Author Topic: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?  (Read 8434 times)

redbird

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Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« on: June 22, 2016, 07:40:26 PM »
Everywhere I've ever lived Trader Joe's was either non-existant or it was a 30 minute+ drive one way away (and not in places I normally go to), to include where I currently live. But I know some people who seem to swear by Trader Joe's. A previous co-worker gave me some Trader Joe's olive oil and cookie butter once as a gift, and that was my only experience with the store. Until today when I went over there. Here's how I left feeling.

Pros:
- Unusual stuff. I bought a small amount of try-for-fun-but-probably-never-buy-again-even-if-it's-tasty things, like pickle flavored popcorn and sweet potato tortilla chips. I have yet to try any, though as I type I do have some matcha latte tea that's too hot and waiting to cool sitting beside me.
- Very clean and extremely friendly customer service. Being an introvert, the latter does not bother me much either way, but it gave a VERY different feeling from any other food store I've ever entered.
- Less expensive than I was expecting. I expected everything to cost a few dollars more than it did.
- Free samples are always good! They had some tasty mango chicken, some kind of cheese, and a bit of pear out.
- I've always heard people describe Trader Joe's as insanely busy. But it was far less busy than I expected. However, I am able to visit it at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon, when many people are still at work.

Cons:
- Still more expensive than I would normally spend. I have 2 good, clean with friendly employees, Krogers near me and I LOVE most of Kroger's store brand stuff. To me, it tastes the same as name brand or even better in some cases. Plus Kroger usually has good sales even on name brands for the patient and flexible with recipes chef in me. Trader Joe's is like going to Kroger and buying name brand stuff when it's NOT on sale. Or maybe more expensive depending.
- They are NOT a one-stop-shop sort of store. There's a lot they don't have. I already go to 3 different stores for food depending on needs (Kroger, an Asian grocery store, and this Hispanic-slanted farmer's market + grocery store). Trader Joe's doesn't seem to really give me anything I don't already have. But maybe I'm missing something?
- The produce in Trader Joe's looked really tasty (and the smell of some peaches made me weak causing me to buy 2), but both the Asian grocery store and the Hispanic grocery store in my area have GINORMOUS produce variety, including many exotic things that are not normally sold in the usual US grocery store chains, that is cheap and great quality.
- I don't know why, but the very hipster feel of the store weirded me out.

Am I missing anything? Is there a reason for a very Mustachian person like myself to go to Trader Joe's? Is it just for the unusual Trader Joe's house brand stuff that is why people go there? I'm seriously curious to know.

(By the way, the matcha latte tea is not bad. I lived in Japan for 3 years though and am a big fan of green tea and matcha. It is hard to find the good stuff in the US unless you go to an Asian grocery store. The big selling point of matcha *is* its bitterness. The sugar and milk kinda take that away, so it doesn't seem like matcha anymore. Oh well! I consider all $17 total I spent at Trader Joe's to be a random, for fun splurge.)

kimmarg

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 08:16:39 PM »
Here's my standing Trader Joe's list and the reasons:

Peanut buter -cheapest
nuts and dried fruit - cheapest (cheapest almonds and walnuts, check prices other)
Coffee - best value (i.e. not cheaper than crappy coffee but very good price for good coffee)
wine - good value (good for a budget friendly bottle)
chocolate - just a vice :)
Frozen entrees - unique items like frozen indian. Clearly not as good as homemade stuff for cost but I like to keep one or two in the back of the freezer for nights when life gets crazy as it's cheaper than take out or grocery shopping hungry.

Dicey

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2016, 08:38:54 PM »
I was a TJ's fan in L.A in the eighties. I have been semi- loyal for all the years I was a singleton. Now that I have a family of four adults to feed, I rarely go there. My regular shopping loop includes 99 Only, Grocery Outlet, then Costco, about every 8 or 9 days. Once in a while I do a big shop when I'm near a Winco, which is not often. If I'm trying to avoid a full-on grocery run, I'll grab some fresh produce at Sprouts. There's nothing at TJ's that I can't find for a better price elsewhere. I don't miss my old pal Joe too much, but oh, how I long for his cousin Aldi.

