The Secret to Saving on Spices

Menus4Moms: Save on GroceriesI 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!

About Mary Ann

Mary Ann Kelley has been creating meal plans online for over 15 years, first as part of TheHomeSchoolMom's cooking resources for busy moms and later on Menus4Moms, which has been highlighted by "Diner's Journal," The New York Times' Blog on Dining Out, and PBS Parents' "Kitchen Explorer."

Mary Ann loves cooking and she loves planning/organizing, so meal planning is a natural intersection of the two. She believes her mission for the meal plans is being fulfilled when visitors let her know that she has helped them save time and money by teaching them to plan ahead and become more efficient in the kitchen.

When Mary Ann is not cooking, she enjoys reading, researching genealogy, and traveling.


  1. Debbi Matthews says

    WINCO – If you live in an area with one. I know they are in Maryland and In Washington State. Every year I buy 21 cents worth of sage for dressing.

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