Secrets to Saving Time and Money at Trader Joe’s

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning!

You guys know how much I love Trader Joe’s, right? Of course, you do. I’m also a big fan of scoring deals and doing things efficiently, so when Remy from Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes reached out about sharing her “secrets” to saving time and money at Trader Joe’s, I was ALLLLL about it. I love stuff like this, and she had so many awesome ideas, many of which were news to me! 🙂 So, without further ado, here’s Remy!


I’ll be upfront with you: Trader Joe’s is a bit of an obsession of mine. The prices can’t be beat and it’s my go-to spot for a ton of kitchen (and bathroom) essentials. There are countless great deals and the store is always introducing new products to keep things fresh. Every Trader Joe’s is independently owned/operated and they treat their workers extremely well, which I love to support. However, most people, even the ones that have been shopping there for years, overlook some of the best things about this unique and refreshing supermarket. Today, I set out to shed some light on the best TJ’s tips and tricks!

Trader Joes Coupon Matches

While TJ’s doesn’t offer any of their own coupons, most people don’t know that they will match coupons from competitors for any brand name products that they sell. This blog also compiles some of the best weekly deals and where to score the coupons online.

The Frozen Meals are one of the Best Deals in the Store

Dollar for dollar, the ready-made frozen meals found in the freezer section are consistently one of the best deals in the store. Not only are the extremely convenient to have on hand for a quick dinner, but even non-Trader Joe’s brands can be significantly cheaper. For example, in my experience, the Amy’s brand of frozen food is usually about $2 cheaper than anywhere else.

Bring Your Own Bag and Enter the Secret Raffle

Another little known fact that most people are surprised to learn is that there is a raffle held weekly for those that opt to bring their own re-usable bag into the store. All you have to do is spend $25 to be eligible to fill out one of the raffle tickets at check out. If you win, you score a $25 TJ’s gift card!

Extreme Gift-Carding

If you are truly trying to save every last penny, consider buying pre-paid TJ gift cards online ahead of time online. They aren’t always in stock, but when they are these can save you a few bucks.

Know When to Shop

As far as the low pricing goes, it doesn’t change from day to day, so going during the low times is going to save you the headache of standing in line (and trying to get a parking spot in the notoriously congested lots). Steer clear of early evening in Sunday and any weekday when everyone is getting off or work and you should be fine.

Trader Joe’s might not be the Best Place For Produce

As much as I love the store, it’s not the best for everything. One of the problems with much of the produce you find there is that it comes pre-packaged, which means it’s not as fresh as you can find it. It also limits you to just picking up one of something when that’s all you need.

Be Sure to Snag Some Wine

Most people know that “2 Buck Chuck” is a great deal, but any list about Trader Joe’s simply wouldn’t be complete without it. It’s made by an offshoot of the famous Franzia family and available only at TJ’s.

Keep Your Eyes Open for AT LEAST One New Product a Week

The specialty products change with the seasons and the current culinary trends. This keeps every trip new and exciting and you’re always able to discover something novel and delicious. However, this also means that from time to time you have to say goodbye to some of your favorites. If non-seasonal specialty items don’t gain enough traction, TJ’s will pull them from the shelf. If you are looking to stay up to date on what’s new, this blog reviews new Trader Joe’s products in hilarious details.

Anything is Fair Game for Free Samples

Everyone loves the free samples station back by the coffee, but you might not know that anything in the entire store is free game for some sample action. So, if you’re not sure about your next purchase, just ask a team member to open something up for you and they will happily oblige.

You Can Return Anything at Any Time, No Questions Asked

I’ve taken advantage of this more times than I can count and it really is no questions asked. If you’re not happy with one of your purchases for any reason, even if you’ve eaten most of it, they will take it back with zero hassle.

Hopefully you leaned a thing or two and can go forward and save some dollars down the road. While this is far from a complete list about what makes the almighty TJ’s shine in a crowded marketplace, I hope it serves as a good place to start!

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