Finesse Trader Joe's: Hacks and Must-Try Items

If you are an SDSU student living on campus, or anywhere near campus, it’s a safe bet that Trader Joe’s is your go-to for groceries. Not only is the store location convenient; Trader Joe’s is simply a magical place to shop. The workers are always friendly. The prices are surprisingly affordable. Best of all, the selection of items is somewhat healthy, and very innovative (I see you, Pancake Bread). Yet speaking from personal experience, stepping into the holy land of Trader Joe’s can be overwhelming- there is a lot to look over and choose from. Thus, I present to you: a comprehensive guide to finessing your way around Trader Joe’s. 


Tip #1: Three words: frozen meal section.

As college students, we don’t have time to cook gourmet dishes. Luckily, Trader Joe’s has amazing frozen meals that only take 2-3 minutes to make. If you’re looking to upgrade that Kraft microwave mac n’ cheese you eat more than you’d like to admit, try TJ’s Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese. Other delicious options include the Cauliflower Rice Bowl and Vegetable Pad Thai. You seriously can’t go wrong with these easy meals that also go easy on your wallet, as they usually range from around $3.00- $4.00 each.


Tip #2: Shop the ends of every aisle.

You know how I said shopping at Trader Joe’s can be overwhelming? Cut down your time wandering the store by grabbing your essentials first, and then paying attention to the ends of every aisle. Usually, this is where you can find new or unique food items that you might end up loving. Trader Joe’s employees basically do all the work for you here, as they round up store favorites for these aisle displays.


Tip #3: Treat your skin, not just your appetite.

Believe it or not, Trader Joe’s has a full skincare line that works wonders. Products like the Enrich SPF Face Lotion and the Rose Water Facial Toner are comparable to those of high-end brands, but at a price point us broke college students can afford. Oh, and did I mention Trader Joe’s also carries refreshing face masks?! Go buy all of these and pamper yourself.


Tip #4: Plants

Looking for a way to freshen up your dorm/apartment/home? The plants and succulents sold at Trader Joe’s are adorable, and reasonably priced. Also, festive plants like mini pumpkins (under $1!) are available seasonally, so snag some of these gems while you can!


Tip #5: Try these LIFE-CHANGING items.

• Everything but the Bagel Pretzels

◦ Pair with hummus for an iconic snack!

• Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage

◦ Use in coffee, overnight oats- the possibilities are endless!

• *Non-organic* Banana Chips

◦ These hit different than organic banana chips, and they are also less expensive!

• Maple + Sea Salt Kettle Corn

◦ It’s like kettle corn that glowed up!

• Cauliflower Pizza Crust

◦ An excuse to host a make your own pizza night!

• Apple Cider Jam

◦ Literally apple pie in a jar.

• Dark Chocolate filled with Speculoos Cookie Spread

◦ Need i say more?


Congratulations, you now have the knowledge to be a professional shopper at Trader Joe’s. A huge thank you to Trader Joe’s for sponsoring this post! Just kidding (but I wish). ;) I hope these tips and tricks were helpful and you can now get through your Trader Joe’s shopping trip like it isn’t your first rodeo.