7 Items That Are Cheaper at Trader Joe’s than at My Usual Grocery Store

published Nov 19, 2022
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Large canvas bag filled with Trader Joe's groceries.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

It’s a reality I never wanted to face: Grocery prices may never return to what they were pre-2020. Costs of staples like eggs, butter, and flour are still on the rise, with no end in sight. However, as a self-proclaimed grocery shopping expert, I decided that this was a challenge to find new and different ways to shop smarter.

Enter: Trader Joe’s. The grocer has been a longtime favorite for pre-made lunches and seasonal snacks, but until recently it wasn’t my go-to for weekly groceries. (My local grocery chain is on my way home from work, so it’s a more convenient stop.) Over time, though, I started noticing that a lot of my staples — butter, eggs, cream cheese, etc. — were cheaper at TJ’s than at my regular grocer. And while it’s not on my route home, the lower prices are worth the trip.

Here are seven items I started buying at Trader Joe’s to save money on groceries.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

1. Unsalted Butter Quarters, $3.69 for 16 ounces

I was tipped off about the quality (and price) of Trader Joe’s butter by a pastry chef I worked with. The unsalted butter quarters are currently more than a dollar cheaper than the store brand at my local grocery store. Now I buy a box almost every time I go and stash it in my freezer.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

2. Organic Basil (and other spices), $1.99 for 0.6 ounces

My first experience with Trader Joe’s spices was the fan-favorite Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning blend, which I mix with cream cheese for bagels, and sprinkle on salads. When I looked beyond the EBTB, I noticed that a lot of the other spices and dried herbs I keep on hand — garlic powder, dried basil, smoked paprika — are just shy of two dollars a jar, which is much cheaper than what I’ve seen in other stores.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

3. Organic French Vanilla Yogurt, $3.99 for 32 ounces

Last I checked, Trader Joe’s organic French vanilla yogurt was a dollar cheaper than my usual brand. Even better? I can’t taste the difference between it and its more expensive counterpart. 

Credit: Taylor Kocher

4. Cage-Free White Eggs, $2.49 for a dozen

A dozen large eggs have almost doubled in price at my local grocer, while comparable ones at TJ’s have, for the most part, remained steady. I usually buy one carton a week to use in my go-to weekend breakfast sandwich — a bacon, egg, and cheese on a toasted English muffin — and the occasional baked good.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

5. Whipped Cream Cheese, $1.99 for 8 ounces

I love having whipped cream cheese in the fridge to spread on a toasted everything bagel, or as a dip for pretzels. The TJ’s version has occasionally been out of stock (as seen above) at my store — and for good reason! I’ve seen similar quality cream cheese in the same size tub for as much as $4.69 at other stores.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

6. GT’s Synergy Trilogy Raw Kombucha, $7.99 for 48 ounces

A recent kombucha convert, I discovered TJ’s sells jumbo bottles of my favorite flavor and favorite brand for just under eight dollars. I was buying three 16-ounce bottles (for $2.99 per bottle) at my grocer, but now I get the same amount of kombucha for roughly a dollar less.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

7. Organic Cascatelli Pasta, $2.99 for 16 ounces

Early this year, TJ’s launched its own version of the curvy, ridged Cascatelli pasta, with creator Dan Pashman’s permission. It has the same waterfall shape — wavy edges on the outside and grooves on the inside — that give it a great texture in every bite. Because of its ability to hold sauce unlike any other pasta shape I’ve tried, I love to pair it with a chunky, meaty red sauce to scoop all the saucy goodness. The TJ’s version is more budget-friendly than the original; if you buy it online, a 16-ounce package will cost you $5.49 (and that’s before shipping).

Did you start buying anything new at TJ’s since grocery prices have gone up? Tell us about it in the comments.