I am shameless of my love for Trader Joe’s, and I’m definitely one of those sappy, obnoxious lovers who wants everyone to know how deeply I care for the apple of my eye. My roommates know it, my coworkers know it, my mother knows it– and she’s been suckered into a TJ’s love affair, herself. It’s contagious, people.
Because I’m there at least once a week, even if only to wander the aisles in peace as I procrastinate homework and evade other time commitments, I’ve picked up on some of the best deals the grocery chain has to offer.
This list contains staple items, unique TJ’s products, versatile ingredients and outrageously delicious steals, with the most expensive item clocking in at only $3.99. Oh, and everything is arranged by price. From one cheapskate to another, you’re welcome.
1. Bananas – $0.19
At 19 cents a pop, you can get up to 5 bananas for less than a dollar. Five. Grab some peanut butter and you’ve got breakfasts and/or snacks for the rest of the week.
2. Sparkling Water – $0.79
Sparkling water is my go-to drink because it’s flavorful, it’s fizzy and it’s free of fat and sugar. Plus, it makes me feel fancy. My personal favorite from TJ’s is raspberry lime, but there are some other great flavors to check out as well. Even regular sparkling water with lemon is fantastic.
Snazzy water for less than a buck? It’s beautiful.
3. Greek Style Yogurt – $0.99
I have sworn off all other Greek yogurt brands after tasting these little creamy cups of goodness. TJ’s brand doesn’t have that watery layer on top that you have to mix in, either, which just makes me love it even more.
4. Avocados – $0.99
Guac. Sandwiches. Avocado toast. The Eggocado. The possibilities are quite possibly endless.
I like to get the single avocados, rather than the bag of four or five smaller ones, because I find that they ripen better. And for only 99 cents, I’ve convinced myself that I’m completely justified in buying one or two each week.
5. Luna Bars and Clif Bars – $0.99
If you like energy bars, but they aren’t your waking lifeblood each morning as you rush to class, then this deal is meant for you. It takes time for me to get through a whole box of bars, so instead I toss a couple of the flavors I like into my cart every once in a while. Yet another snack or meal that’s only a dollar.
6. Grapefruit – $0.99
Whether you enjoy it raw and sprinkled with sugar, baked or brûléed, grapefruit is a great fruit to have on hand. What’s even better is that grapefruit boosts your metabolism and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Hello, breakfast.
7. Spaghetti (and other assorted dry pasta) – $0.99
I kid you not: Trader Joe’s 99 cent spaghetti comes straight from Italy and it is literally the best dry pasta I have eaten in my life. It’s toothsome, it’s filling and it doesn’t get gross when you warm it up in the microwave.
I’m really adamant on this one, even though it makes me look stupid for caring way more about pasta texture and quality than a typical human being should. But if you buy nothing else from this list, at least buy this. It will take your quick weekly pasta dinners to a whole new, delectable level. Seriously.
8. Canned Black Beans – $0.99
Did someone say tacos? Or burritos? Or taco salad? Or chili? Black beans are a versatile sample to keep around, and TJ’s offers them at an affordable price. You can get a variety of other beans, refried beans and– get this– even refried black beans for the same price.
9. Pizza Dough Ball – $1.19
Do you ever feel that urge to whip up a pizza for yourself, instead of ordering it online? Trader Joe’s is familiar with the feeling. The store offers plain, whole wheat and garlic and herb options so you can get your dough on for a fraction of the normal cost.
Joe cares about us, guys. He cares.
10. Banana Chips – $1.39
You can eat these plain, you can throw them in your salads, you can use them in homemade trail mix or you can dip them in Nutella. You’re welcome.
11. Pita Bread – $1.39
Like sliced bread, but cooler. And there are very few things cooler than sliced bread.
You can stuff these yummy pockets with meat and cheese, pizza sauce and toppings, scrambled eggs and salsa, hummus and veggies, peanut butter and jelly– heck, you could probably even stuff them with mac and cheese if you really wanted to.
Using pita bread is a great way to update your sandwiches, and with the extra space for stuffing, it’s guaranteed to keep you full all day.
