The Best (and Worst) 99 Cents You Can Spend at Trader Joe's

The Best (and Worst) 99 Cents You Can Spend at Trader Joe's

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Lauren Kodiak
Feb 13, 2018
(Image credit: Diana Liang)

I could go on and on about how wonderful Trader Joe's is for its quirky packaging, irresistible snacks, and unbeatable frozen apps. You probably already know that stuff, though. What you might not know, however, is that Trader Joe's is a surprisingly good place to buy greeting cards. And they all only cost 99 cents!

Sure, you've probably seen these cards while waiting in line to check out, but have you really seen these cards?

Whenever I head to Trader Joe's to stock up on Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Chocolate Almonds and frozen veggies (I contain multitudes), I also always make a stop at the card rack before I check out. Besides buying the occasional handmade card from a maker I admire, Trader Joe's is my number-one place to buy cards. Why would I drop $4 on a Hallmark card from CVS when I could get a better-looking one for only 99 cents at Trader Joe's? And I don't even have to go out of my way to stop at an extra store.

According to this article in their Fearless Flyer, the cards sold at Trader Joe's are unique to their stores — which means you don't run the risk of giving the same card to someone as your Aunt Shirley. (Unless Aunt Shirley also shops at Trader Joe's.) And how do they keep costs so low? "We work with a small greeting card producer who works directly with the artists who design the cards. This bureaucracy-free process keeps costs really low, which is how we're able to offer such a terrific everyday price on our cards," the Flyer states.

(Image credit: Lauren Kodiak)

There is a caveat, though: Not all TJ's cards are created equal. Some look more like you bought them in one of those curated, boutiquey stores than others. The one pictured above is one of my favorite designs — I bought a bunch of them and stashed them in my "card drawer" for when I need to send a quick thank you note. If I see something I love, I grab multiples because it might not be there the next time I go shopping.

There are also some cards that look ... more deserving of their 99-cent price tag. I love my husband dearly, but he has a knack for picking out the worst cards at Trader Joe's. He recently came home with a huge stack of cards that read "You're One Clever Cat" with a semi-creepy cat illustration on it. I've been trying to get rid of them ever since. I sent one to my coworker, Lisa, who jokingly replied with this upon receiving it. (Don't worry — the dog did not eat the card, nor was he harmed in the taking of this photo!)

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

As long as you take a few minutes to sort through the card selection, you can find some real gems at Trader Joe's. I guarantee you'll get asked "Where did you find such a cute card?" and that your recipient will be surprised when they turn it over to see the Trader Joe's label on the back.

Do you buy greeting cards at Trader Joe's?

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