Stephanie Nelson | 

7 Best and 7 Worst Foods to Buy at Trader Joe's

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Ever walk into Trader Joe’s and wonder how the food prices compare to Walmart or Costco? Me too, so I did some digging.

While there are some instances where Trader Joe’s wins on price, other times, you’re better off going to Costco or Walmart.

The results were mixed; sometimes Trader Joe’s items win on price and other times Costco or Walmart wins.

To that end, here are 7 items you should buy at Trader Joe’s, followed by 7 items you most certainly should never buy there. And be sure to find out what every shopper should know about Trader Joe’s.


Here’s what you should buy:

1. Save 48% on organic frozen broccoli at Trader Joe’s.

It surprised me to find Trader Joe’s organic frozen broccoli at a lower price than Walmart’s Great Value brand, but numbers don’t lie.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.12/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.23/oz.


2. Buy organic milk at Trader Joe’s and save almost $0.50 per half gallon.

Since there aren’t many coupons for milk — especially organic milk— I take milk savings wherever I can get them.

Plus you can learn a lot about your milk when you read about what milk manufacturers don’t want you to know.

  • Trader Joe’s: $3.49/half gallon
  • Walmart: $3.92/half gallon


3. Pocket a couple cents per banana when you buy at Trader Joe’s.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.19 each
  • Walmart: $0.21 each



4. Save 33% on unsalted peanut butter at Trader Joe’s.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.12/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.18/oz.


5. Buy coconut milk at Trader Joe’s and you’ll pay less and get organic.

Not only is it cheaper, but it’s organic. It’s pretty uncommon to find organic items for less money than their non-organic counterparts.

  • Trader Joe’s (organic): $0.10/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.13/oz.


6. Pay less for wine at Trader Joe’s than you would at Costco.

This is for “two-buck chuck” at Trader Joe’s, which, even after its recent price increase to $2.99, is still cheaper than Kirkland Signature wine..

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.12/oz.
  • Costco: $0.15/oz.



7. Buy organic chicken stock at Trader Joe’s and skip the sugar.

While the numbers say this is a tie, I’m going with Trader Joe’s because it has no added sugar.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.07/oz.
  • Costco: $0.07/oz.


Here’s what you should not buy:

1. Don’t buy avocados at Trader Joe’s — Walmart sells them for almost a dollar cheaper.

  • Trader Joe’s: $1.69 each
  • Walmart: $0.98 each


2. Pay less than half the Trader Joe’s price for turkey bacon by buying at Walmart instead.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.44/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.18/oz.


3. Stick to Costco for maple syrup — they still have the best price.

Years ago we found out that Costco’s prices on pure maple syrup cannot be beat. It’s still true.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.50/oz.
  • Costco: $0.39/oz.


4. Don’t buy pink Himalayan salt at Trader Joe’s; buy it in bulk at Costco and save.

Bulk pricing isn’t always the best option, but then again, sometimes it is.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.44/oz.
  • Costco: $0.31/oz.



5. Save a few cents per ounce when you buy frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Walmart instead of Trader Joe’s.

Costco also has great prices on frozen chicken breasts. Basically, get them anywhere but Trader Joe’s.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.17/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.13/lb.


6. Get your organic yogurt at Walmart and save a couple cents per ounce.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.12/oz.
  • Walmart: $0.10/oz.


7. Don’t buy store-brand K-Cups at Trader Joe’s; buy them at Costco and save at least $5 per month.

This gets even better if you’re a coffee addict.

You’ll save at least $5 per month if you’re drinking two cups a day. Drink more than that? You can do the math, but it’ll only make Costco a better deal for you.

  • Trader Joe’s: $0.42
  • Costco: $0.36 each


UP NEXT: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Costco (and Where to Buy Them Instead)


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