Spicy Savings

Just a few of the dozens of spices you can save BIG on at ethnic markets

Spices can turn even the most basic ingredients into a delicious meal bursting with flavor.  The only problem is that spices can be very expensive and end up being a budget breaker, but it doesn’t have to be that way. My secret to buying cheap spices is shopping in ethnic markets instead of the grocery store. I love making spicy food, but paying the outrageous cost of spices at the grocery store just wasn’t possible, so when I was in college I began searching for alternative sources. There are plenty of wholesale retailers online but they have high minimum orders and the shipping costs can outweigh the savings on the price of the spices. What I eventually found were nearby ethnic markets that sell spices in larger quantities for a fraction of the cost of their chain grocery store counterparts. The savings and difference in quantity vary based on each spice, but to give you an idea, I recently bought a seven ounce bag of ground mustard at a nearby Indian market for $2.49 after seeing an eighth of an ounce for $4.59 at the grocery store.  That’s 35 cents per ounce versus $5.74 per ounce! How can this be true you ask? Most of the time the spices you find at ethnic markets don’t have the nice packaging in shaker tops or the brand names you find at the grocery store. I have never noticed a difference in quality and I rarely miss the shaker tops. For the spices that I want shaker tops, I purchase spice containers from the Dollar Store, which add an additional expense (it still ends up being a savings of more than $4 per ounce). If the savings on spices wasn’t enough, you can also usually find other inexpensive dry goods such as rice, beans, and various flours. Take a trip to China Town or your local Indian or Mexican store and get cooking!

Cheap spices in Dollar Store containers

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