Who doesn’t want to save money? And when it’s at one of your favorite grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, it’s even more reason to take advantage of all the deals that you’ll find while you’re there. The savviest shoppers know they can save hundreds of dollars just by shopping like they usually would, thanks to Trader Joe’s own commitment to meeting their needs.
Trader Joe’s is a grocery chain that has more than 540 stores across neighborhoods in 42 states and D.C. The grocery chain is well-known for low prices, great deals, and a revolving selection of new items. They also have customer favorites and notoriously popular items like Speculoos Cookie Butter, peanut butter pretzels, and their cauliflower gnocchi. People love Trader Joe's and when it's your local store, saving money is a priority.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to save on your grocery bill when you can’t get enough of your local Trader Joe’s.
Follow the Fearless Flyer
The Fearless Flyer is TJ’s in-store newsletter that keeps customers informed. While it’s not intended for coupons or discounts like some store flyers, it does provide valuable information. You’ll also occasionally find highlighted deals on certain items, so pay attention when you get the latest edition.
You can also check out the flyer on the website and even build a shopping list to stay on track once you get to the store. Trader Joe’s is already notoriously helpful to their customers, and this is just one more great resource to save time, effort, and cold hard cash when it comes to groceries.
Know What to Buy and When to Shop
TJ’s is a neighborhood grocery store with a revolving inventory. They have a selection of staples, and then they have key items and seasonal specials that are only available for a limited time. Trader Joe’s shoppers will tell you that the store is already cheaper with its private label brands for many things, and the deals only get better with limited items and time-sensitive specials.
Not only that, but you will have more time and space to shop carefully if you go during the off hours. Avoid weekends, evenings around 5 or 6 PM, and other high-traffic times at all costs. According to former employees, it’s best to go on Tuesday or Wednesday, but that could vary depending on your location. A quieter store means more time to scope and score the best deals.
Bring Your Own Bags
In case you haven’t amassed your own collection of reusable bags in the back of your car by now like most of us, it’s a good time to start. If you’re spending more than $25 at Trader Joe’s (and who isn’t, most of the time?), you can bring your own bag (or bags) and be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. So, not only are you helping the environment and reducing your impact but you could also get free money to spend on your next Trader Joe’s trip.
These days, it’s a good idea to bring your own bags with you anywhere you shop—again, it reduces your impact and it can save a lot of money. Some stores are even starting to charge for bags, so it’s best to be prepared.
Look for Dupes
Dupes, or duplicates of more expensive items, are a great way to save at Trader Joe’s (and any store, for that matter). If you’re looking for items that you usually skip because of their costs, like nuts, pure maple syrup, or high-end spices and herbs, there’s a chance that you might find some great dupes on TJ’s shelves.
Supposedly, they’ve even got a dupe for some of the most popular name-brand moisturizers if you head to the beauty section! Just compare prices so you're not overpaying for a copycat.
Ask to Try Before You Buy
This is another insider secret that can save you some time and money. Even if items aren’t being sampled, you can usually try them out at the store. Just find a Trader Joe's employee and use your best manners to ask them if they can open whatever it is so that you can get an idea of what you’re getting. Along with the next tip, this is how Trader Joe’s continues to take care of their customers.
And speaking of trying things, if you go ahead and make a purchase but end up hating what you buy, TJ’s has an impressive return policy. You should rarely have to keep anything you’re not going to use—they offer a full refund on most items.
Trader Joe’s insiders know that calling ahead is valuable—and welcomed by the staff. If there’s a hot item or seasonal deal you’re trying to find, make sure to call your local Trader Joe’s before you go. That way, if they’re out of stock, you’ll save the trip (and the cash you’d likely spend on other things once you’re there).
This is also helpful because local stores might carry different items or have different seasonal stock, so what’s available at one store might not be available across the country.
Stick to the List
It can be all but impossible to stick to your shopping list at a store like Trader Joe’s. However, avoiding impulse purchases is the best way to save money on any shopping trip. Impulse buys are usually items that you don’t need but that are conveniently placed to catch your eye. They may or may not have a low price—and that may determine whether or not you give in to the impulse.
Take advantage of the online shopping list tool so that you can prepare in advance. Then, go into the store with blinders on, so to speak, and find the items on your list, nothing less or more. It’s a hard feat to accomplish, but when you do, you’ll feel good about it. And you might be surprised at just how much you save when you only buy what you came for.
You can't use coupons on Trader Joe's products, but they will accept manufacturer coupons for branded items from other companies. For example, if you find a name-brand salad dressing or frozen pizza in the store, you could use a coupon to save on your purchase. This one isn’t as easy as it is at other grocery stores since Trader Joe’s is big on private labeling their products, but it can be done.
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You can even use that cash back that you earn towards your next Trader Joe’s visit, giving you a bit more room in the budget! Download Comrade and start saving (and earning) today!