Thursday, June 30, 2011

Trader Joe's

I spent about an hour today walking through Trader Joe's.

I always stop at the cheese section and just stare - side to side, up and down, back and forth. So many cheeses. And, only about 80 years of life, on average, to try them all.

I'm in a deep, deep love affair with cheese.


Today, I had a hankering for brie and sliced grapes on water crackers - one of my favorite snacks. And, I LOVE the brie at Trader Joe's. And, it's so reasonably priced. A large chunk costs about $3.50. And, it's worth every one of those 350 pennies.

Here is the thing I always ask myself when mulling about about Trader Joe's: What should I be buying here?

The produce always looks amazing. But, some of it is outrageously priced. $.30/one banana. Um, no. BUT, some of it is really reasonable - same price as the "regular" grocery store.

The meat seems way overpriced (meaning: more than I usually spend). I buy all of my meat at BJ's because I love buying in bulk and because we consume an insane amount of meat throughout the month.

Cereal? Again, some of it is reasonable (love the granola I had at my sister's house), but others? Way overpriced for our family's budget.

So, other than blocks of brie, boxes of $.99 water crackers, grapes (for my brie because it's convenient), TJ's Chai Latte Mix (YUM!), and the occasional bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels, I hardly buy anything at Trader Joe's.

But, I know there are good deals to be had there. And, I know some of their stuff is totally worth splurging on.

SO - I'm asking you: If you shop at Trader Joe's, what do you buy there? What are your favorite products? Do you splurge on some things at TJ's because they're just better quality - and they really do taste better?

I'd love your thoughts!


  1. Well its just me I am buying for so some things might not make sense for a family but.... love the frozen boxes of brown and jasmine rice. Three bags in a box and it only take three minutes in the microwave. Buckaneer Joes white cheddar puffs, $1.99 a bag, lovelovelove. I am gluten free so their stores rocks for that. I am surprised at the banana price, I always get mine there because the per pound price is the lowest anywhere (regular not organic). Mint chocolate chip ice cream, one of the best ever. And of course, its goes without saying, two buck chuck. The key to Trader Joes is seeking out the deals- sign up for their news letter. I am on a super strict budget and its once of my go to stores.

  2. I agree about the prices, and we are not necessarily a "super organic" family.... but things I find are cheaper/evenly priced include:

    Ready made pizza dough (.99 each, find by dairy case) Available in whole wheat, and herb! I use it for pizza and strombolis. It's freezer friendly too!

    Joe's O's (Cheerios). Super cheap for a huge box, great for instant snack/cereal breakfasts.

    Strawberry preserves. No sugar added and better/same price as grocery store.

    Pirates Booty. Yummy white cheddar puffs, I end up eating half myself but it's a good snack. I have found it's cheaper at TJ's than the grocery store.

    Two Buck Chuck. Charles Shaw wine, great for cooking and it's only $3 a bottle (inflation from when it was lovingly termed two buck chuck).

    Canned chicken. (by the tuna) Good for instant chicken salad on crackers/sandwiches, and it's fresh and around $3 for a large can (cheaper than grocery store)

    Hope this helps!

  3. I LOVE to talk about TJ's! I've found that I actually save a lot of money shopping there, and I've hardly gone anywhere else in the past couple of years ( I get my meat and some other random products elsewhere). The prices for artisan cheese, snack foods, breads, oils and vinegars can't be beat.
    My family loves the kettle corn, coffee ice cream, edamame hummus, sparkling french berry lemonade, guacamole kits, Joe's O's cereal, and have you tried the Stilton and apricot cheese?! I could go on and on....:)

    I guess if I was a couponer I could save more money shopping at a major grocery store, but I just love everything about Trader Joes. Except the salad greens-- they spoil quickly:)

  4. LOVE Trader Joe's - the only problem is that it's 45 minutes away. But, we still go once a month or so to stock up on some healthier snacks and some frozen foods. We never leave without Pirate's Booty (because I can seriously eat a bag in 2 or 3 days), dark chocolate pretzel chips (not essential, but my favorite), and their frozen roasted corn (Which sounds weird, but it's as close as you can get when you can't grill year round - I put it in everything). I've found a lot of it is expensive, but I feel better about eating it. Their meats are expensive, but sometimes they have good deals.

