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Monday, November 25, 2013

Saving Money on Spices

First published at Family Home and Life.

Herbs and spices can make or break your meals and baked goods. A bland meal can be a great one with the addition of the correct seasonings.This time of the year, we all tend to buy a seasoning or spice that we only need a small amount of. Then the rest sits in the back of the pantry until it is thrown out. It can become expensive though when you use spices purchased in the spice section of your grocery store.

Buying herbs and spices at stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts is my favorite way to buy seasonings; at a better price than the spice section of typical grocery stores and they have a huge selection of quality herbs and spices. Locate the spice or herbs you need sold in bins or jars, and fill a little bag with the amount you want. This is great if you just need a small amount for a recipe you only make a couple of times a year, or one you are trying for the first time.

I just restocked some of my spices. It came to a whooping $1.94! Thats less than 1 jar for something in a regular super market. 
Why would I ever want to buy a bottle of spice for $6 that I may only use a couple of times before it needs to be thrown out? I typically buy what I think will last me for a few months to keep my supply fresh. I just guess at the amount by looking at the bag I am filling to estimate how many teaspoons it contains. After a while you will get pretty good at guessing. 

Skip the spice section at your grocery store and look for packets of herbs and spices in the ethnic foods section, or Hispanic foods section. You will find many different seasonings sold in little cellophane packets at low prices. I have used spices and herbs sold this way for years.

There are also the warehouse clubs that sell large quantities at a fraction of the cost of super markets. I buy certain seasonings like granulated garlic, Italian blend seasonings, and seasoned salt there; also real vanilla extract. You can share a container with your family or friends. An even better plan would be to find someone to split the cost and contents of these large containers with.
You will need to have containers to put your spices in at home to keep them fresh; glass is the best option though you can use plastic if you want.  I use baby food jars, very small 4 oz mason jars, and jars I bought at IKEA. 

Thrift stores often have really nice and nearly new spice racks with spice containers (sometimes with the contents still in them! Don’t use it though, throw it out!)  though it is getting harder to find them with all the re-purposing of them right now for other uses. 

 Copyright © 2013 by Hill House Homestead ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


  1. Great tip! I never thought of this.
    Blessings, Diane Roark

  2. Those are great tips! One year I found plastic packages of sesame seeds in the bulk spice aisle at an Italian food market. I couldn't believe what a bargain because the typical (small) glass bottle at a regular grocery store was 3 times the price - yikes! The appetizers I was making didn't skimp on sesame seed topping that year!

  3. I always forget about Whole Foods for items like this--I love to shop there, but some things are pretty expensive (as in, I love the quality, I just can't afford it!), but the spices and things you can buy different portions of, is such a great idea!
    Thanks for sharing this on Twirl & Take a Bow! :)

    - Brooke -

  4. Thanks for sharing this valuable tip! My last trip to Whole Foods I bought anise stars in a bottle and the cashier shared the loose spices would be a better deal, so thank you for the friendly reminder!!


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