With the chagim coming up, I’ve got to get extra creative about food shopping in order to keep our costs down. If we’re not careful, we can easily spend triple our monthly food budget on just a handful of meals.
In order to ensure that our spending doesn’t get totally out of hand, I’m getting back to basics. And for me, the basics when it comes to saving money on kosher food are:
1. I shop sales with coupons for the bulk of my day-to-day kosher-certified items, plus produce
2. I order my kosher beef online from Golden West Glatt in Colorado, since I love their prices (especially their weekly sales) and their amazingly high quality meat
3. I bulk order the hard-to-find or uber-expensive items from a kosher co-cop
I’ve talked about #1 and #2 a lot already, so today I wanted to focus on #3 – ordering from a kosher co-op.
Now, it just so happens that the co-op we use was started right here in Kansas City by my good friends, Katie and Chaim White. The Kansas City Kosher Co-Op isn’t just for Kansans, however, which is why I wanted to bring it to your attention.
The KC Kosher Co-Op has actually expanded its operation to ten different cities across America.
- Overland Park / Kansas City, KS
- Raleigh, NC
- Savannah, GA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Houston, TX
- Boca Raton, FL
- Sacramento, CA
- Atlanta, GA
- Dallas, TX
- Detroit, MI – the co-op’s newest site!
Plus, Katie and Chaim are looking for new markets all the time. In other words, even if your city isn’t on this list, you can still contact them to see if it might be the next one!
Right now, the KC Kosher Co-Op offers four opportunities to order per year, which falls out to be roughly every 3 months. There is usually an order deadline for right before a chag or yom tov. Unfortunately, the deadline for the first seven sites was last Monday (sorry folks :(), but the last three sites – Atlanta, Dallas, and Detroit – have until this Monday to order in time for Rosh Hashana!
As for how to shop the co-op, here are the basics: You jump onto the KC Kosher Co-Cop website and set up an account. Then you peruse their incredibly exhaustive list of products. There are currently more than 5,500 products on the site! And before Passover, the WHOLE site goes Kosher-for-Pesach with over 4,500 products to choose from.
I’m warning you, it can be overwhelming to shop at first. I still don’t feel like I know everything they offer, but I have my regular items that I always order.
Chaim tells me that the three most popular items are Ungar’s Gefilte Fish, Meal Mart Ground Beef, and Miller’s String Cheese. I haven’t gotten the first two, but we ALWAYS have a case of string cheese in our order.
Usually I stock up just for our family, but if there is a product I’d like to try without getting a whole case of it, I will use the “product splitting” page (find it on the top menu bar). This time, for example, I am splitting a case of Sabra potato burekas with one family, and a case of 4-hour Shabbat candles with another couple of families.
Like anything I buy, I try to know what the cost would be at, say, Costco or my local grocery store. (A price book is a great way to track these price comparisons.) With most items, the Co-Op beats my best price hands down.
Chaim tells me that depending on the city, the Co-Op’s prices average out to be 30% cheaper than retail stores. I have found the same thing, with the main exception being the shredded mozzarella at Costco. I can also snag a better deal on canned beans, when combining a sale with coupons. Again, your mileage may vary, so do your homework before ordering.
Have you ordered from the KC Kosher Co-Op? What are your favorite products? Got questions about how it works? Let’s hear it!
Disclaimer: Even though Chaim and Katie really are my friends, they have in no way comped me for this post. I’m just sharing the KC Kosher Co-Op with you because I really do believe it’s an awesome way to keep your kosher grocery budget as low as possible, as long as you order wisely!