Trader Joe’s hacks you need in your life

If you’re a longtime Trader Joe’s fan, your trip to the store will get even better once you find out about these behind-the-scenes perks of shopping at the popular supermarket. With high-quality products, it’s not hard to see why Trader Joe’s has such a cult following of shoppers. Between its massive selection of specialty items and second-to-none customer service, the grocery store chain keeps its customers coming back for more.

Even the size of the store is on purpose, with president Jon Basalone sharing, “We want our stores to be small and intimate, [to] feel like a neighborhood store. Maybe you bump into somebody or a crew member and can talk about what you’re buying or products or what’s going on in your lives, that sort of thing” (via CookingLight). The store is supposed to feel warm and inviting to all who enter, making your shopping experience a curated one. So, when you’re bumping into someone in the aisles, know that this effect is on purpose. 

If you’re looking for a more spacious trip to the grocery store, avoid busy times like just after working hours, Sundays, and Mondays (via The EveryMom). If you want more elbow room while you peruse, try shopping mid-week, between Tuesday and Thursday. 

Bringing your own bags to Trader Joe's has its perks

In an effort to curb waste, Trader Joe’s officially banned single-use plastic bags in 2019 and now rewards people for bringing their own reusable varieties (via RecyclingToday). Plus, you save yourself from the clunky, spill-prone paper bags.

Beyond the benefits of helping the environment, bringing your own reusable shopping bags packs an added perk. If you bring your own bags, you can enter the $25 gift card raffle that the store holds weekly. Simply head to the register and ask for a ticket when you check out to enter (via The EveryMom). You never know, that $25 could get you a lot of extra pumpkin ice cream during your next trip to TJ’s!

Plus, the store sometimes holds contests in which you can win different prizes like a Trader Joe’s bag filled with treats. Keep your eye out for their next round of contests to win (via Business Insider).

Take advantage of Trader Joe's generous return and sample policies

You might already know that you can sample basically anything within a Trader Joe’s store. According to Business Insider, you can ask a store employee to try any of the products on the shelves and they will be happy to help you test it out. But, obviously, this goes for products within reason — don’t come into the store and ask the employees to whip up some cooked pork chops. Think of items that you can open and try — these are the ones to start with. 

If you head home with an item, only to find that it’s not what you wanted, you can bring that back for a full return. Even without a receipt, you can bring products back that weren’t what you expected (via The EveryMom). In case you need even more proof of their excellent customer service, you can shop towards the end of the night to get the best free samples and see for yourself.

Check the Trader Joe's newspaper for more deals

If you’re looking to reduce your time spent traversing the aisles of the store, you can check out the Fearless Flyer, Trader Joe’s newspaper. This is where you can find various deals throughout the store as well as seasonal products, creative articles, and more. You’ll get a first-look into featured products and hidden gems that you can take advantage of during your next shopping trip (via The EveryMom).

When you get the newspaper sent to your house – or you can pick it up in-store – you can splurge on the deals you might not have known about. For instance, head to the frozen food aisle to get high-end brands like Amy’s for less (via The EveryMom). Pick up appetizers, pizza crust, vegetable dishes, and more to stock your freezer with healthy, affordable options. Trader Joe’s brand pantry staples like rice, quinoa, and pasta generally sell for less than you would find at other stores, so keep an eye out for deals and keep your pantry loaded with goodies.

Check out other ways to save at Trader Joe's, like coupons

Since affordability is a bottom line for Trader Joe’s and they sell their items for as little as possible, it makes sense that they don’t offer tons of sales or discounts on their products. But, if you’re buying items from brands other than the store’s, they typically accept their coupons. Think of brands like Puffins, Amy’s, and Kashi — if you find a coupon for these brands, you can bring them with you to the register for an added deal (via The EveryMom).

Plus, if you’re looking for a steal on alcohol, you likely won’t even need a coupon. Trader Joe’s has some of the best prices for store-brand alcohol — you can get great wines for under $20 (via Business Insider). Your next wine night can save you some major cash with TJ’s cheap wine selection!

Need a Trader Joe’s closer to home? You can even request that a store come to your hometown — they have an online form you can fill out where you can share your desire for a new store. You never know, you could make TJ’s even more convenient for yourself.

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