I have to finalize my food cooperative order today and get it to our coordinator. If you're wondering how I put together my order, here's a peek into my thought process. First I go through the price list, all 200 pages of it to see what's on sale. I write down any sale item that we might want. Generally speaking, I avoid prepackaged mixes. I also check our inventory of staples to see what we are low on.
Comparing the sales and the staple needs gives me a basic list of items, then I bring it to the table. I mean the dinner table of course. I try to let everyone have some input, within reason. For example, if two things they like are on sale but we are only able to budget for one, which would they prefer?
Keeping to this method I am usually able to keep our food order cost under $250/month buying mainly organic foods. About once a year we wind up with two food orders from the same pricelist. Our current pricelist is the one this occurs with. I'm pretty pleased because this pricelist has quite a few things on sale that I'd be happy to stock up on, like kidney beans, black eyed peas and Tofurky (my kids love Tofurky!)