Save Money by Joining a Co-op

Woman tending a cooperative garden

Joining a co-op is a great way to cut expenses and save money. There are a variety of co-ops you can join, or start one yourself. Here are a few ways you can reduce your expenses by joining a co-op.

Popular money-saving co-op ideas

Workspace Co-op

If you’re self-employed, reduce your overhead expenses of renting an office space by joining an office co-op. You will still pay rent, but it will be a lot less than if you rented space alone. Most workspace co-ops charge different rates based on how many days you’ll need a desk, but they usually offer options for 2-5 days per week. This is great if you also like the option of working from home.

Workspace co-ops also offer conference rooms and audio-visual equipment that you can rent for reduced fees for any onsite meetings you want to book with clients.

A workspace co-op offers you a business address where you can have your mail delivered, a desk when you need it, and a conference room for meeting with clients, all for much less than renting a private office. Some co-ops also offer a full-time receptionist and dedicated voicemail to give you a more professional appearance.

Housing Co-op

A housing co-op is one step above having roommates and one step below renting your own apartment. In a housing co-op, you rent a room or area of a home for your personal space. Common areas like kitchen, living room, patio, and some bathrooms are shared.

A housing co-op does more than share space though; they create rules about who can live there and what each person is responsible for. Together you divide the chores for the common areas and yard maintenance and are usually responsible for cooking one to two meals per week for the housemates.

If each person is preparing a meal, this reduces your grocery expenses in addition to housing and utility expenses.

Different co-ops have different rules about who can live there; some accept families while others are only for singles. Some allow pets while others don’t. And as a member of the co-op, you will participate in creating the rules.

Food Co-op

Joining a food co-op is a great way to cut grocery expenses. They do require a membership, but you don’t have to live on a farm in order to join. Every co-op has its own rules. Some allow anyone to shop while others require a membership. Some may even ask you to work shifts in exchange for membership.

Food co-ops offer a nice selection of local grown produce, meats, eggs, and baked goods. Some also offer bulk foods like nuts, dried fruits, and different types of flour.

Another kind of food co-op is a buying club. This can be a small group of people – family members, church group, students – who buy in bulk to save money then share their purchases with the rest of the group. A large case of soup from the big box store might be too much for your family, but holding on to a quarter of the case and sharing the rest with your group in exchange for something else you need is a nice way to cut expenses.

Co-ops can be a great way to reduce your expenses and even live eco-friendlier. What other ideas can you think of for co-ops? Babysitting? Ride sharing? Family plan for cellphone usage? Get creative!

Emilie writes about overcoming debt, while balancing trying to eat healthy, stay fit, and have a little fun along the way. You can find more of her work at