UNFI also maintains Unitedbuyingclubs.com, a Web site that helps with finding clubs and offers other useful online tools.
Sharing home maintenance services
Landscape companies are often approached by homeowners associations which bargain for lower rates based on the number of adjacent lawns that can be maintained more easily and cheaply, says Duane Shumaker, president of the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association in Christiansburg, Va.
There's no reason homeowners on a block without a formal association can't do the same, says Rick Kier of Pro Scapes Inc., a Jamesville, N.Y., company that does landscaping and snow removal.
Depending on the number of driveways to be plowed or lots mowed, discounts could be slight to considerable -- 50 percent or more, says Kier.
But it takes a committed group, and someone will have to serve as the group's organizer, Kier says. "What if I give a group rate and then only a few people sign the contract?" he asks.
Indeed, these and other group buying efforts can save consumers plenty of cash. The challenge will be getting organized and staying organized.