Bruja on a Budget: 5 Places to get witchy supplies for the low
Like most people, I didn’t come from a family that’s rolling in dough. My grandmother on my mother’s side grew up in Mississippi & unfortunately her childhood was riddled with poverty. But being the strong black woman she is, she rose above that and learned how to find a bargain quicker than a bee can find pollen. All credit of my bargaining skills belong to her. I must say, I love the magickal vibe I get when I walk into a new botanica. Candles, crystals, oils and too many herbs to name. But like every other bruja, I’ve felt that sinking pit inside my stomach when I see the price tag on something I need but it’s a little more expensive than I expected. During the first few months or so that I became heavily involved with rootworking and magick, I sucked it up and paid the high prices at my local botanica. I sat in my cubicle at work eating a packed lunch consisting of a frozen dinner and can of pop because I spent $50 on supplies for a ritual and that was my lunch money for the week. I looked down at my thrift store jeans that I always got complimented on and remembered growing up with my grandmother and our weekly trips to the Goodwill during the summer. I thought to myself “there has to be a cheaper way of doing this”.
From then I decided that every time I went to stores I’d look around to see if I could find any of my witchy supplies at a cheaper price. I was shocked that just my regular degular shmegular grocery store had a lot of things at more than 50% less than what I’d been paying.
Well today, I’m living in Atlanta and I don’t live close to a botanica. Since living here, I was forced even more so to find the things that I need at other stores. So I’ve compiled a list of places for the fellow brujas on a budget & what types of things you can find there.
A lot of you may already know about the witchy findings at your local Walmart but I’m going to talk about it here for those who haven’t explored that realm yet. You’d be surprised at how many things you can get at Walmart alone. Many people know about the candle section where you can pick up the “alleged” money, love and healing candles. There’s also a small roster of essential oils. Many of them are less than $5. In addition to these things they have Florida water for $3, super cheap multi-packs of mason jars that you can use to store herbs and to use for spells. And if you are setting up an altar, check out their arts and crafts department for their broad selections of fabric. You can purchase a piece of fabric, sew up the loose ends and BOOM now you have an altar cloth. You can also buy fresh flowers to give as offerings to your ancestors and deities
2. Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree was one of the first places I discovered I can get some decent supplies from. Things you can find there will include white 7-day candles, tea light candles, candle holders, blank journals you can use for your grimoire and to write down affirmations. One of the main things I get from the Dollar Tree is dishes. They have good quality wine glasses, plates & silverware you can use for your altars. Also there’s an array of food items so if you’re on a budget and need to give offerings you can find plenty of candy, cookies, pop and other types of food to give to your gods/goddesses. The best part about this store is that everything is $1.
3. Farmers Markets and International Grocery Stores
Every town has different international grocery stores. Whether they are Asian, Caribbean or Latin, a lot of them sell the same items. The one I go to here in Atlanta is huge & it’s my primary “botanica” since the closest botanica to me is about 25 mins away. Within international grocery stores and local farmers markets, you can find almost any herb you can think of. And most of them are sold at wholesale pricing. I get things like chamomile, lemongrass, eucalyptus and rose petals for less than $2 at my local farmers market. It has become my holy grail for herb shopping. These are the perfect places to locate those hard to find herbs you need for a spell. There’s always an assortment of exotic fruits so if you work with deities that have picky tongues then this will be the place you can find their offerings. The cans of coconut juice I give to Obatala are much cheaper to purchase here than anywhere else. My local store also has an entire section of candles & incense. They have just about every candle that my local botanica has except orisha candles. They even have Santisma Muerte candles in every color. All of the candles are less than $2. My boyfriend pretty much knows that whenever we do our grocery shopping there, we’re coming home with a lot more than just groceries. LOL.
4. Thrift Stores
After spending half my summers as kid shopping at thrift stores with my grandmother, this should’ve been the first place I started looking for supplies. Your local thrift stores and Goodwill are great for a lot of things. You can find old placemats to use as altar cloths, dishes, bowls to use as cauldrons, and many of them sell furniture so if you need a table or shelf for your altars or to store supplies then you can get them here at a fraction of the regular cost. Also a little known thing about shopping at thrift stores is the amount of books you can find here. I’ve found prayer books, books on astrology, popular reads like The Alchemist and Celestine Prophecy. Most of the time the books are only $1 or less. I once found a handmade ceramic Eye of Horus plaque that I used to protect my home for a long time. Just remember to sage and/or wash whatever items you purchase here with sea salt or Florida water because these items once belonged to someone else and you don’t know what kind of energy it’s carrying. Use your intuition when buying things. If the energy feels to heavy or sticky then maybe you should leave it where it is and let it find a home elsewhere.
5. Garage Sales
With it being summertime, I have to highlight this gem for witchy finds. With garage sales, you can pretty much find a lot of the same items you could at a the thrift store but the difference here is the ability to bargain with people. With garage sales, many people will set their price a bit higher because they are expecting to bargain with people and/or the items have some type of sentimental value to them. Have respect for their sentimental value but don’t hesitate to point out that the table they're trying to sell is leaning or there’s a scratch in the glass on that vase you want to put on your ofrenda. Again you’ll need to use your intuition when shopping. If you have a gut feeling that there were negative spirits in the home or you just don’t like the person’s energy then leave. Because whatever type of energy is there will likely come home with you & your secondhand treasures. Even if you have a good vibe, still make sure you cleanse the new-to-you items when you bring them into your home. So before the summer’s over, go get some ice cream, go for a joyride and look for the sales.
Now that you have few places to shop, don’t forget to still support your local botanica, especially if they are minority owned & operated. They’ll be the ones with your High John The Conqueror & Jezebel roots, sage bundles, tarot decks and crystals. Most of them are small businesses & small businesses need support. This list is simply to help those who can’t afford to buy everything in one place. By all means, if you have the extra couple dollars, I’d rather you put it in the hands of the Black & Brown people who bring their spirituality and culture to the community. Remember, even if you don’t have much, where you spend your money matters. Peace and Infinite blessings to every bruja, brujo & brujx reading this. Know that the amount of money in your bank account doesn’t have to determine the amount of magick in your life. Asé.