Pigeon

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 08:42:04 PM »
I shop there a couple of times a year for fun stuff. I find nuts and dried fruit a bit cheaper at Aldi but TJ has more variety. TJs parking lot is horrible and keeps me away. No wine in my state unfortunately.

Certain things are good but are a splurge. They have a toasted coconut pancake mix and frozen rise and bake croissants  we love. I also agree that it's nice to have a few entrees in the freezer. Mostly I cook those things myself but theirs are great.

Kaikou

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 04:50:13 AM »
Coconut oil
Midsummer night moisturizing cream
Vitamins
Tea tree oil conditioner
Jojoba oil
Flowers and plants


Soo....  I guess I don't buy actual food there lol.

Yeah the place is pretty small. Doesn't carry essential oils. Hipsters pushing 40. Puts your stuff in paper bags.

boarder42

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2016, 05:35:03 AM »
i get wine there.  easier to buy it by the case there even though its 10c more than aldi.  and i like some of their wines that cost a little bit more than 3 dollars for special occasions.

131071

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2016, 06:15:38 AM »
I shop there a couple of times a year for fun stuff. I find nuts and dried fruit a bit cheaper at Aldi but TJ has more variety. TJs parking lot is horrible and keeps me away. No wine in my state unfortunately.


Off-topic, but the small parking lots are one of the things I love most about Trader Joe's.  Many neighbors and co-workers complain about the limited parking available, but ultimately, not building stupid amounts of unnecessary infrastructure creates savings that can be passed on to customers:

Quote
Trader Joe's sells a whopping $1,734 per square foot, according to a recent report by the real estate investment firm JLL. In comparison, Whole Foods sells $930 per square foot.

http://fortune.com/2016/03/26/trader-joes-parking-lots/
http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/3/16/trader-joes

The bike racks are located conveniently right next to the front door....

Ceridwen

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2016, 06:19:22 AM »
We don't have TJs in Canada, but whenever we're in the US we make a point to visit one.  Like others have said, we go for the random, unique products.

- Freeze dried banana chips (my kids won't eat fresh bananas but love these)
- Arrabiata pasta sauce (you can find this elsewhere but we particularly like this one)
- Key lime pie (sooo good)
- Chocolate covered everything (great for stocking stuffers)
- Lavendar soap

MayDay

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2016, 06:31:35 AM »
I go about twice a year for certain things:

3 buck chuck
Various delicious flavored nuts.
Apricot Stilton cheese
A few household things like toothpaste, lotion, etc
Schoolhouse cookies
Chocolate

Roots&Wings

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2016, 06:37:30 AM »
Peanut butter (why is real peanut butter so hard to find?)
Nuts
Chocolate (pound plus bars are quite cheap)
Specialty Frozen treats (veggie burgers, meatless meatballs, soy ice cream sandwiches, dairy free 'cheese'...can be a good place for people with dairy allergies)

turketron

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2016, 06:47:57 AM »
Here's my standing Trader Joe's list and the reasons:

Peanut butter -cheapest
Coffee - best value (i.e. not cheaper than crappy coffee but very good price for good coffee)
Frozen entrees - unique items like frozen indian. Clearly not as good as homemade stuff for cost but I like to keep one or two in the back of the freezer for nights when life gets crazy as it's cheaper than take out or grocery shopping hungry.

Agree with these. I've also found good deals on Tofu and frozen fruits and veggies. Their fresh produce is usually pretty meh.

mskyle

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2016, 06:54:17 AM »
Here's my main pro tip: because they mostly price their veggies by the piece, not by weight, you can sometimes get ridiculous deals on veggies that vary dramatically in weight. 1.5 pound butternut squash: $0.99; 4 pound butternut squash: still $0.99. I mean, that's only a good deal if you like butternut squash, but I really really do! (That's like two meals + a pie's worth of squash.)

Their box wine is pretty darn good (I like both the syrah and the cabernet). I like the boxes because we don't always want to drink a whole bottle at once, and with the box you just have to drink three bottles worth over a fairly long period.

