Even though Trader Joe’s is known for their low prices on organic produce and private-label packaged foods, they’re one of the only grocery stores that doesn’t offer coupons or discounts. Since we’re always looking to save some money on our grocery trip, we dug in to find the best ways to do it at TJ’s—without sacrificing on the things you love to buy there.
Here, 10 ways to save more money at Trader Joe’s.
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Do: Scan the Fearless Flyer
A new Fearless Flyer is released in stores and online every month. In case you’re not familiar, the Fearless Flyer lists Trader Joe’s latest deals and limited-edition items. If you’re on a budget, it’s definitely worth scanning the pages to see what’s on sale or what seasonal items are in store (translation: your kid’s holiday party snacks just got a lot cheaper.)
Don’t: Buy pre-cut or pre-seasoned veggies
This is par for the course at pretty much every grocery store, but pre-seasoned or pre-cut produce will almost always be more expensive. Although TJ’s has delicious seasoned veggies, you’re better off prepping your produce at home. Another option? Buy frozen! That way, whatever fruit or veggies you don’t use can be sealed in a zip-top bag for next time.
Do: Try the frozen meat
Trader Joe’s frozen meals section is the stuff of dreams, and their frozen meat and fish is no exception. Though we’re big fans of TJ’s pre-marinated meats for time-crunched weeknights, buying frozen will save you some cash. Plus, you could always cook it from frozen in your Instant Pot. To decode the healthiest items in the frozen section, check out our guide here.
Do: Pick up a bottle of wine
Ever heard of “Two-Buck Chuck?” The famously inexpensive wine sold at Trader Joe’s can actually be pretty darn good! Plus, several other varieties are sold for under $10 and perfect for sipping on a budget.
More great articles about Trader Joe’s from Cooking Light:
- I Survived on a Meal Plan of Premade Trader Joe’s Items
- Great News: Trader Joe’s Is Reducing Plastic Waste in a BIG Way
- I Hosted an Entire Baby Shower From Trader Joe’s for About $100
Don’t: Buy household products
We know it’s annoying to make two different grocery store trips, but you’re definitely better off buying household essentials like toilet paper and paper towels in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco.
Do: Opt for TJ’s generic brands
There are whispers that Trader Joe’s generic brands are actually doppelgangers for the real deal. For example, it’s rumored that Annie’s Organic Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese is the same as TJ’s version (just with different packaging). But either way, you can count on the fact that it tastes just as good, and is significantly less expensive.
Don’t: Fall for the impulse buys
From butternut squash “fries” to merlot-infused goat cheese, we love stocking up on the novelty products at Trader Joe’s. But to save your hard-earned cash, try sticking to just one or two “fun” purchases each shopping trip. And if there’s anything you can make yourself for less—like pre-marinated meat or flavored oatmeal—do it.
Do: Stock up on gifts
We’ve talked about this before—but we love TJ’s flowers and greeting cards. If you’re heading to a birthday party, or just need a quick housewarming gift, these two things are always great in a pinch (and on a budget!)
Do: Get creative
Trader Joe’s is known for their affordable frozen foods, so why not take buy a pack and use it throughout the week in multiple ways? For example, grab a pack of frozen meatballs, and eat them on top of pasta, in a sub, or baked into a casserole. Ditto with frozen fish sticks—eat them on their own, in a salad, or crumbled into a fish taco.
Do: Take advantage of TJ’s generous policies
Not sure if you want to commit to a certain product without trying it first? Just ask! Trader Joe’s will provide samples of any product in the store (yep, even frozen foods!) And if you’re not totally in love with your purchase, they have a super generous return policy.
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