12. Coconut Coffee Creamer – $1.49
Hollaaaaaaa to all those dairy substitute folks. Sometimes, avoiding dairy can get pricey, between all the nut milks and special ice creams.
But fear not! This coffee creamer is dairy free and less than two dollars. And since it’s made with coconut milk, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s rich and creamy.
13. “Inner Peas” Baked Green Pea Snack – $1.49
As a mature, relatively adventurous adult, these are still the only way I can get myself to eat peas. They’re crispy and light, and they don’t make you feel half as guilty for eating them as you do for eating potato chips. These would also make a bangin’ crunchy addition to salads.
14. Dried Cranberries – $1.79
This is another solid staple to have in your pantry. Dried cranberries are delicious in yogurt, oatmeal, cookies, cereal, salads, wraps, and these chocolaty clusters. For $1.79, you have no excuse to not always have these in your kitchen.
15. Frozen Shelled Edamame – $1.79
Edamame is super high in protein, which means it’s a killer snack or meal ingredient. If you need any more convincing, just make this easy Parmesan baked edamame recipe and you’ll be sold.
16. 10 Minute Farro – $1.79
You know about quinoa, no doubt, but have you ever heard of farro? It’s high in protein, calcium and fiber, and, in my humble opinion, it’s quinoa’s tastier older brother. It has much more of a bite to it, and it’s especially flavorful when you boil it in some type of broth, as opposed to water.
Try it in this salad, pack it in your lunches with dressing, or smother it with pesto and call it a meal.
17. Organic Applesauce Cups – $1.99
When has anything organic ever appeared on a list of cheap food items? Trader Joe’s knows my heart, and that is simply all.
18. Sweet Potato Chips – $1.99
In recent years, sweet potato chips have become all the rage, but they can definitely get pricey depending on the brand that you buy. These are probably the least expensive sweet potato chips I’ve seen to date, so take advantage of this price like the reasonable human being you are.
19. Fireworks Chocolate Bar – $1.99
Pop rocks + chocolate = this brilliant candy bar. There’s just one other company I know of that makes pop rock chocolate bars, and it’s so swanky that you pay upwards of three or four dollars for a single bar.
Trader Joe’s has hopped on this explosive chocolate band wagon, and I’m definitely a much bigger fan of their version’s quality and price.
20. Baby Spinach – $1.99
You can literally eat baby spinach in everything: omelettes, sandwiches, salads, soups, pastas, smoothies, you name it. This is one of those green vegetables that’s easy to incorporate into your diet in a ton of ways, so just buy it already.
21. Fresh Rice Noodles – $1.99
Ditch the Chinese takeout and make your own noodle dishes at home. These babies are so easy to prepare, and they taste great mixed with meat and/or veggies. Give it a splash of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, and you’re golden.
22. Buttermilk Pancake Mix – $1.99
Pancakes are bae, and don’t you dare even try to convince me that “waffles are better.” No.
Trader Joe’s recognizes the greatness of the pancake and makes its greatness affordable to all. This is a great item to snag when you have friends visiting for the weekend or when you’re making brunch with your roommates.
23. Pita Chips – $1.99
These pita chips come in a variety of flavors, from cinnamon sugar to multigrain to sea salt. With a price like this, you should probably try them all. Dip the sea salt chips in hummus by day and the cinnamon sugar chips in icing by night.
24. Sriracha Hummus – $1.99
Speaking of hummus, you should totally try this version with a kick, brought to you by the marriage of two of our loves. Somehow, in my heart, I always knew they would end up together.
I just didn’t think it would be this inexpensive. Score.
25. Kale – $1.99
The bags of kale at Trader Joe’s are the largest, most stuffed bags of lettuce I have seen in my 21 years. It might be best to buy this and then share it with your roomies so it doesn’t go to waste.
26. Assorted Organic Chocolate Bars – $1.99
Again, organic and cheap in the same article. And this isn’t just applesauce– it’s chocolate. I don’t know how TJ’s does it. I just hope they keep on doing it.
27. World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs – $1.99
*Cue singing birds and brilliant sunshine*
These little cheddar puffs are delicious and devious. It is wayyyyy too easy to sit down, start munching, and eat half the bag before you realize what you’re doing. #oops
My family is obsessed with this Trader Joe’s product– as in, our cart overflows with bags and bags of puffs each time we go shopping. Do yourself a favor and fall in love with them yourself.
