Money-Saving Moms

These six women have found creative ways to cut costs without pinching pennies--and have made their lives richer too.

Money Saver #1: Buy in Bulk

Money Saver #1: Joanne Swift

Bulk Food: Buy More, Pay Less

When this Cromwell, Connecticut, mom buys groceries, she stocks up big-time. Joanne, several of her siblings, and their mom team up to place an order twice a year with Associated Buyers, a large bulk-distribution company. A typical order includes a 50-pound bag of flour, a 35-pound box of raisins, and restaurant-size quantities of coffee, tea, salt, and more. "I can get walnuts for $2.39 a pound, compared with the $4.99 that I'd have to pay at the grocery store," says Swift, 41.

Their scheduled deliveries arrive by truck, and family members take turns waking up for the early-morning drop-offs. They unload the truck themselves to avoid an extra charge, and then they divvy up the bulk food into airtight plastic containers. "We've all got plenty of space in our homes for storage," says Swift, who has two refrigerators and a deep freezer.

Swift's husband, Bob, and their children--Anna, 14; Adam, 12; Benjamin, 10; Brianne, 8; Amelia, 4; and Allison, 22 months--aren't as thrilled as she is by the vast quantities of food they often have in their kitchen. "It drives my husband crazy when he opens up the cupboard and finds 30 pounds of rice there," she says. "He's always saying, 'We've got so much food around here--why can't I ever find anything to eat?'"

Make it work for you: Bulk-food companies usually require noncommercial customers to place minimum orders ($100 or more). Look on the Web for bulk-food suppliers in your area, or ask an independent local grocery store for names of nearby distributors.

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