Trader Joe’s, among being the number one seller of some seriously bonkers treats—cookie butter cheesecakes and Sriracha bacon jerky, to name a few—is also America’s favorite grocery store three years running. You’ll never find this golden child caught in an overcharging scandal à la Whole Foods because it’s too busy being a bastion of consistently great deal.
Despite its seeming transparency, TJ’s still has a few secrets up its Hawaiian sleeves, including the fact that it’s entirely possible to snag some even cheaper deals! Thanks to Business Insider, 17 new hacks have been discovered that will not only reduce the cost of stocking your fridge but also help you get it done in no time.
1. Check The Fearless Flyer.
Not only is it just generally fun reading material—full of puns and cute cartoons—but it highlights featured products which can come in handy when planning weekly shopping lists. Nab one at the store, look it up online, or even have it mailed right to your door.
2. Frozen Fruit Isn’t Worth It.
While nabbing some frozen strawberries during weekly shopping rounds is tempting, the small quantities aren’t worth the price—they cost three times more than a 64 oz bag at Walmart!
3. Forget Shopping on Sunday.
Or Monday, or anytime when your local store gets crazy busy for that matter. Choosing the right time to go will ensure smaller lines, larger product availability, and no headaches.
4. Say Yes to Chicken Dinner.
While buying the organic chicken here won’t get you quite the cluck for your buck—it’s cheaper at Walmart—the fan favorite chicken sausage is both a great deal and certified delish. Just hope it doesn’t get recalled again.
5. Use Coupons!
This little known fact is quite a surprise. While Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer coupons for its private label goods, some of the name-brand cereals the company sells, like Kashi and Puffins, do. So be on the lookout for just the right coupons.
6. Dip Into the Frozen Meals.
While Trader Joe’s in-house frozen foods are reason enough to dip by the freezers, you’ll want to stock up on name brands like Amy’s, which are $2 cheaper than at other grocery stores.
7. Bring Your Own Bag.
Trader Joe’s rewards eco-conscious customers who bring their own bags with the opportunity to win a $25 gift card in each store’s weekly raffle. Fill out a ticket at the register, then cross your fingers.
8. Get The Most Out of Mac & Cheese.
This delicacy beats out the boxed version by a long-shot taste wise. And at just a couple dollars more, the splurge is worth it to satisfy your cheesy craving.
9. Don’t Shop Hungry.
No store succeeds at impulse buys quite like Trader Joes’s. Decadent chocolates and candies are perfectly placed to tempt those in line, so be sure to do your shopping after you eat. And it’s probably best to put your game face on no matter what.
10. Steer Clear of Fresh Produce.
Because much of the chain’s produce is prepackaged, that can mean it’s not as fresh and potentially overpriced. Figure out where else you can shop and cross-compare the offerings.
11. Splurge on the Fancy Cheeses.
Trader Joe’s has a range of imported cheeses only outdone by actual cheese stores—except everything’s at extremely low prices. Get your Gouda on!
12. Stock Your Pantry.
Having a well stocked pantry is the base of any good kitchen, and stocking it with Trader Joe’s private-label goods is one of the most affordable options. The brand’s quinoa sells at $2 less per pound than Whole Foods.
13. Pick Peanut Butter.
TJ’s peanut butter is cheaper than almond butter and a steal compared to other stores.
14. Be Wary of the “Organic” Label.
According to Cooksmarts, certain things are worth the organic splurge while others are not. Study up before your next trip and be careful not to spend more than you need to.
15. Go Bananas.
You just can’t beat a banana for 19 cents. (Fun fact: TJ’s has kept this price the same for 13 years!)
16. Sneak Into the Specialty Snacks.
Aside from just being straight up awesome, the unique snacks at Trader Joe’s are better for you because they’re made with real ingredients. The most popular among them are dark chocolate peanut butter cups, popcorn splashed with olive oil, kettle corn, and roasted seaweed snacks.
17. Get To Know Two-Buck Chuck.
This award-winning wine is unbeatable when it comes to your wallet. You’d be a fool not to snatch up a case of both white and red varietals. But don’t forget, bring your own bag!
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- 1 1. Check The Fearless Flyer.
- 2 2. Frozen Fruit Isn’t Worth It.
- 3 3. Forget Shopping on Sunday.
- 4 4. Say Yes to Chicken Dinner.
- 5 5. Use Coupons!
- 6 6. Dip Into the Frozen Meals.
- 7 7. Bring Your Own Bag.
- 8 8. Get The Most Out of Mac & Cheese.
- 9 9. Don’t Shop Hungry.
- 10 10. Steer Clear of Fresh Produce.
- 11 11. Splurge on the Fancy Cheeses.
- 12 12. Stock Your Pantry.
- 13 13. Pick Peanut Butter.
- 14 14. Be Wary of the “Organic” Label.
- 15 15. Go Bananas.
- 16 16. Sneak Into the Specialty Snacks.
- 17 17. Get To Know Two-Buck Chuck.