Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.

Budget Thursday: Herbs

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I have to finally accept that when it comes to herbs and spices I’m not exactly frugal. The way I keep finding packets of myrrh resin is proof positive in my mind that I’m solely responsible for the over harvesting of the plant (I have no recollection of ever purchasing that much myrrh is the scary part. I swear it’s around a pound. What on earth possessed me to buy so much?) I can at least say after several years of poverty this, purchasing every ounce of myrrh and all, is a dying habit.

I know many of my readers just grow their own herbs and spices to save some money to this end.  I don’t at this point in time and I am in good company.  When I first posted this a reader noted they would like to see some suggestions for herbs and spices without having to grow their own. I drafted some stuff for my book concerning how to buy incense supplies (maybe that’s how I ended up with so much myrrh?  No, that’s counter-productive…) on a budget.  Despite my copious amounts of myrrh I’ve learned a few tricks with thriftiness behoove me more than just buying it when I can. Hopefully, you can apply these ideas in your life.

Check the grocery stores. Many herbs and spices used in witchcraft and incense are still used today to flavor food.

Discount stores, such as dollar stores, also sell many herbs and spices for a deeper discount. You may have to check for freshness, though I’ve found many discount stores supply the same quality as grocery stores.

If there’s a certain herb or spice you use more than others (or certain resins like myrrh) find where you can buy in bulk. Buying in bulk allows you to get as much as you need and more often a cheaper price.

Get the herb fresh, dry it, then store. I will admit this is one of the tougher ones. However many folks will sell it at farmer’s markets, out of their own garden, or even at the grocery store. Don’t forget to also…

Harvest it on your own. If you live in an area where it grows wild, get permission from the owner, and know exactly what is or isn’t sprayed you can collect certain plants in your own environment. I recommend keeping a book on identifying plants handy ( though bear in mind this isn’t fool proof for identifying plants.  Many plants look similar so it’s easy to mistake that dog’s mercury for parsley, for example) and advise when to harvest a plant (some plants aren’t good until a certain time of the year). Don’t forget that harvesting it on your own also requires some discretion on your part. Over harvesting a plant means you may not get to harvest it at that place next time. Take only what you need. Bear in mind also that government property (such as a park) is off limits, period.  If harvesting on private property be sure to clear it with the property owner, preferably in writing (and keep such writing handy).

Trade with a friend. You may find a friend has an excess amount of an herb or spice you want. If you have something in excess they want-say, myrrh-a trade is a viable option.

Sales are a great place to save. Just remember to check for the expiration date, defective, or possibly tampered product.

Buy only in small amounts if it’s a new herb or one you don’t use often. It’s common sense but it’s always worth repeating. Either way if something goes awry there’s no major financial loss.

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