock up deals on meat and the like.

vacuum sealing nuts in a Mason jar with my Food Saver

Using my FoodSaver to vacuum seal nuts in  Mason jars allows the nuts to last without having to take up precious freezer space, makes life so much easier!   I have almonds I purchased and vacuumed sealed two years ago that are still fresh!   Just make sure the tops stay sealed.  If one top comes unsealed, simply vacuum seal it again.  No biggie.

Food Savers Make Prepping on a Budget Super Easy!

It’s super easy! Looking at the picture above, you can see that I have the wide mouth jar sealer on my wide mouth jar, on which I’ve already placed a wide mouth lid. No ring needed right now. Just the jar and the lid.

Then I pulled out the accessory tubing from my FoodSaver and connected it to the top of the wide mouth jar sealer.  I pressed the button that starts the vacuum sealing process. It stops on it’s own when it’s done!

FoodSaver gives you the option of using regular mouth sized jars too. Just make sure you have the sealer for the regular mouth jars. Personally, I prefer the wide mouth jars, but the instructions will remain the same.

According to the manufacturer, the FM5000 Series of FoodSavers is compatible with jar sealers and any other FoodSaver container or accessory.

You will also need the regular and wide mouth FoodSaver jar sealers.

Prepping on a Budget using Mason Jars!

When you vacuum seal in mason jars, you can use any size from pint to quart to (my favorite!) half gallon jars! And, you can open and reseal them as many times as you would like. Score!

Vacuum Sealing is an excellent way to store legumes, rices, grains, raisins, and….well, the sky is kind of the limit here!

Anyone else prepping on a budget and using group co-ops to increase their purchasing power?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

About ParkerMama

Tammy is a mom to 6 wonderful kids, including Parker, who came with an extra chromosome! She is passionate about special needs advocacy, living within her means, and preparing for an uncertain future. Tammy's main blog is Praying For Parker. Make sure to visit her there as well!


  1. We have an older food saver. I’ll have to see if this will work on it.

  2. that’s a lotta nuts

  3. Hi there! Just stumbled across your blog on Pinterest, and I was wondering, when you say the nuts “last and last,” how long are we talking? I was under the impression they had about a 6 month maximum, but I’d love to be wrong!

    • Kirsty,

      My experience with nuts that I have vacuum sealed is that they last at least a year. I usually go in on a group buy twice a year. Once in the Fall for almonds, and once again later for others like cashews, and seeds. So far, so good. However, your mileage may vary. I’ll look at my food saver book and see what it says! I also keep my vacuum sealed nuts in my cool, dark basement.

      • Hi Guys! I own The Vak Shack…where I sell discount vacuum packaging supplies. I have worked with co-ops in the past and would be happy to offer you volume discounts. Just email me at with the sizes and quantities you’d be interested in so I can coordinate some pricing for you.



  4. I need to get another Food Saver. Our original one broke, and I miss it!

  5. We eat a lot of nuts. I’ve never tried a food saver before but I love the concept. How long do you store the nuts?

    • Kelly,

      My nuts last at least a year. I usually restock twice a year and can only afford enough to last a year. However, I know a local prepper here that has stored her nuts for as long as THREE years in jars she vacuum sealed in her food saver. You will want to check your jars every few months just to make sure the seal is still good, but that is super easy to do.

      I need to add this to my original post, but make sure the model of food saver you purchase has the tubing for accessories. And then you will need to purchase either the wide mouth or regular mouth vacuum accessory….depending on what type of jars you use. I’m partial to wide mouth jars. 😀

      • My first food saver had a narrow seinlag strip and it did that sometimes. My new one is twice as wide and is better. Make absolutely sure that the bag is clean and dry where it seals. I almost always have to wipe it off with a paper towel. I also put two seals on each end of the bag just to be sure. I can’t say enough good things about the canisters. When I have too much salad I put half in a canister so it will last until I’m ready for it.

  6. I love nuts!!! that is a great idea to buy in bulk. I just wrote an article about prepping on a budget too, and a great way to recycle 2 liter bottle. Thanks for all the great info. God Bless you and Prayers for Parker.


  1. […] and I are over at Simply Preparing today talking about the glory of food co-ops and the money they can save […]

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