Follow These 14 Shopping Hacks at Trader Joe’s To Save Money

Fairfax, USA - November 25, 2016: Trader Joes grocery store facade with sign and items on display and people walking.
ablokhin / Getty Images

Trader Joe’s, with its eclectic array of products and irresistible shopping atmosphere, has become a beloved destination for many budget-conscious shoppers. From unique snacks and gourmet ingredients to affordable staples, Trader Joe’s offers a shopping experience that is both super fun and wallet-friendly. However, with a little insider knowledge and some strategic shopping hacks, you can take your savings to the next level.

Get ready to discover how to optimize your shopping trips, uncover hidden gems and unlock substantial savings at everyone’s favorite neighborhood grocery store. 

Get Those 19-Cent Bananas

According to Trader Joe’s superfan Kirkland Gee, one of the most noteworthy bargains at the popular grocery chain is their renowned 19-cent bananas. At Trader Joe’s, these bananas are sold individually and have maintained the same price point for decades. This steadfast pricing strategy makes Trader Joe’s bananas not only cheaper than those offered by virtually every competitor but also an exceptional choice for budget-conscious shoppers seeking low-cost grocery options. 

Explore the Fearless Flyer

Trader Joe’s releases its iconic monthly publication called the “Fearless Flyer” which highlights featured products, special deals and new releases. Not only is it the most fun to read, it also highlights new products that are both often intriguing and also at deep discounts. Take the time to peruse it before your shopping trip to identify any discounted items or promotions that can help you save money.

Trader Joe’s Private Label Is Where It’s At

Trader Joe’s is renowned for its private-label products, which often provide great value without compromising on quality. Opt for its branded items, from pantry staples to frozen foods, as they are often priced competitively compared to national brands. And, yes, Trader Joe’s does take coupons on brand name items, but because 80% of its products are private label, it eliminates the need to be a hardcore coupon queen or king. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Plan Ahead With a Shopping List

This might seem very “duh,” but it’s consistently the one thing people forget. So, take a list before heading to Trader Joe’s and stick to it. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases that can add up quickly. Planning your meals in advance and creating a corresponding shopping list will ensure you purchase only what you need.

Check the Frozen Aisle

Trader Joe’s superfan Mike Schmidt highlights the frozen section as a veritable treasure trove of budget-friendly options. Within this section, shoppers can uncover a diverse array of frozen fruits, vegetables and premade meals that often come at more affordable prices compared to their fresh counterparts. Despite the lower cost, the frozen items maintain excellent quality, allowing customers to enjoy nutritious and delicious choices that keep both their wallets and stomachs full!

Look For the Yellow Stickers

Trader Joe’s marks down products nearing their expiration date or when they want to clear shelf space. Look for yellow stickers indicating discounted prices and consider incorporating these items into your shopping list, especially for nonperishable goods.

99-Cent Greeting Cards for the Win

The 99-cent greeting cards at Trader Joe’s are an undeniably fantastic deal. They offer a wide selection of beautifully designed cards suitable for various occasions, including birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Other retailers sell greeting cards for upwards of $5, but Trader Joe’s will always cost exactly 99 cents. 

The Return Policy Is Outrageously Good

You can try the interesting-looking seasonal pumpkin cream cheese ravioli without any risk because you can’t beat Trader Joe’s exceptional return policy. And you don’t need to list a reason — you just have to bring it back (new or used!) and say, “No thanks!” It doesn’t matter if you’re dissatisfied with a product, have changed your mind or made a mistake in your purchase, Trader Joe’s accepts returns without unnecessary complications or extensive questioning. The store is a true customer service icon!

Make Your Money Work for You

End Caps Yield Big Rewards

Trader Joe’s strategically places unique or seasonal items on the end caps of its aisles. These displays often feature special deals or limited-time products worth checking out for potential savings or exciting new finds.

Check the ‘Reduced for Quick Sale’ Section

According to passionate Trader Joe’s enthusiast Umair Syed, avid shoppers should keep an eye out for a dedicated section within the store where items nearing their expiration date or slightly damaged goods are conveniently marked down. This section presents an excellent opportunity to uncover fantastic deals on products that remain perfectly usable and delicious, despite their discounted status. 

It Pays To Speak Up

Trader Joe’s values customer feedback and takes product requests seriously. If you have a favorite item from another brand that you wish Trader Joe’s carried, fill out an in-store request form at the customer service desk. If there’s enough demand, the store may consider adding it to its inventory. Also, if you have a favorite inexpensive treat that was discontinued, this is the place to demand — politely! — that it be brought back.

Mix-and-Match Wine Discounts

Trader Joe’s has an extensive wine selection, often at affordable prices. Take advantage of its mix-and-match wine discount, where you can save an additional percentage off the regular price when you purchase six or more bottles, allowing you to stock up on your favorite varietals at a discounted rate.

You Can Try Almost Anything Before You Buy It

One of the exceptional aspects of shopping at Trader Joe’s is its generous sampling policy, which allows customers to sample virtually anything in the store. From new snacks and beverages to unique sauces and spreads, Trader Joe’s encourages exploration and discovery by offering samples to its customers. Whether you’re curious about the taste of a particular product or want to try something before committing to a purchase, the friendly, Hawaiian-shirted crew members are often more than willing to provide you with a sample.

Make Your Money Work for You

Spice Up Your Life (and Save!) With Chai

Enthusiastic Trader Joe’s superfan Kevin Miller reveals that Trader Joe’s provides pocket-friendly alternatives for those who frequently consume caffeine or visit cafes. When it comes to enjoying a delightful spiced Chai, Trader Joe’s offers two cost-effective options. It offers a tin of spiced Chai powder priced at $4, or an equally delicious spiced version in liquid form for under $3. Considering these speciality drinks often cost $6 or more, Miller shares that it’s truly satisfying to have over 10 servings available at home for less than half that price. 

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