If you're a fan of Trader Joe's, be sure to check out these 9 secret tips, tricks, and best things to buy or avoid before stepping foot inside the store.
Trader Joe's Shopping Tips
Do you have a Trader Joe's nearby? I recently took my mom to TJ's because she was visiting from out of town and I wanted to show her some of the fun things they had to offer!
If you're not familiar with Trader Joe's, they are a grocery store chain known for their unique & seasonal food items as as well as their fun staff that make shopping there entertaining. But if you're looking to save money while shopping there, we have a few secrets that will help you have the best shopping experience.
Secrets to Shopping at Trader Joe's
1. Trader Joe's NEVER has sales.
You heard right guys. Trader Joe's doesn't ever do any kind of sales, promotions, or special store coupons – but they DO have great low prices on many staples, so grab those while you're there.
Here's what Trader Joe's says about sales – “Sale is a four-letter word to us. We have low prices, every day. NO coupons. NO membership cards. NO discounts. NO glitzy promotions or couponing wars at our stores. We offer the best everyday values, every day.”
2. You CAN use coupons at Trader Joe's.
I love this! Trader Joe's does accept printed or clipped manufacturer's coupons just like a regular grocery store does – so head on over to print out any coupons you might want before heading in to shop! (Believe it or not there are more and more coupons popping up for organic products!)
3. Trader Joe's products are awesome.
About 80% of Trader Joe's products are in-house brands. They're inexpensive and very comparable to leading brands and they even taste test them before putting their label on it. Plus – Trader Joe's clearly states that their private label brands ALL adhere to the following (and at a great price!):
- NO artificial flavors
- NO artificial preservatives
- NO MSG
- NO genetically modified ingredients
- NO partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans-fats)
- NO “marketing” costs
- YES colors derived only from naturally available products
- YES tasting panel approval
- YES great price
- YES quality ingredients
One of their most popular seasonings that came out a few years ago is their “Everything But the Bagel Seasoning” ~ it's so good! If you don't have a TJ's nearby, you can even find it on Amazon and many grocery stores have created their own dupes of this popular seasoning.
4. Check out the Fearless Flyer for fun seasonal products.
Trader Joe's carries a ton of fun seasonal products that you can learn about in the Fearless Flyer, but they change often. Be sure to pick up a Fearless Flyer at your local Trader Joe's or check it out online before heading out to get an idea of the products you may find during your next visit.
The Flyer abounds with product stories that are at times fascinating and amusing. Beyond the intrigue and chuckles, our ultimate goal is to keep you well-informed about our products so that you can easily find what you want next time you stop in to shop. The Fearless Flyer is available (always free and worth every penny) at intervals throughout the year. Occasionally, we even mail it. If you want it delivered to your inbox or doorstep (on those occasions), we encourage you to complete our Subscription Form.
A few seasonal products right now are Sparkling Black Tea with Peach Juice, Strawberry & Vanilla Flavored Yogurt Pretzels, Dill Pickle Mustard, and Chili Lime Mayonnaise. YUM!
5. Be careful with produce pricing.
The produce is plentiful and very affordable – but, watch out for those bananas! I got excited when I first saw the 19¢ sign and assumed “per pound” – but really it's per banana. 🙂 Considering that the average banana weighs around 1/4-pound, this makes the cost about 75¢ per pound, which is a lot higher than the 49¢ price per pound that you can get at almost all grocery stores!
Also, here are a few other produce prices that seemed high to me??
Pineapple – $2.99/each
Broccoli Florets – $2.49/bag
Cauliflower Florets – $2.60/bag
Cauliflower – $2.99/head
Peppers – $0.89-$1.19/each
6. Trader Joe's flowers are a steal.
Whenever you step inside the store, you'll notice their nice selection of flower bouquets and plants ~ and the prices are insanely affordable (starting at just $3.99!). The quality is fantastic, too!
When you compare their prices with other stores like Costco, Aldi, Kroger, or Whole Foods, Trader Joe's has some of the most affordable flowers on the market. (And when it comes to a dozen roses for only $7.99 or less, Trader Joe's handily beat the competition. So go ahead and treat yourself!)
7. Try (almost) anything before you buy it!
Trader Joe's lets you sample just about anything in their store – just be sure to ask an employee! So if you're wondering if you'll like those Purple Yam cookies, don't hesitate to try before you buy.
There are a few exclusions though:
- Things you have to prepare (like cake mix or pasta)
- Liquor (but wine is allowed)
- Frozen Items (Except ice cream)
If you don't buy it, it will likely be offered for other customers to try at the sampling station – so you don't have to worry about it going to waste.
8. Don't skip past the Wine section.
If you're a wine drinker, Trader Joe's has a nice selection of budget-friendly (don't let the price tag fool you!) and award-winning wines. Their most popular option is the Charles Shaw “Two Buck Chuck” which sells for $1.99-$2.99 per bottle or $3.99 for the version made with organic grapes.
9. Note Trader Joe's money back guarantee.
Trader Joe's has s very liberal return policy on anything that goes bad, or just isn't to your liking. Since they're known for having fun and unique grocery items, this is a great policy to have to get folks to try new things! Here's what it says on their website:
We taste everything before we put our name on it and offer only what we feel is extraordinary. If you don't, bring it back for a refund or exchange.
There ya go! What are some things you love/hate about Trader Joe's? Have you learned any tips while shopping there? I'd love to hear your tricks – leave a comment to share!
Trader Joe's Near Me
There are over 530 Trader Joe's stores in the U.S. (they even beat the number of Whole Foods with 500 locations!). To see the Trader Joe's locations nearest you, head on over here and enter your zip code.
What are Trader Joe's Hours?
While most store hours are generally 8am to 9pm every day, there are some exceptions. The quickest way to verify the hours of your local Trader Joe’s is to visit their Stores page here and look for the hours under your store listing. You can also view a list of store locations by city & state.
Is there Trader Joe's Delivery?
Unfortunately, they don't offer curbside pickup or delivery at this time. They also don’t sell any products online (gift cards included 🙁 ), only in their brick-and-mortar stores.
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