A Peek Inside My Grocery Bag: Getting Cheap Groceries at Trader Joe’s

Getting the best deals at Trader Joe's

It should come as no surprise that Trader Joe’s is a great place to get deals on groceries. But as with most grocery stores, some deals are better than others.

When I shop at Trader Joe’s, I have my go-to items that I buy all the time. However, I like to treat myself to one new food product per grocery trip. By doing so, I’ve discovered some of my favorite products: Naan bread, potstickers, and tomato and roasted red pepper soup, just to name a few.

In general, I think Trader Joe’s has great prices. Although I tend to shop around to get great deals on food (see previous post on ALDI and Whole Foods), I usually leave Trader Joe’s with a bag full of groceries.

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite food items from Trader Joe’s, and showing a few sample bags of groceries and what I paid. I would love to hear about your favorite products. Please comment below or share your thoughts on my Facebook page.

Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly items at Trader Joe’s:Getting good deals at Trade Joe's

  • Top left: I often find amazing deals on fruits and vegetables in the produce section. I bought four of these red peppers, chopped them up, and put them in my freezer for future use.
  • Top right: A bag of fresh pizza dough costs just $1.29, good for one large or two medium pizzas.
  • Bottom left: I find TJ’s heavy whipping cream to be much cheaper than other grocery stores. They also sell shelf-stable whipping cream in the pantry section. This is a good item to have on hand for baking emergencies.
  • Bottom right: Coconut oil is all the rage because it’s healthy and versatile. And at Trader Joe’s, it’s also very affordable.


Buying cheese at Trader Joe's

TJ’s is my go-to store for buying certain types of cheese (namely Feta, Brie, and smoked Gouda). If I need a very small amount of cheese for a recipe, I often hit up the grocery store salad bar.

Other Budget-Friendly Finds at Trader Joe’s (Ideas From Readers)

  • Three dollar wine
  • Maple syrup
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cereal
  • Multi-grain pita chips
  • Blueberry goat cheese logs
  • Jarred and fresh salsas
  • Frozen langoustines
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Boxed soups
  • Olive oil

Trader Joe’s Grocery Bag #1

Buying superfoods at Trader Joe's

This is what I like to call my “superfood grocery bag”, proof that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to eat amazingly healthy food. I didn’t save the receipt for this particular bag of groceries, but it was under $16. And that’s a whole lot of superfoods for $16: Raspberries, beans, seaweed, sweet potatoes, kale, black bean soup.

Trader Joe’s Grocery Bag #2

My grocery bag at Trader Joe's

  • Granola: $2.99
  • Grape tomatoes: $2.49
  • Black beans (organic): $1.19
  • Garbanzo beans (organic): $1.19
  • Farro: $1.79
  • Red pepper: $.69
  • Almond butter: $5.99
  • Peanut butter: $2.79

Total cost for groceries pictured above: $19.12

Trader Joe’s Grocery Bag #3

Trader Joe's grocery bag

  • Coconut oil: $5.99
  • Strawberries (organic): $2.99
  • Almond milk: $1.99
  • Broccoli slaw: $1.99
  • Bananas: $.76
  • Feta cheese: $2.79

Total cost for groceries pictured above: $16.51


One of my favorite things about Trader Joe’s is that they’re always featuring new and interesting food items. And because of their affordable prices, it’s fun to try new products without worrying about cost. When in doubt, I ask employees for recommendations. They’re usually pretty honest. By the way: during your next trip to Trader Joe’s, don’t forget to stop by the sample station to try some of their featured foods.

Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite budget grocery picks at Trader Joe’s? Please share your ideas below!

14 Responses to “A Peek Inside My Grocery Bag: Getting Cheap Groceries at Trader Joe’s”

  1. 1

    dawn — October 9, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s!!! No where else I know of w/ almond butter at that price…it’s usually $8 or $9…the coconut oil price is good too…& it has a nicer taste than what I used to buy (spectrum)…thanks for sharing:)

  2. 2

    christine — October 9, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

    in addition to the pizza dough, i always keep a jar of their sauce on hand ($1.29) and a 16 oz bag of mozzarella ($4, way cheaper than in a grocery store and without the weird powdery crap on it!). So for less than $3, I can whip up a pizza with whatever toppings I happen to have on hand. Other favorites are the potstickers (less than $3 a bag, and usually 3 small meals for me) and a lot of their frozen lunches to keep in the freezer at work. Their bell peppers are about $1 EACH less than at any grocery store nearby, so I can save a ton of money on those! Their yogurt selection is also awesome and pretty cheap. If you have pets, both of mine love the cat/dog food and treats and stuff, and it’s pretty good and inexpensive! Their mint shampoo for $4 is great as well. I’m addicted, as you can see!

    • Haley replied: — October 9th, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

      Great idea, having pizza ingredients ready to go for a cheap meal. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    Vivian — October 10, 2013 @ 2:42 am

    Just curious, what do you do with the roasted seaweed? I’ve seen multi-packs at Costco but there must be something else to do with it than just wolf it down dry or sprinkle it on Asian salads.

    • Haley replied: — October 10th, 2013 @ 4:01 am

      I actually just eat it as a snack. It’s pretty tasty, and a whole bag has like 90 calories or something like that.

  4. 4

    Troy — October 10, 2013 @ 4:53 am

    I find that the local vons down here in SoCal has beans at a lower price (around 89 cents)

  5. 5

    Karen Harris — October 10, 2013 @ 11:30 pm

    They are building our TJ’s as I type. I’m sure I’ll be able to get through the crowds in about a year, but once I do watch out! I love their cheeses, wine and little rice crackers. I can’t wait!!!

    • Haley replied: — October 10th, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

      Great news! The one close to my house has the most horrible parking in the history of parking… but I still go all the time!

  6. 6

    Emily aka The Three Bite Rule — October 12, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s! I was just thinking I should go tomorrow. Their frozen turkey meatballs are my favorite! I also often buy their shelled or unshelled frozen edemame and I can’t say I pass the wine without grabbing some!

  7. 7

    Weekend Wandering | What I Loved This Week | Living Well Spending Less — October 13, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    […] also loved reading these tips for scoring the best Trader Joes Deals from Cheap Recipe Blog.  When I lived in Seattle Trader Joe’s was my favorite place to shop; […]

  8. 8

    a — October 15, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

    […] Girl {Storing Apples} 3. Taylor-Made Ranch {Stretching your Grocery Dollars} 4. Cheap Recipe Blog {The Best Deals at Trader Joes} 5. Early Bird Mom {How to Get your Kids to Clean Their Room; Printable Checklist} 6. Snail Pace […]

  9. 9

    Chaney — October 15, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    I love Trader Joes too! My very favorite wine and cheese combo come from there (Floriana Gruner Veltliner and Unexpected Cheddar), and I always pick up a bag or two of Edamame (super cheap!) for a healthy snack.

  10. 10

    HeatherB — October 20, 2013 @ 1:45 am

    Cannot beat the price or taste of TJ’s Organic Brown Rice Fusili. It’s a staple for our gluten free household 🙂

  11. 11

    Lori — April 29, 2014 @ 3:47 am

    I made a cheesecake that called for Mascarpone cheese, & TJ had it less expensive than the grocery stores…plus I needed two containers…they also provide hard to find ingredients that you just can’t find at regular grocery stores.

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