9 ways to save at Trader Joe’s

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9 ways to save at Trader Joe’s

For almost a decade, Trader Joe’s has been one of America’s top grocery chains — and with good reason. Its locations carry high quality products, provide top-rated customer service, and come outfitted in an eclectic tiki-themed design. But thanks to the store’s venerable status and legendary reputation among its customers, many people find it easy to get carried away. That’s why we put together a list of easy ways to save at Trader Joe's.

1. Tap the Fearless Flyer

Trader Joe's puts out a circular called the “Fearless Flyer” that shoppers can request by mail or check out online. It features seasonal products that are sometimes on sale.

2. Shop with a list

And avoid hitting up Trader's Joe on an empty stomach to curb impulse buys. (Find 50 good grocery tips for any store here.)

3. Buy bananas

Trader Joe's is one of the few grocery chains that lets you buy bananas by the piece as opposed to charging by the pound. Each one costs 19-cents — a good deal, especially if you don't eat bananas by the bunch.

4. Sample the goods

You can ask a Trader Joe’s Crew Member to let you sample an item, excluding alcohol and raw products. Maybe the ready-to-eat Pasadena Salad (my personal favorite) piqued your interest? Flag down a crew member and they’ll let you try it out, no sweat.

5. Tap the return policy, if necessary

If you find that you don’t like the item after you bought it, bring it back. Trader Joe’s has a very liberal return policy, no questions asked.

6. Bring coupons

Trader Joe's accepts manufacturer’s coupons on brand name goods. So check your mail, grab the Sunday newspaper or find a digital coupon to save some cash. (These 12 couponing tips can help you stay on budget.)

7. Buy private label items

Trader Joe's repackages brand-name products and sells them under it's own name — e.g. Trader Joe's Mango Smoothies — at a markdown. Be sure to take advantage of these deals.

8. Tune in

Trader Joe's produces a podcast called Dig In that provides great tips on how to use the products you can buy in their stores.

9. Bring your own bag

Some cities charge a disposable bag tax. Skip the upcharge by bringing your own re-usable totes.

Don't only frequent Trader Joe's? Check out 9 ways to save at Whole Foods.

Image: Tim Gauw