Store-bought spices come in all different sizes, have labels that conceal amounts and cost a good penny. The Evil Mad Scientist blog preaches the wisdom of buying your own jars and labels for both uniformity and serious savings.
When you think about it, it is somewhat amazing that companies sell spices with wraparound labels that make it actually difficult to gauge, at a glance, how much of a very expensive substance is left. By offering those spices in different sizes, too, spice companies are either trying to firm up loyalty ("Hey, all my spices are finally in a row!") or force you to give up home cooking for Outback Curbside Take-Away.
Evil Mad Scientist contributor Lenore suggests buying your own spice jars, like this 16-piece J.K. Adams set, and making your own labels for both maximum visibility and uniformity on your shelf — plus, the mouths are wide enough to actually fit a measuring spoon through. Once you're no longer beholden to the spice mafia families, you can also buy your fill-ups at Chinese, Middle Eastern and other ethnic groceries where the prices on many staples are much, much lower.
Got a semi-secret spot for spice savings in your neck of the woods? Found a better way to know when you're running low on paprika? Give us the goods in the comments.
How to Kick arse and Take Names in the Spice Aisle [Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories]