|Note the couple of kilos of fair trade chocolate!!|
Sanity. It means I don't have to trek three squabbling kids round the shops, look for parking etc. Instead we can get fresh, local fruit, veg, meat, dairy and bakery from local shops as and when we need them. And someone else gets to pick all the boring, heavy. mundane stuff off the shelves and lift the heavy stuff and bring it to my house (and they get paid!)
Save money - I buy when stuff is on offer in the supermarket, especially non perishables- we only buy nappy wipes when they are buy one get one free, and wine if it is on offer.
Bulk buying means you can afford to buy from online ethical suppliers with a far wider range of choice than your local supermarket. We get our office paper, paper towel and toilet roll from a company which sells all recycled products. I get Japanese food supplies sent over from the UK (hmmm not hugely sustainable I know) and we previously bought our eco disposables this way too.
Ordering online means you can do the shopping at your leisure without kids hassling you, wanting the sweets at the checkout, trying to climb out of the trolley...
Bulk buying means less transportation, which saves time and fuel
We get deliveries of dried foods, tinned and other stuff from the supermarket and from a health food wholesalers.
In order to do this we club together with other families to reach the €500 minimum order required. We place an order about once every 6 weeks: pulses, grains, flour, organic fruit puree for the baba, tofu, eco disposable nappies, eco toiletries... and if you're my friend D, more stock cubes than you could use in 3 life times!
You get trade prices, at 30-40% off, this means we can afford to by more organic produce. But obviously don't buy stuff in bulk you haven't tried before - cos if you don't use it, cos you don't like it, then you're not actually saving money organic sesame sticks come to mind there - even the chickens wouldn't eat them! Also be mindful that when ordering you don't get to check best-before dates - some foods do not have long shelf lives and like us you find yourself eating a lot of fresh tofu within a month.
Bulk buying cleaning products in bulk containers (soap, shampoo, laundry liquid, washing up liquid...) saves huge amounts financially, and in packaging. But doing this we probably save 30-40 plastic bottles a year going into landfill. Ditto with flour, oats, lentils, we buy in large 2 or 5 kg bags which saves on individual packaging, and brings down prices.
You always have your staple foods in stock - no more Old Mother Hubbard, running out of baked beans or not having a bottle of wine to take to a party. Full cupboards mean an impromptu dinner for friends is only a couple of moments away from possibility.
But most importantly when Armageddon/ peak oil/ food riots/ alien invasion come you can sit smug knowing that you have enough tins of beans, white wine vinegar, quinoa and brown rice flour to last you forever!
If you liked this, have you read...
Transition family: building a resilient family
Skills for resilient families
Instead of Money
Part Two - Value beyond Money
Part Three - Dispelling the Myth of Self Sufficiency