We buy a lot of our chips and crackers at TJs, and I agree the coffee's a good value. Their peanut butter is my favorite (salt but no sugar! why is this so hard to find?).


SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2016, 07:00:42 AM »
We buy olive oil, nuts (the ones I can't find at Costco), dairy products, peanut butter, and alcohol there. Also, some specialty things like truffle oil, mustard, vinegars, etc. Also, their prepared foods are a good bet when I find myself without lunch, as I'd rather spend 3.99 on a lentil wrap than get fast food.

Inaya

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2016, 07:18:44 AM »
I love their cherry cider in the winter. Heat a mug of it up in the microwave and it just warms me through.

Also the sheer amount of pumpkin-related products they have during the holidays is mindboggling, and I love most of them.

Pretzel-croissants, yes please. All of them. Now.

Their flavored seaweed snacks are $1 per package and quite tasty.

Actually, I really only shop there Oct-Jan, now that I think of it.

Another Reader

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2016, 07:22:19 AM »
In the 80's, Trader Joe's was known for having inexpensive stuff that was generally of high quality and more interesting than what was at the chain markets.  Now it's no longer cheap overall.  The produce is overpriced and not as fresh as some other stores.  The milk sours early and I buy Clover milk locally for a little more.  I don't trust the prepared sandwiches and salads.  I go every month or two or when I run into one along the way because there is not one nearby.  My list:

unsalted peanut butter
olive oil
coffee filters
bottled water
nuts
chocolate
water crackers
frozen peas and corn

I find Sprouts to be of equal or better quality for a lot of the same items and a lot cheaper for things like cheese and chicken.

ZiziPB

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2016, 07:31:47 AM »
I have a TJ 5 minutes so I stop by from time to time.  They are cheaper than Stop & Shop (which is the largest grocery chain in our area) but a bit more expensive than Aldi (which I also have close by).  So I do my primary shopping at Aldi, supplemented by Costco, and go to TJ for things I can't get at Aldi, treats or specialty items like: natural peanut butter and almond butter, olive oil, coffee filters, nuts and dried fruit, fancy cheese and crackers, chocolate.

ETA: if you have alternatives for inexpensive groceries close by and you can find everything you need there, there is no good reason to travel 30 minutes to Trader Joe's.

MandalayVA

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2016, 07:34:30 AM »
Trader Joe's is a treat store for me, but the one in the Richmond area is WAY out of my way so I rarely go there.

Pigeon

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2016, 08:16:52 AM »
I shop there a couple of times a year for fun stuff. I find nuts and dried fruit a bit cheaper at Aldi but TJ has more variety. TJs parking lot is horrible and keeps me away. No wine in my state unfortunately.


Off-topic, but the small parking lots are one of the things I love most about Trader Joe's.  Many neighbors and co-workers complain about the limited parking available, but ultimately, not building stupid amounts of unnecessary infrastructure creates savings that can be passed on to customers:

Quote
Trader Joe's sells a whopping $1,734 per square foot, according to a recent report by the real estate investment firm JLL. In comparison, Whole Foods sells $930 per square foot.

http://fortune.com/2016/03/26/trader-joes-parking-lots/
http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/3/16/trader-joes

The bike racks are located conveniently right next to the front door....

Ours is sufficiently small and sufficiently busy that there are lines of cars out on a busy road waiting to get into the lot, which snarls up the flow of traffic horribly at rush hour. 

