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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All

For those of you w/ a TJ you go there often? What sorts or items do you buy and do you save $$$ there compared to say Whole Foods or other type of grocery store?

We have a Giant Eagle, Whole Foods and a Trader Joes within walking distance (we'll..its quite the hike, but nothing major) or a short bus ride away...

I went to TJ a few days ago and was surprised at how much cheaper alot of the stuff was compared to WF!!!

I'm curious whatcha all think about TJ?

Umm Ibi

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8,810 Posts
I usually go to WF because it's closer, and I like their meat and fruit and veggies better. And their cheese. But I do go to TJ's to stock up on whole wheat english muffins, frozen lamb chops, lime popsicles, coffee, organic milk, eggs, dog treats, chicken stock, nuts and dried fruit, soap and toothpaste, frozen veggies.

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1,421 Posts
I love TJ. Ours is about 1/2 hour drive away so I try just to go once a month. I actually order a case of tofu ($.99 each!) and cases of cat food a couple of days before I go. They are very nice about it and even help me get everything out to the car. I made up a "master list" of everything that I buy at TJ so I won't forget anything. We have a diet that is mostly organic and the organic products that they carry are at a good price. I also use their household products like dishwasher soap and laundry soap, etc. In the winter we eat lots of TJs organic frozen vegetables and I also buy their fresh produce. In the winter I might go every two weeks because their produce prices are better than local supermarkets.

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We go there about once a month. It's about 45 minutes from us, too.

My dh loves seltzer, and especially Poland Springs. They have it the cheapest of anywhere there. We buy 2 cases a month. We usually buy a case of wine every month or two.

I also keep an emergency prepared meal in the freezer to prevent take out.
They have good stuff, and that works for us.

I buy some of their frozen veggies, especially in the winter. I like the succotash, greens with envy, and the fire roasted vegetables. I also like the haricots verts.

For me, the produce might occasionally have a good deal, but not spectacular. Most of my produce I buy at the Korean market with insanely low prices, though. And, we're a member of a CSA. Some of their stuff--coffee, steel cut oats, dried fruit and nuts--I get for cheaper elsewhere, but their prices aren't bad.

For what it is, I really like Trader Joe's. But, it's not my only grocery stop.

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14,037 Posts
I go to TJ's every week. It's right next door to Safeway (Krogers). I have found it to be significantly cheaper than any of my other options (Safeway, Albertsons, WF, HFS, etc.), so I buy as much as possible there and fill in the gaps at Safeway.

I buy whatever of my produce I can get there... during farmer's market season that means things like avocados, melons, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, onions, carrots, bananas, etc. During the winter that would also include orange, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, grapes. Farmer's market is the cheapest (so I buy in-season stuff there), TJs is 2nd in line.

I also buy some cheeses (cream cheese and pre-shredded is cheaper there), grass-fed/organic meats (they don't have a huge selection but I'll buy what I can), fresh (local) bread, spices, flour, sugar, maple syrup, pasta, canned tomato products, olives, artichoke hearts, chicken stock, frozen fruit/veggies, frozen fish, eggs, dairy (milk, butter, yogurt), coffee, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, soda, paper towels, bath care products. All of these things are cheaper for me to buy at TJs.

Then I go next door to Safeway to buy the things that either TJs doesn't carry or are brands I prefer or are cheaper at Safeway. That'd include DH's soda, some meat, condiments, certain veggies.

I don't buy beans/rice at either place... I buy them in bulk at the local HFS which I visit about every other month.

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6,165 Posts
I'm not thrilled with the produce but we love everything else and the prices are really good.

I like the fact that things don't go on sale, the price is the price is the price. I also like the fact that lots of their junk food is real ingredients, so it's sugar and butter rather they high fructose corn syrup and hydroginated oils

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3,211 Posts
I think that the big way that TJ's saves us money is 'emergency food'. When I'm to pregnant, tired, or pissy to cook we can make something from TJ's for $3-5 rather than ordering out for $15-30. Plus, often I'll decide that a 'treat' from TJ's is better than stopping for a treat from the coffee shop or getting lunch while I'm out... and the TJ's treats are always cheaper.

We buy a lot of their frozen meals (the teriyaki chicken is a favorite, we serve it with rice and stir fried spinach and my toddler goes NUTS.) I love their frozen pizzas because they're authentic and have actual veggies. We also get their packaged mexican and indian food for quick meals -- a couple of $1.99 packages of Biryani and a bit of chicken makes a great alternative to take out. I also love their pre-prepared curry sauce, which I can throw in with chickpeas and whatever veggies need used for curry in a hurry.

We usually go every couple of weeks, and stock up on staples and snacks for DS -- he likes their nuts and dried fruit and they have the best price on Kefir and cheese and yougart. For actual STAPLES, we go either to the cheap grocery for canned food or the oriental grocery for produce and dried beans and rice, but TJ's handles a lot fo the 'inbetween' stuff.

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We go to TJ's about every 2 weeks. I only buy their produce if I'm going to use it right away as it seems to go bad very quickly. We buy cheeses, organic milk, organic yogurt, and organic eggs as staples from there. We also will usually pick up some bread and either frozen pizza or pizza dough (99 cents for the dough!). I buy a few packages of biryani for lunch at work. Our new favorite from there is the frozen mahi mahi and tuna -- super fast on the grill, and very tasty.

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i only get out there 1-2 a month so we get mostly dry goods, nuts, fruits, pancake mix, corn bread mix, mac n cheese, spaghetti and sauce. i'll sometimes get dairy like cheese, yogurt and eggs if we need them. i rarely get their fruit or veggies mainly because their organic selection is limited at mine and i can get them for a better price at another store. i'd have to say the TJ's is my favorite grocery store. i love how they don't have crap in their foods(HFCS and hydrogenated oils). we're also a huge fan of the 2-buck-chuck wine, Charles Shaw, which is a killer deal at $2.99 a bottle.

