Looking for a good online resource to purchase oils (coconut, olive, avocado, etc.). In my area these oils are insanely expensive, well, olive oil's not too bad, but I'm not sure of the cheap stuff's quality. Pretty much what I'm looking is a decent quality/volume per dollar ratio. The only place to get coconut oil around here is Healthy Life Market or maybe the Healthy Living Section at Kroger.
Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly
Try Tropical Traditions for coconut oil. They also have a lot of products based on it that we use: deodorant, toothpaste (glycerine and fluoride-free), hand soap, and so forth.
I buy my coconut oil and red palm oil at Wilderness Family Naturals
If you're looking for cooking fats, lard and tallow can't be beat. You can buy the unrendered fat from almost any butcher and render it in the oven or in a crockpot:
I also keep the fat from browned ground beef, bacon, and baked chicken and use it for cooking eggs or meat.
Just avoid the shelf-stable lard you find in the supermarket; it's full of trans fats.
I buy a lot of my oils from Amazon. For example, I have one of these massive 54 ounce Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in my cupboard.
US Wellness Meats is a great source for grassfed beef tallow. I just got 36 pounds of it on sale for $85 (regularly $100--still an amazing deal)! I've cooked with butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil, but I think this is my new favorite, as it's super saturated (i.e. heat-stable), has a great flavor, and needs very little heat to get things cooking.
Can you maybe expand why you can't spend quite a bit on oil? Are you going to be using it a lot?
As far as I'm concerned I use homemade ghee for all the frying I might do. Olive oil I'd only use in salads, avocado as well (never bought it).
If you don't like butter, have you considered palm oil? It's very cheap compared to coconut oil where I live, but contains 10% linoleic fats. Make sure to get the red one, as the clear one has been processed industrially, and even hydrogenated. Palm kernel oil I haven't seen here, but contains less linoleic fats than palm oil.
Butter contains by far the least linoleic acid, but I'm not sure whether the sat fats could be defined more healthy in coconuts.
In Europe, coconoil sells coconut oil (with free shipping throughout Europe).
Do you buy grassfed meats from a farmer? The family I buy from recently gave me 2 giant bags of pig fat and beef fat that I rendered--lots of people don't want it. Similarly, the previous people that I bought from gave me 2 enormous (think copy-paper-sized) boxes for five bucks. Nothing better than free, and building those relationships has helped me to access cheap, fantastic quality, cooking oil.
Otherwise, vitacost (as someone upthread suggested) is the best source I've found for (relatively) inexpensive high quality coconut oil (Nutiva).
The best source I've found for olive oil is to go to ethnic markets of ethnicities where people eat a lot of olive oil. I particularly like olive oil from Crete (which I buy from Greek stores--the Greek brand Eiliki is also delicious), and Nablus olive oil is good if you're buying from Middle Eastern producers (most Lebanese olive oil is not to my taste, but may be to yours). When you buy olive oil, check the harvest date, it should be from last year, or else the oil is too old.
And yes, cheap olive oil is bogus, as is helpfully pointed out in this New Yorker article:
Here's the thing--properly extracted traditional fats are expensive. It's one of the reasons industrial oils crowd the supermarkets. So, I get that you're trying to save money (as a student with a husband, both living on my fellowship, I really get it)--but oils are one of those things where extraction lends a fixed cost. So, hopefully you can get access to inexpensive animal fat locally (split a pig with friends that are ewwed out by lard, for example), because the only way to cut costs majorly is to DIY the whole process.
I buy beef suet from a local grass-finished-beef farmer and render it into tallow myself. It isn't much work and the cost works out to $3-$4 a quart.
Camden Grey does not generally market their oils as "food grade," but I called to ask, and they are all food grade. If you look at the descriptions, you will see that many of them discuss how to use them in cooking or in other food applications. No matter the price, though, the shipping's gonna kill you!
I can buy a 32 ounce jar of coconut oil from Green Cuts in Tecoman Mexico for 56.50 pesos or $4.47 US. I love being close to the source.
I have a family of 5, so I get the one gallon tub of Nutvia
Shipping's free too!