ysette9

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2016, 08:17:47 AM »
TJ's is unquestionable my go-to store for everything except for coffee creamer and Asian groceries (for which we do a Ranch 99 run every month or two). There are a few things missing from the store but it is more than worth it in my opinion because they do a better job than everywhere else in a number of key areas.
  • Bread: They have a huge selection of WHOLE GRAIN, tasty bread for low prices. The stuff at Safeway totally sucks in comparison being $4+ a loaf with 50 ingredients
  • Their brown Jasmine rice is my favorite from anywhere
  • They carry lactose-free yogurt cheese. That is, real cheese made with cow's milk but without the lactose. It is almost impossible to find this kind of a product anywhere else.
  • Someone else mentioned great frozen TV dinners. They are quality and when you read the ingredients on the package, they are all things you'd have in your own kitchen, not stuff you need a class in organic chemistry to pronounce. As someone with food allergies, this is really helpful.
  • Excellent shelf-stable Indian dishes in heat-sealed metallic bags. The food itself is tasty and super cheap, but the packaging is perfect for camping, backpacking, and we even have a bunch on our earthquake preparedness kit in the garage.
  • Fantastic wine/beer/booze section
  • CHOCOLATE: A massive selection of high quality chocolate unlike anything you'll find anywhere else. I live and die for their chocolate covered almonds. Their dark peanut butter cups are amazing. Have I mentioned chocolate? :)
  • Interesting sauces and do-dads: I got a fig butter recently that is great on crackers with cheese and avocado; they have reduced sugar jam that is just less sweet than regular jam with no fake sugar, etc..

jeninco

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2016, 09:29:40 AM »
CHEESE! cheesecheesecheesecheese!
Seriously, most grocery stores near us have cheese from $10/lb up. Trader Joe's has "ordinary" cheeses (X-tra sharp cheddar, ordinary brie, crumbly blue cheese) for $6 lb (just checked), and fancier cheeses (stinky soft french cheeses, or spreadable blue) for under $10/lb. There are four of us, including two teenagers: we go through a fair amount of cheese.

Sometimes we splurge on (domestic) prosciutto and/or lox, both of which are priced for a reasonable but not outrageous splurge. (Um, probably not mustachian, except when a quick-n-easy -n-x-tra tasty lunch keeps us from going out.

TJ nuts and dried fruit are priced competitively with the Costco here, and come in more reasonable-sized packages.

Large cans of crushed tomatoes are way less than other places locally, and we use those pretty steadily all winter in soups and stews.

Yummy olive oil.
Sometimes produce: depends on what they have. The plastic containers bug me, though.

JLee

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2016, 09:41:48 AM »
For those who enjoy an occasional (or frequent) gin & tonic, Trader Joe's tonic is awesome.

Noodle

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2016, 10:05:32 AM »
Trader Joe's has three strengths-- first, they are good at figuring out where the American diet is going, and getting in early with reasonably priced versions when the grocery stores are still either not stocking those items or pricing them as specialty goods (so they were doing organic early on, I was finding things like quinoa and chia when those were still pretty unusual, TJ's was one of the first places I saw the coconut oils and flours that paleo uses, etc.). Second, they do a selection of good quality, well-priced staples/ingredients that are better than similarly priced basics at the grocery stores, or fill a niche (ie, the salted but not sugar PB mentioned multiple times above) that the grocery stores do not--they have a low fat feta that is much better than anything I've ever seen elsewhere, for instance, and in the fall and winter they do several coffees ground with spices that I love and cannot get elsewhere). Third, they do prepared foods and snacks that are different from what you can buy elsewhere, have mostly natural ingredients and are fairly reasonably priced. While eating those on an everyday basis wouldn't be all that Mustachian (or healthy), many home-cooking Mustachians like to keep a few convenience foods or special snacks or condiments around to stave off the temptation to eat out. The combination is genius--I don't think I'd go there to buy from only one of those categories, but there's enough I get from all three that a trip is worth it every couple of months.

They used to change out products more often so it was tempting to go in there just to see what they have, especially when the new flyer comes out. Nowadays, they seem to stick with a more standard selection and do different seasonal variatons--so right now they are doing mango versions of their cookies, cereal, granola bars, frozen foods, etc. In October, there will be pumpkin cereal, granola bars, cookies, etc etc.

Other things--so-so. Their produce is usually pretty meh and goes bad fast, some of their branded products aren't that tasty, etc.

ohsnap

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2016, 10:06:21 AM »
Here's my main pro tip: because they mostly price their veggies by the piece, not by weight, you can sometimes get ridiculous deals on veggies that vary dramatically in weight. 1.5 pound butternut squash: $0.99; 4 pound butternut squash: still $0.99. I mean, that's only a good deal if you like butternut squash, but I really really do! (That's like two meals + a pie's worth of squash.)
...

