If you’ve been in a Trader Joe’s, then you’ve probably noticed a few things — they’re all pretty small, they’re packed with goodies, and they don’t run sales.
Have no fear, there are still some ways you can save money and get free stuff at Trader Joe’s.
1. You can sample any product you want before you buy it.
It’s like a little shopping snack. Just find an employee and ask. They love doing it.
Plus, they have one or two seasonal food samples available daily, along with free tastes of coffee and tea.
TIP: Sample beer and wine (in states that allow it) throughout the week. Mine runs samples every day from 4-6 p.m., making it even more tempting to stop by after work.
2. Bring your own bag to be entered into a $25 raffle!
Some Trader Joe’s offer this pretty awesome incentive to bring your own reusable bags. Basically, you bring your own bag and spend $25.00 or more, and they’ll enter you into a raffle for a $25.00 gift card!
Not all Trader Joe’s offer this deal, so check with your store on their policy.
3. Save cash at Trader Joe’s by using coupons.
TJ’s accepts all manufacturer coupons. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of their products are mainstream brands. But they sell FAGE yogurt at $1.19 each, which is $.10 less than my Kroger. Pair this with a coupon for a really good deal.
4. Don’t panic if you miss the Fearless Flyer — it’s fun, but it won’t save you anything.
Don’t feel like you have to snatch up Trader Joe’s monthly ad before you hit the store. It’s fun to look at and it’ll highlight seasonal merchandise, but it isn’t a sales flyer.
5. They haven’t changed the price of bananas since the 1970s — so naturally, they’re cheaper than anybody else.
Their bananas are $0.19 each and have been for over 30 years. Compare this to about $0.35 apiece at Fred Meyer.
6. You can return any of their products for a full refund — for any reason.
No questions asked. It’s on par with Costco’s generous policy.
7. Shop early on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to avoid crowds.
Trader Joe’s is usually pretty crowded, but according to store employees, the ideal time to go is first thing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Peak times include the weekends and from 5-6 p.m. on weeknights.
8. Save $2.00 by buying Trader Joe’s cereal.
TJ’s brand products are made by well-known manufacturers. This means they cut out the middleman and sell Trader Joe’s O’s for $1.99 instead of Cheerios at $3.99. Same great stuff for half the price.
9. Buy popular snacks at Trader Joe’s and save at least $2.50.
10. Buy Organic milk at Trader Joe’s to save at least $0.50 a half gallon.
TJ’s charges $3.49 for a half gallon of their organic milk, while Walmart charges $3.99 for theirs!
11. Buy fresh produce (but skip the pre-cut stuff) if you want to save money.
You can grab an entire pineapple for under $3.00, or you can buy an 8 oz. container of pre-cut pineapple for $3.49. Save some cash and slice it yourself.
12. Don’t skip the Two-Buck Chuck!
OK, it’s actually called Charles Shaw, but it’s been a cult favorite for years. It’s also closer to $3.00 now, but its ratings are pretty decent.
They have plenty of great bottles of wine under $5.00, so don’t be afraid to branch out!
13. Make sure to grab some cheese to go with the wine.
Their selection of gourmet cheeses is pretty darn good, and the prices are better than most other grocery stores.
An 8 oz. chunk of smoked gouda will set me back at least $8.00 at Fred Meyer, but I can pick one up for under $5.00 at Trader Joe’s. That’s 40% savings!
14. Just skip the shredded and sliced cheeses — they can cost up to 40% more.
15. Save up to 50% on organic frozen broccoli at Trader Joe’s.
Walmart charges $0.24 an ounce for their brand of organic frozen broccoli, but TJ’s only charges $0.12. I mean, obviously I’m buying it at Trader Joe’s.
16. Save up to $7.00 on their (many) fall products.
You can get fall candles for less than $3.00, and you’d pay at least $10.00 for the same size at Bath & Body Works!
17. Pay half the price on Christmas products at Trader Joe’s.
They start rolling out their Christmas goodies in early November, and just like their fall line, you should grab them when you see them because they sell out quickly.
I get my kids chocolate advent calendars there for $0.99 every year, which is half of what I would pay at Kroger.
18. The kids get a free treat while you shop.
Every Trader Joe’s has a stuffed animal hidden somewhere in their stores (it’s moved daily). When your kids find it, they get a free treat!
Keep them occupied and keep your sanity.