Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saving Hundreds of Dollars on Spices

Yes, you read that right. I did write "hundreds of dollars on spices", and I meant it!

If you do a lot of cooking, as I do, you may find it a good deal to buy spices from Sam's Club (or Costco if you have one--we don't). For the price of one tiny .8 (or less) ounce jar of McCormick, I can buy the equivalent of at least 20 jars. This saves me time and money--time because I am not running out of my spices as often (and thus needing to pick more up at the store) and money because I get twenty times the amount for the same price. At roughly $4 a jar, you've just saved about 80-bucks on one spice by buying the large version. If you buy more than one, you'll be saving hundreds on spices in no time!

I am not a spice snob...but even if I were, I think the money I save would convince me to buy the bigger-quantity, less-expensive brand. Besides, I think these spices seem to taste just fine, and I really can't tell a difference between them and their more expensive counterparts. (I do like my Watkins cinnamon and vanilla, but when I'm out, I will probably give the Sam's Club versions a whirl!).

As far as bulk food prices on spices versus Sam's prices are concerned...I'm really not sure. We don't have a bulk food outlet here, so for me, getting them at Sam's is the best, most frugal route. However, even at .20-.50-cent per ounce, as a rough guess, you may still be saving to go the Sam's route. My large spices range from 16-21 ounces, and they cost about $4.

Since I just bought some paprika, I thought I would share a little paprika trivia :)
  • Did you know it helps a pie crust brown? Just sprinkle a little on the bottom and sides of your pie plate next time you're making a quiche or something similar. 
  • Paprika is a better source, pound for pound, of vitamin C than citrus fruit (good thing I have a lot, hugh?!)
  • Paprika is actually one of the three most popular seasonings. Seek out the highest quality paprika by looking for Spanish, rather than domestic (my Sam's Club kind is Spanish--gourmet in a bulk disguise). :)
So buy your spices in bulk, and you'll be on your way to saving hundreds of dollars in the new year!

Visit Works for Me Wednesday for more helpful hints!


  1. This is a good tip. I don't buy all of my spices in bulk, but I have Costco containers of basil and black pepper. I also buy the cheaper brands of many spices (garlic powder, onion powder) in the supermarket when I can.

    For cinnamon, I buy both the brand name and the cheaper brand. I use the cheap one for sprinkling on my (homemade) latte, for cinnamon toast, and other quick things. For baking, I use the good stuff. I don't know if there's a real difference or not.

  2. I have a question, Cheryl (or anyone else reading this who knows) - Do you know if there's any way to preserve bulk quantities of spices like this - in the freezer, maybe? I ask because those really are such a great deal, but when I've bought them in the past, I didn't use them up fast enough (I had one container of black pepper that I finally tossed after two moves and multiple years! Maybe I don't season our food enough!)

  3. You can also buy spices (in smaller quantities) at Walmart if you shop in the Latino/Hispanic section! I bought some spices for .96 cents there, but in the baking/spice section of Walmart the McCormick's was it's typical overpriced self.

    I also buy the cheap 2/$1.00 stuff at Dollar General.

    Rachel, I read that you can freeze spices to help preserve them but I've never tried it.

  4. Whole spices (like peppercorns, all spice, cumin or coriander) can last for years. Dried herbs only about 2-6 months, and I think the same applies to ground spices. Store any of them away from heat and light. I love buying the whole spices in bulk at Costco!