Shopping 16 Trader Joe's Secrets Most People Don't Know About  

Brian Gilmore
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Even longtime Trader Joe's shoppers want to learn every way they can make their grocery shopping experience as efficient (and as cheap) as possible. As TJ's fans know, the store specializes in high-quality products at lower prices than most chain grocery stores. These Trader Joe's secrets will show you even more ways to maximize your next errand run.

This guide on how to shop at Trader Joe's includes some little-known Trader Joe's hacks that give some helpful tips. For instance, do you know the best times to go grocery shopping? Hint: mid-week is your best bet for avoiding the crowd. And when it comes to saving some extra cash, it's all about clipping coupons and checking out the store's flyers.

Trader Joe's is an upper middle class dream. The deals are fair, the employees are nice, and they even have a bunch of funny in-store signs. If Trader Joe's isn't already your grocery store of choice, it just might be soon.

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Get Your Fancy Cheese At TJ’s

Get Your Fancy Cheese At TJ’s is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Trader Joe's Secrets Most People Don't Know About
Photo: Pinterest

Outside of a cheesemonger, Trader Joe's might have the best selection of cheeses you can find. Even Bon Appetit sings its praises, lauding its "convenience, the quality to price ratio, and even the evil-genius novelty."

Here, you'll find everything from cheddar and parmesan to more exotic options like jalapeño and honey chevre, aged gouda, and hard manchego.

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Avoid Meat And Produce To Save Money

Avoid Meat And Produce To Save... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Trader Joe's Secrets Most People Don't Know About
Photo: Francinegirvan/Wikimedia Commons/CC0

If price is a factor, Trader Joe's isn't the best bet for your meat or produce. You'll pay a lot more for their specialized packaging than you will at the average supermarket - possibly even two to three times the cost.

Packaging items as units rather than by weight helps checkout lines move faster, since employees don't have to weigh anything to determine the price tag. But it does mean that, on average, that cut of meat or bulb of garlic is costing you more.

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You Can Return Anything

You Can Return Anything is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Trader Joe's Secrets Most People Don't Know About
Photo: animakitty/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Trader Joe's has one of the friendliest, no-questions-asked return policies of any store you can think of. You can even return products you've already partially consumed, for no reason other than you didn't like the taste.

It seems insane at first, but it actually makes business sense. It encourages shoppers to buy more - after all, they can always return something they don't like. It also helps the company tweak the products consumers really aren't responding to. The return policy is a win-win.

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The Bread Is Super Fresh

The Bread Is Super Fresh is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Trader Joe's Secrets Most People Don't Know About
Photo: @BecomeBetty/via Twitter

The bread at Trader Joe's is super fresh. In fact, the expiration dates are nearly immediate. But there's a good reason why, according to a former employee: "NONE of our products, breads included, have any sort of preservatives in them."

In other words, stop by the bread section to score some incredibly fresh, tasty loaves.