If you’ve been in a Trader Joe’s, then you’ve probably noticed a few things — they’re all pretty small (even the parking lots!), are packed with private label goodies, and they don’t run sales. Ever.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money when shopping at TJ’s. Here’s how to save at Trader Joe’s.
Yes, Trader Joe’s accepts manufacturer coupons.
It’s a little known fact that all Trader Joe’s accept manufacturer coupons. Only a small percentage of their products are mainstream brands. For example, 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.
Look for manufacturer coupons on the KCL deals page.
Don’t panic if you miss the Fearless Flyer.
Trader Joe’s does not have a weekly ad. They don’t run sales, and they don’t offer any frequent-shopper discounts. Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer is fun — and full of recipes and seasonal products — but it isn’t a sales flyer.
You can return any of their products for a full refund.
Trader Joe’s return policy mimics Costco’s generous policy: You can return almost anything — with the exception of “oversold” products, i.e. toilet paper circa March 2020 — no questions asked.
Discover more Trader Joe’s hacks.
Save time when you hit TJ’s at the right hour.
TJs can get pretty packed, especially on weekends and around rush hour. Head there in the early morning — or, if you’re a senior, between 8 a.m and 9 a.m. on Tuesdays (TJs current senior hours) — to avoid crowds.
Get their 19-cent bananas.
TJ’s hasn’t changed the price of bananas since the 1970s — so naturally, they’re cheaper than anywhere else. Compare this to about $0.25 to $0.35 a piece at other major supermarkets or $0.65 per pound (a pound is usually about two to three bananas).
Save $2 by buying Trader Joe’s cereal.
TJ’s brand products are made by well-known manufacturers. Trader Joe’s negotiates with the manufacturers to repackage their products under the Trader Joe’s name, and with as many stores as TJs have, they can get rock bottom wholesale prices. That’s why you’ll see Joe’s O’s for $1.99, compared to Cheerios at $3.99. Not saying that Cheerios are Joe’s O’s, but you get the idea. Identical, or comparable products for half the price.
Buy popular snacks at Trader Joe’s and save at least $2.50.
Trader Joe’s seaweed snacks are hugely popular and super cheap. They run a package of six organic seaweed snacks for $3.49. I can buy a single pack at Fred Meyer for $1. That’s a huge savings!
Buy fresh produce (but skip the pre-cut stuff) if you want to save money.
You can grab an entire pineapple for under $3, or you can buy an eight-ounce container of pre-cut pineapple for $3.49. Save some cash and slice it yourself.
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 now, but its ratings are pretty decent.
They have plenty of great bottles of wine under $5, so don’t be afraid to branch out!
Make sure to grab some cheese to go with the wine.
Their selection of gourmet cheese is pretty darn good, and the prices are better than most other grocery stores.
An eight-ounce chunk of smoked gouda will set me back at least $8 at Fred Meyer and $9 at Safeway, but I can pick one a half-pound of Dutch smoked gouda cheese for just $2.99 at Trader Joe’s. That’s insane savings.
Just skip the shredded and sliced cheeses — they can cost up to 40% more.
The prices on these are always high compared to other stores. A bag of shredded mozzarella is almost $4 at TJ’s, while Kroger regularly runs them for $2.50 or less a bag.
Save up to 50% on organic frozen broccoli at Trader Joe’s.
Walmart charges $0.22 an ounce for their brand of organic frozen broccoli, but TJ’s only charges $0.17. I mean, obviously I’m buying it at Trader Joe’s.
Save money when you buy seasonal fall products at Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s has some pretty epic seasonal products — both edible and decorative. Take fall, for example: I’ve personally tried most of their 100+ pumpkin products, and I am here to tell you that they are brilliant. I’ll also tell you that they go FAST, so stock up when they hit shelves in September.
You can get fall candles for less than $3, and you’d pay at least $10 for the same size at Bath & Body Works!
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.