I have discovered a grocery place locally that I previously dismissed, because I thought it would be an expensive, gourmet, local organic type of place. Turns out it IS a local organic focused type of place, and a lot of it is expensive, but it has one aisle that trumps all that.
There is a bulk food aisle.
Rows and rows of clear canisters, with multitudes of flours, sugars, grains, beans, granola, rice. Amazing.
You can buy as much as you want of each item, it's sold by weight - they provide scoops to put it either into a clear bag, or various sizes of small plastic container. Above is a container of bran, which cost me an embarrassingly small amount. This is perfect for me, since I cook just for myself and not a family. I don't have to buy a 5lb bag of bran (or anything else), and find ways to use it all up. I can pick a recipe and buy just enough for what I want.
Also amazing - they sell bulk spices! So instead of buying $6 jars of random spices at the grocery store, if I have a unique recipe I can just buy a few spoonfuls of what I need. The spices go into little tiny plastic baggies, and they weigh practically nothing. The minimum charge for spices is $0.25 if it's too light for the scale to read the weight, and most of the spices I've bought have been $0.25 each. I've been able to try out some Chinese and Indian dishes, with appropriate spices, and never had to pay more than $0.68 for a packet of spices.
So since I have figured this out, I've gotten cornmeal, cane sugar, flax seed, bread flour, cake flour, lentils, and handful of different spices. I also go here to refill spices I run out of - cinnamon and nutmeg are much cheaper in bulk than at the supermarket.
Not bad for an expensive organic local hippie co-op store. :)