28. Speculoos Cookies – $1.99
The cookie that inspired the cookie butter. ‘Nuf said.
29. Frozen Waffles – $1.99
Yeah, I know, I made a pretty zealous argument for pancake superiority earlier, but frozen waffles (while inferior) are still pretty great. You can get wheat free, mutigrain, Belgian or blueberry, all for the same price.
Drizzle them with syrup or use them to make an epic peanut butter and jelly wafflewich.
30. “This Strawberry Walks Into A Bar” Cereal Bar – $1.99
Cereal bars: the breakfast of college champions. And by champions, I mean college kids who oversleep, eat on the run and still make it to class on time.
These bars come in a variety of flavors, with a special pumpkin option in the fall. Keep these guys hanging around because you never know when you’re going to need those extra ten minutes…
31. Frozen Chicken (or Vegetable) Fried Rice – $2.29
This is an even easier way to enjoy the flavors of Chinese takeout without the delivery fee. TJ’s frozen fried rice takes one step to make, and it’s pretty bomb. I always like to have at least one bag on hand for when the cravings strike.
Not only is it cheap, but it saves you all that money spent on impulse takeout orders, too.
32. 1/2 Dozen Bagels – $2.29
The bagel shop down the street from my apartment sells bagels for one dollar each, with a half dozen costing six dollars (duh). Trader Joe’s sells a half dozen bagels for $2.29.
I’m no math major, but even I can figure this one out.
33. Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Chia and Flax Seeds – $2.99
Oh. my. goodness. This peanut butter. This peanut butter could change you.
If you’re a superfood hater, no, you can’t taste the chia or the flax seeds. It just makes the PB extra crunchy and extra filling. If you’re experiencing doubt, take advice from Shia LeBeouf and DO IT. Trust me (and him).
34. Frozen Chicken or Pork Potstickers – $2.99
It just ain’t a party if these potstickers aren’t there. They’re simple to make and even better to eat. If you’re not feeling the appetizer vibe, or you’re not the party type, throw them in some broth and make won ton soup.
35. Coffee and Garlic BBQ Rub – $2.99
Coffee is my other drink of choice, so naturally I’m willing to try it with almost anything. You may be surprised by how well it works with the garlic in this unique rub, so get hype for grilling season. It’s just the right amount of bold, spicy and sweet.
You can use this on chicken, pork or steak, but I’d wager it would also be incredible on grilled veggie kabobs.
36. Specialty Pastas – $2.99
Ah, stuffed pastas. My weakness. My favorite.
Ok, so here’s the deal: Trader Joe’s refrigerated stuffed pastas are imported and made with fresh ingredients. And I know everyone says it these days, but I mean it (from experience) when I say that you can taste the quality difference that those fresh ingredients make.
Choose from a pretty impressive variety of options, from arugula and Parmesan ravioli, to pesto tortellini, to goat cheese and sundried tomato ravioli (can you say classy?). Again, one package will make about four servings, so another great meal steal.
37. Joe Joe’s Cookies – $2.99
These cookies are Trader Joe’s take on Oreos, so you have to at least give them a shot. Plus, I wanted to include some type of dessert item on this list and these were just begging to be included.
A pack of chocolate sandwich cookies these days can cost four dollars or more, so thank Joe for the lower price by buying a pack next time you’re out.
38. Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – $2.99
My lunch at least three times a week is a hot bowl of roasted red pepper and tomato soup, and I’m typically anti-tomato soup (unless it’s being eaten in conjunction with grilled cheese).
The addition of the roasted red pepper is what makes this soup bomb. It’s somewhat sweet, complex and rich. One container has about three meal’s worth, so $2.99 isn’t too shabby for half a week of lunches.
39. Frozen Pizza Margherita – $3.99
I felt like pizza needed to be represented on this list because who doesn’t love a good pizza deal? And, seriously, where can you find a pizza for under five dollars? Because it’s frozen, you can keep this bad boy in the freezer for those weeks when you don’t have time to go grocery shopping.