4 Trader Joe’s Shopping Hacks

Heading out for groceries? Read these shopping hacks if you're on your way to Trader Joe's.

Typically, I dread going to the grocery store. It serves as another chore on my to-do list, and having to sort through the wide variety of distractions make me want to walk out. When I started shopping more frequently at Trader Joe’s, though, I saw it as an opportunity to actually enjoy what could be perceived as a boring task. 

If you are looking to start (or continue) shopping at Trader Joe’s, here are some fun tips for different types of shoppers.

For the adventurous eater: Try something new each time you go.

I spent two years living on a stipend budget, which led to a lot of low-budget grocery shopping. Getting the same staples over and over got old pretty quickly — you can only eat so many varieties of beans, rice, and pasta. After a while, I set aside a small amount of money to spend on one new thing each time I went to the grocery store. Not only did it provide a nice change to my regular meals, but it made going to the grocery store much more entertaining!

With Trader Joe’s experimenting as much as it does, this upped my grocery game — one of my first discoveries was roasted seaweed (don’t knock it until you try it!). The chain always seems to be experimenting and evolving with new food options due to an attentiveness to current trends. Best of all, it provides these healthier options for a good price. 

So don’t be afraid to have fun and try new things! You don’t have to be crazy adventurous to try something new — start with dark chocolate peanut butter cups if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet!

For the one who needs a pick-me-up: Treat yourself to flowers.

Trader Joe’s is not only a place for food — you can get a variety of great things there. Their floral section, for example, is extensive and offers very reasonable prices. Some Trader Joe’s locations even have ways to build your own bouquet.

I have many friends who love to improve the aesthetic of their surroundings. You don’t realize how much a bouquet of flowers brightens up a room until it is actually there. While food can be a fun treat for a friend who may need a mid-week boost, flowers are a unique way to show appreciation for someone you love. 

For someone looking to save: Have a frozen food section party with your friends.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest hacks of Trader Joe’s is their frozen food section. You can find anything — from potstickers to truffle pizza to fried ravioli — for a very reasonable price. At first, I wanted to try everything and was overwhelmed by all of the options. I soon found this as an opportunity for a fun and unique social activity, however..

A few weeks ago, my sister hosted a group of friends with nothing but Trader Joe’s appetizers. This was the perfect way to test which foods to keep on my radar and which ones to skip over (Pro-tip: the potstickers and veggie samosas are shockingly delicious). You could even go potluck- style by having each person bring their favorite Trader Joe’s frozen food item. Not only is it a good conversation starter, but you’ll find yourself with plenty of exciting options.

For an aspiring chef: Find recipe inspiration on their website.

Although the frozen food section doesn’t require much cooking (all you need is the ability to open your microwave), Trader Joe’s also has plenty of ingredients for those who want to expand their cooking skills. They seem to provide products for people of all different skill levels in the kitchen. For example, if you want to try making your own soups, their broths range from basic and introductory stocks to a full-on miso soup.

Not only do they provide products for people of varied experience, but they also give ways to combine their products together. When I started living on my own in college, I didn’t have a lot of experience cooking. I wish I had been more courageous in the kitchen and willing to try new recipes, instead of sticking with my usual Easy Mac. Luckily, Trader Joe’s has served me well as I venture into new territory, and their website has given me great ideas of what I could do. 

Trader Joe’s provides great products at a reasonable price for its quality. Ultimately, what I like about Trader Joe’s is the culture of the organization. I have yet to meet an unfriendly employee, and they are always so eager to help. Not only am I enjoying what I buy, but it makes me feel good knowing I am getting it from a positive source. 

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