You can save money at your local dollar store, in fact on some items you can make out like a bandit. Spices is one area where I think you can save a lot of money.
I know what you might be thinking, are you serious? I know dollar stores are great for gift wrap, gift bags, and party stuff. Are they good place to find spices? Yes, they can be. If you are beginning cook, or perhaps you are just setting up house. Stocking a spice cabinet can be an expensive undertaking. Let me walk you through why I think the dollar store can have good prices.
Make sure their stock is fresh
First off, let me say if the store doesn't have a grocery section, this may not be the store you want to go to. I personally like the 99 cent store, Dollar Tree, and Big Lots. I know there are a lot more to choose from. The first thing I do, and I do this in a grocery store is to look at the bottles of spices, are they dusty? If so, their stock isn't turning very fast, so think twice if you are going to purchase from here. Also if the herb you are buying started out as green and in the jar its brown, just skip it.
Some dried spices are like any other dried spices
Yes, I buy spices from higher end stores, just try to snatch The Spice House's truffle salt from me, and watch what happens. For many herbs dried parsley is dried parsley no matter where it comes from. I think the dollar store deals are to be had on common every day spices and herbs like parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning blend, basil, rosemary, sea salt, black pepper corns, and much more.
I have found great luck on specialty salts here at the dollar stores. You can always buy the regular 16 ounces of table salt for well under a dollar, so no surprise there. I have often found sea salt at the dollar store. This is a substantial savings over the grocery store, and a much better deal than many spice stores. I have often found holiday seasonings a month or two after the holiday. Save that pumpkin or apple pie spice for the upcoming holidays, or make your own pumpkin spice latte, or other great in the off season.
Ethnic Grocery Sections
If your dollar store happens to have an ethnic grocery department you are in luck. I live in Houston and our dollar stores typically have an ethnic section. This means great deals are to be had when it comes to spices. I find a wider selection of dried chilies, chili powder, cumin, and other spices and herbs that go in Mexican style cooking. These typically are very fresh as they have a high turner.
Don't turn down your opportunity to find a great deal at your local dollar store when it comes to spices, you never know what they will have.
Where do you get your spices? Do you have any money saving secrets on spices?