Congratulations: You’re one of the luckiest people on earth, because you have the best grocery store ever (aka Trader Joe’s) in your neighborhood. But before you spend your life savings on Joe Joe’s cookies and frozen Indian dinners, we’re here to help you decipher the truly great from the truly overrated. Here are the four things you must buy at Trader Joe’s (and three things you can totally buy elsewhere).
4 Things You Should Always Buy at Trader Joe's (and 3 You Shouldn't)
From English cheddar to goat’s milk Brie, the cheese selection at TJ’s is surprisingly extensive—and best of all, totally affordable. You can make a killer cheese plate for half the price it would cost you at Whole Foods. (And grab some walnuts and dried fruit while you’re at it. They’re super cheap, too.)
If you’re an organic or almond milk drinker, TJ’s has lots of options. But if you’re looking for just regular ol’ milk? The sizes are limited and it’s typically more expensive than your local grocery store chain.
Even if you’ve outgrown Two-Buck Chuck, the shockingly excellent wine section will definitely have a bottle for you. We’re huge fans of the 2014 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, which is two dollars less at TJ’s than it is anywhere else.
Skip: Frozen Fruit
It’s fine in a pinch, but the frozen strawberries and blueberries here are a little more expensive (and in way smaller bags) than they are at traditional grocery stores. For the best deals, buy frozen fruit in bulk at Costco.
Ugh, buying flowers is the worst. They’re overpriced, there’s too much baby’s breath and they wilt before you even bring them home. Not the case at Trader Joe’s—you can buy a gorgeous, long-lasting bouquet for under $10. Score.
Skip: Conventional Produce
When there’s such a good selection of decently priced organic produce, it just doesn’t make sense to buy that non-organic apple. If you’re looking for a traditional produce deal, head to your local grocery store chain. Otherwise, stock up on the organic stuff—especially kale, broccoli and tomatoes.
Buy: Cookie Butter