I like to cook, and when I do I use a lot of herbs and spices. It'd be hard to afford the quantities I routinely throw in the simmering pot if we were paying grocery store prices for those that get used the most, but I have a better alternative - I buy them in bulk from the local "Amish" (Mennonite, really) store. Nothing like buying herbs priced by the pound. Here's a picture of the latest haul from today. For scale I have put a typical container of salt on one end and one of those 99¢ Tones bottles on the other (which typically hold somewhere between 0.5 and 1 oz. of spice, so that works out to between $16-$32/pound).
- $2.64 for 0.22 lb. (3.52 oz.) of thyme @ $12/lb.
- $2.50 for 0.25 lb. (4 oz.) of oregano @ $10/lb.
- $3.80 for 0.76 lb. (12.16 oz.) of dried onions @ $5/lb.
- $3.18 for 0.36 lb. (5.76 oz.) of dried garlic chips @ $8.84/lb.
- $1.59 for 0.16 lb. (2.56 oz.) of sweet basil @ $9.95/lb.
I highly recommend you hunt down a local outlet for bulk spices. In the Midwest it is often Amish stores. In bigger cities ethnic food stores are often a good place to look. Do some research, ask friends, check the phone book. In these fiscally constrained times it's always good to save some money, so quit paying those grocery store prices, especially for the seasonings you use the most!