I don’t know if it’s the earth sign or the Italian in me, or maybe a little bit of both, but I am never one to shy away from indulging. This is especially true when it comes to food. I have a deep-rooted appreciation for what I eat and make my meals with care, but with food prices continually ticking up higher, it’s getting harder to justify food-related indulgences or even basic kitchen necessities.
I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. After all, with inflation looming over everyone’s heads, we’re all being forced to make sacrifices while food shopping. And while some sacrifice may be necessary for the sake of not blowing through savings and accruing debt, forgoing treats or essential items altogether is something I won’t stand for.
The good news is that once again, Trader Joe’s has saved the day. Thanks to their affordable price points and extensive options, you can stock up on a plethora of grocery items without breaking the bank, and we’ve rounded up the best options. With these budget-friendly TJ’s finds, you can battle inflation and still treat yourself with meals that nourish your body and soul without feeling guilty. Keep scrolling to learn the 15 grocery items you can find for way cheaper at Trader Joe’s.
1. Fancy Cheeses
There’s a reason cheese boards tend to go quickly at any gathering. They’re beloved universally and make one heck of a snack for one person or twenty. No matter what you’re stocking up for—be it a party or for your own snacking—head to your local TJ’s to get the best selection of all the fancy cheeses of your dreams (vegan options included!).
2. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a kitchen staple that often comes with a high price tag, and it can be especially detrimental to your wallet if you have a tendency to go through it rapidly. Case in point? An average bottle costs around $12 at my local market, which is almost double the price of this $6.99 option from Trader Joe’s. So save your dollars and get your olive oil or other cooking oils and sprays from TJ’s.
3. Dips and Sauces
Sure, you can make salsa, buffalo dip, or pesto sauce from scratch, but when you don’t have the time, pre-made options come in handy. Unfortunately, these items tend to be marked up at your average grocery store. At Trader Joe’s, though, you get what you pay for, and you won’t break the bank buying their standard or allergy-friendly dip options.
4. Baked Goods
Growing up, I always gravitated toward the bakery section at the market, but my mom had to steer me away because those items were out of budget while trying to feed a family of five. It took grocery shopping on my own to understand what she meant, which is why I was blown away when I first stepped into the bakery section at Trader Joe’s. Their assortment of freshly baked goods (think: bagels, muffins, English muffins, etc.) is truly unmatched.
By now, you probably know that nuts are one of the healthiest snacks out there. But their steep price points make reaching for cookies so much easier. However, none of us have that excuse anymore: Nuts are way cheaper at Trader Joe’s. Whether you’re looking for a good trail mix, almonds, cashews, or other varieties, TJ’s has you covered in the salty snack department.
6. Cold-Cut Meats
The cost of cold cuts has been on the rise, which has made it harder to keep them on deck for snacks, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards—until now. Not only does Trader Joe’s have a wide variety of lunch meats to choose from—everything from bologna to ham, soppressata, prosciutto, and more—they’re affordable AF, too. Now, you can keep your favorite cold cuts on hand and whip up a nice antipasto or sub sandwich whenever your heart desires.
Maybe it’s because I live in New England, but the cost of berries has been insane at my local market. Admittedly, this makes choosing healthier options when shopping much more difficult (I’m sure my sweet tooth also plays a role, but I digress). However, Trader Joe’s has all sorts of berries at surprisingly affordable prices, so if you’re in the mood for a smoothie or açaí bowl, head to TJ’s for some of the best deals.
The next time you’re grabbing a bottle of vino, head to Trader Joe’s instead of your favorite liquor store. Not only is it cheaper, but you also have a wide selection to choose from. Plus, you can grab some cheese to pair with your wine while you’re at it.
9. Chips and Popcorn
Snack lovers, rejoice: TJ’s has the best deals in the snack department. Whether you’re looking for some chips to pair with a nice dip, organic popcorn, or plain ol’ potato chips, Trader Joe’s has prices that can’t be beat and a lot of options to choose from.
Mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, and more. Keeping the right condiments on hand is an absolute must—you never know when you’ll need them. And thankfully, Trader Joe’s has made it easy to stock up on all your favorite flavors and ones you haven’t tried before but want to give a go. Most of your staple condiments cost less than $2 apiece.
Consider Trader Joe’s your one-stop shop for all your seasoning and spice needs. While your average run-of-the-mill grocery store will mark up essential spices (think: garlic powder, whole black peppercorns, etc.), Trader Joe’s doesn’t. And with prices you can’t compete with, you’ll never have to forgo added flavor in a recipe ever again.
12. Sugar and Flour
If baking is more your speed, you’re in luck: Trader Joe’s has items that will fit all your baking needs. Personally, I strongly believe in keeping things like flour and sugar (or sugar alternatives) on deck because you never know when the baking urge will strike. Whether you’re looking to whip up a decadent dessert, bake bread from scratch, or make homemade chicken parmesan, head to your local TJ’s for all your baking needs.
There are two types of people in this world: Those who hate milk, and those who love it—there’s no in-between. If you’re firmly in the latter camp, be sure to pick up your dose of vitamin D at Trader Joe’s. Their milk prices beat out the competition every time.
14. Balsamic Vinegar
Similar to olive oil, balsamic vinegar is another pantry staple that comes at a steep price—but not at TJ’s. Thanks to the cheaper price tag, you can keep balsamic vinegar or any other vinegar on hand for whenever you might need or crave it.
When it comes to the internet’s favorite fruit, it only makes sense that Trader Joe’s would have our back. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a single serving or to stock up for a while, avocado prices at TJ’s are truly unmatched. Plus, they always have their best selection laid out, which is an added bonus.