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6,266 Posts
I never buy the produce, but TJ is the place for affordable organic:

tomato sauce
chicken broth

plus lots of other stuff.

FWIW, I would never go to Whole Foods. They don't call it "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.

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2,392 Posts
I go about once a month to stock up on a few things that are a good deal.

My favorites (mostly organic stuff):

organic marinara sauce
organic canned beans (to supplement my dried ones from the HFS)
organic avacadoes
organic basil
organic cherry tomatoes
organic raw almonds
organic raw pumpkin seeds
organic ciabatta
cheeses (some org, some just grass fed)
frozen org wild blueberries (when local fresh aren't in season)
roasted plantains (my DD loves these so we usually open a bag while shopping
- no hydrogenated oils, just wish they were organic!)
dark chocolate covered raisins

Probably a few other things.

I usually buy meat and produce elsewhere, but I may buy a little if I am there - they have organic chicken breast for a decent price.

I am glad I have a HFS for most of my food, but TJ's is great for some stuff and certainly cheaper. Also their canned food does not have BPA in the liner, so that is a bonus!

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5,671 Posts
We go there all the time and buy staples like organic milk,bread,chocolate
, snacks,coffee, broth etc. We NEVER go to whole foods, too expensive, and the organic produce selection is meager. Oh and what's what about selling nearly only Horizon?!

We have Jimbo's here which I love.

My favorite product from TJ's are whole wheat pretzel sticks and spicy hummus. And coffee. And chocolate. nevermind, everything

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45,796 Posts
At TJ's I buy eggs, cheese, and organic milk, butter, and yogurt. I also get bread, cereal, crackers, breakfast cereals, and granola bars. Also whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce. Now that I'm doing low-carb, I don't buy the grocery type items as often but I'm still buying plenty of dairy products.

I rarely get produce there- we don't buy all organic, and TJ's is often more expensive than the local, conventional produce at the supermarket.

I can't compare prices to WF because the closest one to me isnt' that close, and most of their store brand items aren't Kosher- so I ended up buying name brands and spending as much or more than I usually spend elsewhere.

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8,112 Posts
I'm 3 hours from Trader Joe's, but my mom probably goes there once a month for us. (She has to drive by our house every few weeks to share custody of my brother with my dad.) I buy my meat, poultry, eggs, produce, and wine from local farmers, but TJ's is the place I buy things that aren't produced in my local economy.

sprouted bread
pastas--sprouted, whole wheat, Asian
fruit leathers
granola cereal
almond meal
nuts and dried fruit
organic snack food--chips, cookies, crackers
cheese--Wisconsin cheddar, parmesan, brie
fresh condiments--hummus, green salsa
fresh pizza dough
jarred sauces--pizza sauce, steak sauce
canned beans and refried beans
Trader Ming's microwavable noodles
maple syrup
100% recycled TP and paper towels
dishwashing soap
liquid castile soap
natural cleaners


Originally Posted by Eman'smom View Post
I also like the fact that lots of their junk food is real ingredients, so it's sugar and butter rather they high fructose corn syrup and hydroginated oils
Yes! I openly admit that we eat too much packaged food, but I'm glad we at least have more natural alternatives.

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1,229 Posts
I love TJ's. It is about a 30-45 minute drive for me to get there so I don't go that often, but when I do I try to stock up. I love buying the big bags of nuts especially the cashews and pistachios! I also buy some of the pre-made foods for lunches or quick dinners, I love the green chili tamales. The bags of chicken tenders are nice to have on hand and are very reasonably priced. It is a fun store to visit and I wish we had one closer!

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1,549 Posts
Another TJ's frozen food fan!

The closest TJ's isn't particularly convenient to us, so we usually stick to the stuff that we can really stock up on (frozen stuff, dry goods). Produce I get at the Farmer's Market & Meat I get at the supermarket or the European butcher near our house.

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1,166 Posts
i love trader joes

luckily mine is just like 6 minutes from me

way cheaper than the local grocery chain

thing i buy there all the time:

milk products
bottled water
frozen veggies
frozen fruit
frozen meals
nuts & seeds
cereal bars

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1,013 Posts
We go to Trader Joe's about once a week, although if it were up to my dd (2.5 years old) we would go there every day! When she wakes up in the morning, she will say, "ooh, it's not dark out anymore....joe joe's isn't closed anymore!" and then beg to go so she can push a cart, get a balloon, and her favorite, one by one hand the groceries to the cashier (she likes to "help" and they are super-patient there).

Anyway, these are what we buy there pretty much every trip and it is all very cheap!
- organic lowfat vanana yogurt
- half & half
- bottled water
- gorilla munch or panda bear puffs cereal
- raisin bran cereal
- bread
- pita bread
- whole wheat tortilla shells
- milk
- eggs
- orange juice
- prepopped popcorn
- larabars
- frozen organic veggies
- frozen fruit (Luurve me some frozen mangoes!)
- frozen organic brown rice
- organic baby spinach
- organic bananas
- precut onions
- shredded carrots
- basil
- cilantro
- coffee

and occassionally:
- nuts (don't need them every week, they are huge bags that last a while)
- pizza dough
- fruit strips
- beer
- wine
- tea
- seltzer water
- hand soap
- laundry soap
- precut apples
- annie's mac and cheese
- chai tea
- whole wheat couscous
- vegetarian beans
- natural meats for dh (the only carnivore in the house)
- vitamins

I never shop at a traditional grocery store anymore....I've found between Trader Joe's, my local farmers' market, an occasional trip to Whole Foods (although their prices are at least double TJs), and a quick trip up the street to my SuperTarget, I am finding everything my family needs at a great price!
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