Yes, I do this with their bananas. Why would I pay 19 cents for a tiny banana when I can pay 19 cents for a huge one?  :D  (if all the bananas are tiny that day, I usually skip them, and when I come back in a couple of days there are bigger ones)

I live about a mile from a TJs so I'm there about twice a week.  Here are the things I buy there:

Dairy: sour cream, milk, half & half, yogurt, some cheeses, whipping cream
Produce: spinach, arugula, romaine, bananas, heirloom tomatoes, mushrooms, lemons & limes.
grocery: spaghetti sauce, pasta, olives, spices, some breads (English muffins, bagels) frozen green beans and peas, chips, beer and wine.

I'm surprised that some of you have found TJs to be expensive.  Everything on my list is much cheaper than I can get anywhere locally except Costco.  And the problem with Costco is obviously that I have to buy 6 heads of romaine instead of 3, or 2 gallons of milk instead of 1.  I don't buy TJs "specialty" products like frozen entrees.

ohsnap

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2016, 10:10:22 AM »
... The produce is overpriced and not as fresh as some other stores.  ...

I love the produce items I buy there (my list in the previous post).  It's cheap and fairly priced.  I always flip through the packages to make sure I'm getting the freshest one, for example I skip over the mushrooms packed on 6/19 and get the one packed on 6/21.  You can almost always find a different, fresher date in the back of the stack.

Dicey

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2016, 10:16:55 AM »
Peanut butter (why is real peanut butter so hard to find?)
Brace yourself: If you have access to a Winco (West Coast, primarily PNW), they have the most amazing peanut butter in their bulk food section. On the back wall, there is a machine filled with fresh peanuts. You select a container, press a button and voila! Freshly ground peanut butter, still warm. You can even twist the dial to make it creamier or chunkier. Heaven at a very reasonable price. Next to it there is a machine filled with honey coated peanuts. Push the button and receive glorious honey peanut butter. Stay far away from this machine as it is very, very dangerous.

If you don't have a Winco, the Costco Organic Peanut Butter (red lid) is a reasonably good substitute. Well, it's excellent peanut butter, in fact, but not the same as the grind it yourself glory from Winco. If you've never had the Winco freshly ground PB, you will be quite pleased with the Costo Organic PB.

And if you're feeling sad because you can't eat peanut butter, try Wowbutter. Amazing stuff. No peanuts. It's made with a specific Canadian Toasted Soy. No nuts, no dairy, gluten free. It has small amounts of sugar and salt and is very high in protein. I hate WM, but they generally carry it, on the top shelf, above the regular PB.

Kapiira

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2016, 10:20:21 AM »
Organic foods are generally far cheaper there than other grocery stores.

Cellista

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2016, 10:50:14 AM »
I like Trader Joes.  I go there for the cheap staples and produce, and natural ingredients (although try finding a cereal without added sugar, don't know what happened there).

If they carried Purina One dog food, I would never go elsewhere.

jrhampt

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2016, 11:00:13 AM »
I am a Costco member and buy most things in bulk.  But there's also a TJs close to me, so if it's on my way back from something, I shop there occasionally to supplement Costco's.  I like their cheese section a lot - good variety and less expensive than Stop & Shop.  I like their small packages of different types of ravioli for an occasional really fast meal (lemon ricotta, goat cheese, truffle mushroom, butternut squash, and lobster are all good).  I am addicted to their Thai chili and lime flavored cashews, and my husband likes their chocolate covered espresso beans and caramels and banana chips.  There are also some sauces I get there that are hard to find elsewhere - truffle oil and smoked peach salsa...and I like their pastrami-style smoked salmon with whipped cream cheese and garlic ciabatta bread.  So I mostly just shop there for a few specialty items.  I find that if I have some fancy food at home to eat, it is very easy for me to stay out of restaurants. 

opnfld

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2016, 12:11:24 PM »
CHEESE! cheesecheesecheesecheese!
Yes, seriously.  The cheese is the thing.  Also nuts, oil, PB, yoghurt, and wine.  The price on organics tends to be lower at TJs.  We shop at Costco now and supplement (usually from Grocery Outlet), but TJs changed the way we eat - more continental, less American?  We used to stop three other places, but my wife places a great emphasis on simplicity in shopping -  now somehow we don't.  We learned to eat what they have and eschew the rest.

randymarsh

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2016, 12:17:47 PM »
I'm within walking distance from a TJ so it's really convenient when I need to pick up a few things. I figure paying slightly more at TJ beats eating out or the aggravation of getting in my car and driving (and parking!) at Kroger's.

