I love to keep a nice variety of spices in my spice collection, but I don’t like paying the typical high prices for them. Keep reading to find out my favorite trick to save money on spices.
I have several ways of saving on spices, starting with buying in bulk. Amish and Mennonite stores often have bulk foods that are available at significant savings, but only a few areas have the benefit of these type stores. Warehouse clubs are another great place to buy spices – I can get an enormous jar of Montreal Steak or Montreal Chicken seasoning at Costco for a fraction of the per ounce cost I pay at the grocery store. Since those are two of our favorite seasonings, they definitely don’t go to waste.
Store brand spices are always less expensive than name brand, but many stores only carry basic seasonings and herbs in their private label so they usually aren’t much help when looking for anything beyond garlic salt or parsley. Target is one exception, and their Archer Farms brand is a full line of herbs and spices at savings compared to name brands.
My favorite money saving strategy when buying spices is to go for the imports. Any locale that has a large enough Hispanic population for a grocery store to have an Hispanic section (not the Old El Paso section) will likely have imported spices. Imported spices are typically sold in bags rather than bottles, which is probably where part of the savings comes from. You can reuse your spice bottles or even use empty baby food jars to repackage bagged spices.
Locally, Walmart carries a nice selection of imported spices on the Hispanic aisle a couple of aisles over from the spice aisle. Just within the last couple of weeks I have purchased cinnamon, poppy seeds, and paprika from the Hispanic aisle at a fraction of the cost of the leading national brand. Here are shots of the price labels comparing Great Value paprika (which is the least expensive version on the spice aisle) to the Hispanic bagged version:
The imported paprika was only $.44/oz, compared to $.98/oz for the store brand. Compared to a national brand, the savings from the imported version are even more significant – one of the popular national brands was almost $2/oz – over 4 times the cost of the Hispanic version. All those dimes add up over time!