Trader Joe's (TJs) gives off the impression that everything you purchase at its stores is a better value than your traditional grocery chain. However, Trader Joe's often acts like a vortex: it sucks you in to products you'd think are cheap, rather than those you actually need. Kinda like the candle section at TJ Maxx, right? If you're looking to save money, here are some of the products you should avoid putting into your cart when you go to Trader Joe's. 

1. Pre-packaged lunch products

It's a known fact that going grocery shopping when you're hungry isn't a good idea, but it's especially not a good idea if you go to Trader Joe's. They offer an array of wraps, sushi, sandwiches, salads, and soups for you to eat on-the-way to your next destination. But there products are often loaded to the brim with sodium and priced for their convenience. You'd get a better value if you purchased the individual components for the meal rather than a pre-made option.

2. Paper products 

It might be tempting to throw a pack of toilet paper or paper towels into your cart when you pass by, but resist the urge at all costs. They're much more expensive per roll than your traditional grocery store. 

3, Frozen berries, veggies, and rice

Although they might be a good addition to your stir fry, they are certainly not a good addition to your TJs shopping list. Everything might seem like a good value at $2.99, but you can purchase the same size portion at your neighborhood grocery store for around $0.99 each. If you're planning on using a lot of frozen ingredients, your traditional grocery store also probably has a greater variety of size options than the "standard" TJs packs. 

4. Overnight oats

You can replicate TJs overnight oats by just adding 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 cup plant milk to a jar. Leave it in the fridge overnight and save yourself around $1.50 per serving.

5. Raw almond butter 

At $7.99 for a 16 oz. jar, you're better off making your own

6. Organic milk

A comparative study by Kiplinger's found that Trader Joe's organic milk was $2.30 more expensive than its competitors. 

7. Most conventional, out-of-season produce

Although it might appear that the pints of blueberries, gleaming gala apples, and zucchini would be perfect on your table, think again. Much of Trader Joe's non-organic produce is priced higher than conventional grocery stores. It's also likely to have sat on the shelves longer than at a traditional grocery store, so you're better off just going to Shaw's or Price Chopper if you need some strawberries. 

8. Organic chicken

This was another suggestion from the Kiplinger's study; TJs organic chicken was priced between $0.50 and $2 more than its competitors. For a better deal. try shopping at Aldi's, Costco, or Walmart instead. 

9. Frozen potato products

Although TJs frozen sweet potato fries are only $0.20 more expensive than Walmart, Walmart has a greater variety and offers larger bags. If you're planning on hosting a large party, experts recommend shopping at a bulk store for your appetizer selection.