  5. I love their coffee but now have a Keurig so only use it for company!

    Also love...
    Orange chicken
    "Kind" bars {coconut}
    Frozen Rice so easy and delish
    Black Licorice
    Wasabi peas {sooo yummy}
    Rice Cakes

    Those are the things that stand out the most ! Glad you had fun shopping and your snack sounds amazing

  6. Our TJ's is two hours away. : ( Here is what I have tried and loved so far:
    Frozen rice
    Raspberry preserves
    Greek yogurt (TJ brand)
    Sweet potato chips
    Chocolate bars
    White cheddar puffs
    Almond butter

    Also check out this post:


  7. I love Trader Joes! To be honest, I am surprised that you think it's expensive because I find it extremely reasonable compared to other all natural food stores. Perhaps when you compare organic/all-natural food to conventional food, there is the big difference. However, Trader Joes is definitely better priced then Whole Foods. Those Trader Joes "oreo" cookies are amazing and I love all of their crackers. My kids love the Organic Peanut Butter filled crackers. They can eat a whole box in one sitting if I let them.

    They have organic strawberries for $2.99 a lb! That is even cheaper then regular pesticide filled strawberries that you buy at Stop and Shop!

  8. i do love me some tj's!

    i'm with you on the meat and produce, however. except for grape tomatoes, which are usually well priced.

    here's what i love, divided into 2 lists:

    seemingly well-priced:
    salsa verde
    olive oil
    soy sauce
    frozen fruit for smoothies - and a bigger selection

    and just good:
    orange chicken
    pot stickers
    cranberry instant oatmeal (eat it every day)
    garlic naan
    oyster crackers
    all manner of indian/chinese/italian sauces that are ready to go
    pumpkin pancake mix

  9. Sunflower butter when my kids were too young for PB, white whole wheat flour, dairy products are usually priced well here in MD, gifts for my hubby's Easter basket, like olive tapenade, and always the Madrigal cheese! If only MD would let T.J.'s have wine we would buy that too!

  10. We don't have a TJ's local to us. I'll have to stop in next time we're in your area.

  11. Love TJ's! Just wish there was one closer to where we live (45 min). I find that I like to get a lot of our snack foods there. I stay away from artificial ingredients as much as possible, and it is really difficult to do that with snack foods. There snacks (crackers, pretzels, popcorn, etc) are pretty cheap for good ingredients. I also think their cereal bars and granola bars are cheaper than regular grocery stores, and have better ingredients, too! And yes, some of their cereals are expensive, but some are cheaper. have fun :)

  12. salsa Verde, cumin, cinnamon, cheeses of all kinds, dark chocolate, crackers, and occasionally flowers.

  13. I have never shopped at Trader Joes. But then I live in rural America where shops are few and far between and quality gotta keep your eyes open. However on the plus side I have learned to make so many things from scratch from basic ingredients.
    As for cheese I keep a small herd of goats for our milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream and some of our cheese needs.

  14. I always buy my nuts at TJ. They are actually cheaper than even WalMart and always fresh. I stock up in the fall for holiday baking. Their granola is priced right and so good - try the pecan! I also like their juices - Dixie peach and blueberry are favorites. A little pricey but a little goes a long way.

  15. Their organic yogurt is cheaper than the brands at the regular grocery stores. Organic whole wheat pasta is also way cheaper there than at other stores.
    My 3 year old LOVES the snap-pea crisps (near the chips), I'm not sure how the price compares, but since green peas are the first ingredient I call it a veggie and let him eat them for lunch!
    Avocados used to be a great deal there, but it seems like they have gotten more expensive...maybe they've gotten more expensive everywhere?
    Their frozen waffles and cereal bars are also quite cheap compared to others.

  16. I buy their edamame hummus, blue cheese roasted pecan dip, almond butter, frozen jasmine rice, steel cut oatmeal, frozen salmon, shrimp and scallops (I think they are much better quality and better prices than regular grocery store), greek yogurt, fresh flowers, and I love their frozen berry slection. It is so much fun to browse TJ's. And I love that cheese case, too!