Spices: Buy Them For Cheap at Whole Foods! | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

September 18, 2013

Spices: Buy Them For Cheap at Whole Foods!

Yesterday, my mind was blown.

BLOWN, people.

So it started with needed to get a few items for a recipe I was making for my Monthly Freezer Meal Club meet up. I was going to hit up my regular grocery store, but Bug and I needed an adventure, so we decided to stop at Whole Foods for fun.  I enjoy Whole Foods: the atmosphere, the mission, the food. But I'm also a realist. It can be expensive. 

And this recent humor post about Surviving Whole Foods?  


But for some things, Whole Foods is the place to go. If I want to buy gluten free or specialty items, it's a good place to hit up (because I know wherever I go, it'll be expensive). I've also been going to Whole Foods for bulk nuts to make Homemade Almond Butter and Homemade Peanut Butter. I really love bulk food sections, and it's one of my favorite aspects of our local Whole Foods.

But yesterday?

Yesterday the bulk foods section took on a whole new meaning for me.

Let me back up: The ingredient I needed for the Chicken Curry recipe for Freezer Club was curry powder. My local grocery store only carries this spice in the small 1 ounce container. The price for the small McCormick's container is $3.69 (not on sale). I couldn't bring myself to buy an entire (small) container of it for that price, so I was scouting out discount grocers to find it cheaper.  

While I was browsing the Whole Foods bulk section, I noticed for the first time that one of the bulk offerings is a spice section. All these pretty jars filled with various spices. Below, there are measure spoons and cups in a range of measurements (think teaspoons, tablespoons, 1/4 cups, etc) that you can use to measure the exact amount of spice you need. There are small plastic zip-top bags (as well as larger bags if you use, say, a buttload of dried basil or something) to pour your spices into.

It's the perfect set up!

I happen to notice that they had curry powder at $9.99 per pound (Side note: I can't imagine ever needing a pound of curry, but I digress).  I'm terrible at math (mental or otherwise), but I figured, "Well, I'm here. I'll just grab it so I don't have to go to the other grocery store, and if it's more expensive, oh well."

OH WELL, indeed!

I needed 4 tablespoons, which apparently comes to roughly 1 ounce (same as in the small McCormick spice containers). At check out can you guess how much that 1 ounce bag of curry powder cost me?



That's over $2 in savings. Bulk is my new love. WHY WOULD I EVER BUY THOSE STUPID EXPENSIVE CONTAINERS EVER AGAIN?

To give you a visual:

This is the same amount of curry powder (1 ounce). One cost $3.69. The other cost $0.60.

Consider me sold.

Thank you, Whole Foods. I am now a bulk spices convert. I plan to go back and do a price comparison of the other spices. Since curry powder is notoriously expensive, I want to see how other spices play out. Ground cinnamon is generally cheap. Is it even cheaper in bulk? What about other expensive items, such as ground cloves or saffron?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post!

For more ways to shop FRUGALLY at Whole Foods (yes, it's possible!), check out this post from my friend Heather: Possible? Whole Foods on a Budget.

How do you shop frugally at Whole Foods?
What bulk spices are you going to price check?

For more frugal tips, check out the Fabulously Frugal link up! TONS of great tips and advice!

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