It’s really so simple I feel stupid for just “discovering” it. I’m probably going to tell you folks something you already knew. Ah well…I’ve been laughed at before… It’s that time of year when vegetable gardens are in full production here in north Georgia. If you aren’t buried in zucchini squash right about now either 1.) You don’t have a garden with zucchini, or 2.) You don’t know anyone who does.
Past vegetable gardening here at Mountain Crest Farm (the small, tiny farm where JuicyMaters originates) has consisted of growing veggies that only needed “straight” canning to keep. That means tomatoes, green beans, okra, and other veggies that only need water and salt to can or simple blanching and vacuum sealing to freeze. This is the first year we’ve grown cucumbers, which means the first year we’ve grown pickling cucumbers, which means the first year we’ve made pickles. I know, I know…cucumbers aren’t the only thing to pickle! Anyway, this year one of the raised beds was dedicated to pickling cucumbers, and that led to making pickles, and that led to a shocking discovery… Spices needed for pickling are expensive! I didn’t pay much attention at first. Cindy would say, “When we go to town we need some mustard seed.”, and the next time we went to town it would be, “We need to pick up some dill seed.”, or pickling spices, or something. I was like, “OK.” Then I got to noticing that those little (itty bitty, really) jars didn’t hold much but cost a lot! I got to thinking and decided there had to be a better (more frugal) way. After some poking around on the Internet a while I said:
Eureka! I’ve found it! (Not really. I’m not an Archimedes imitator. I don’t run around naked. You are safe!)
I am an Amazon Prime member so the first place I went searching was at Amazon. What I expected to find was some of the same small jars but at a better…much better, I hoped…price. I figured that if the spice products I found were eligible for Amazon Prime, which has free 2 day shipping (I really like that word “free”…don’t you?) I would still have small amounts but for a much better price, and I could always order multiples. Well, surprise, surprise! I don’t know why I didn’t expect it, but most everything we needed to get for pickling and more was available in bulk, and for a tremendously better price. As an example, we needed Mustard Seed. A 1.4 oz jar was $4.87 at Kroger. I searched Amazon and found a pack of 3 bags that were 1 pound each…3 pounds of Mustard Seed for $18.02, shipping included.
That is a tad over $6.00 a pound. The same $5.00 I had spent on 1.4 oz at Kroger! Here’s the math for you…at the price Kroger wanted for 1.4 oz, $4.87, it would cost $155.84 to buy the same 3 pounds. Looked at another way, Kroger (Or almost any supermarket. I’m not picking on Kroger.) gets $3.25 per ounce for their Mustard Seed while essentially the same thing can be bought for .37 per ounce from Amazon.com. That got my attention…and generated an order for the next time it’s needed later in the season (We are making lots of pickles. And relish. And Chow Chow. Did I say lots? I meant LOTS!). That wasn’t a one-off accident, either. I also ordered . 3 pounds of Celery Seed for $15.08. Unbelievable! A pound of Pickling Spice for $9.00. Unreal! 3 pounds of Dill Seed for $15.49. Sucre bleu!
Now I know a lot of you in the JuicyMaters family are out there laughing at me, thinking, “Where the heck has he been?”
What? You aren’t a member of the JuicyMaters family? You don’t know how to become one of us? Well…I’ll fix that! Sign up to join us and receive our newsletter right here:
There…all better now?
Anyway, I had never thought of using the Internet for mundane, small stuff like spices. Sure…I used it for the bigger “buy it once and forget it” things…car parts, Ham radio equipment, self-sufficiency type tools…but not the little stuff like spices.
Well, now I know better. I’ve learned you can save a ton of money…you can add to your “frugal homesteader” mindset toolkit…by using the net for almost everything, even the small stuff.
Incidentally…I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for two years, and I’ve more than paid for my membership just in saved shipping costs.