Samuel

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2016, 12:23:41 PM »
I'm walking distance to a TJ's and shop there 1-2 times a week for most of the basic staples. The prices are good, but not amazing since they don't really do sales. The produce is a little hit or miss, but generally pretty good. The most noticeable exception is the broccoli. I love broccoli and eat a lot of it but pre-cut florets just do not hold up. Meats are cheaper at other stores when you wait for a sale.

I've dialed in a variety of super easy and cheap meals using TJ's stuff that are the backbone of my workday breakfasts and batch cooked lunches, but with the variety I also try to get one new thing each time just for fun.

A few things I currently get every trip: Wasabi dried seaweed, and the beet hummus (just a hint of balsamic vinegar...amazing).


Chanel No5

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2016, 12:24:29 PM »
I don't go often but always leave happy for my wallet and tummy.

Their selection of breakfast cereal offers variety. If you just want oats, it's there too.
I like their chips selections, different kinds, sizes and tastes.
They make a really good boxed corn bread mix.

I stay away from any meats. These I find overpriced.

Their best products are soaps, shampoos and kitchen cleaners. They sell their own blended green cleaner. I am not sure the ingredients but it is eco-friendly and does a fantastic job on most surfaces.

The check out service is excellent. I like how the clerks accept whatever bags I bring and fit everything in. The weight is well distributed. The clerk pays careful attention and focuses on the job, not chitty chatting with me or anyone else.

They also have a liberal return policy. I did buy their brand of laundry soap and found it not cleaning my clothing well enough. I bought back the box opened with about a 1/4 used. I was telling the truth and was surprised when the manager said okay and gave a refund.

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2016, 12:54:13 PM »
Not sure if anyone else has mentioned, but I stock up on their full-fat yogurt.  I've got a young one who is super active (and therefore super skinny). It's hard to find flavored yogurt that isn't fat free and lots of added sugar.   TJ's has organic, yummy flavors of yogurt, vanilla/banana is the best!  They have it in fat-free too.

jrhampt

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2016, 01:49:01 PM »
Not sure if anyone else has mentioned, but I stock up on their full-fat yogurt.  I've got a young one who is super active (and therefore super skinny). It's hard to find flavored yogurt that isn't fat free and lots of added sugar.   TJ's has organic, yummy flavors of yogurt, vanilla/banana is the best!  They have it in fat-free too.

ooh!  It IS really had to find yogurt that isn't low or zero fat.  I love fat.  I'll have to check out their yogurt.

RWD

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2016, 02:11:00 PM »
Frozen entrees - unique items like frozen indian. Clearly not as good as homemade stuff for cost but I like to keep one or two in the back of the freezer for nights when life gets crazy as it's cheaper than take out or grocery shopping hungry.

I love their Lamb Vindaloo. We've experimented with homemade stuff but haven't been able to surpass this yet. If you have a vindaloo recipe you think is better then I'd love to hear it.

lightmyfire

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2016, 02:46:10 PM »
I stop by Trader Joe's about once a month.  I agree that it's not a great place to buy produce and I would never use it as my primary grocery, but there are certain things there that are much cheaper than other places.  It's a good place for hygiene products not tested on animals, for example.  I like the TJ brand toothpaste and it's way cheaper than Tom's of Maine or any of those.  Other things I buy there...vegetarian stuff, like tempeh, tofu, and (my favorite! so good) soy chorizo.  Crackers and other snack stuff.  Their beer is also a good bargain.  Occasionally I don't want a whole 6-pack, and you can also buy individual cans and bottles.

seathink

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2016, 04:23:02 PM »
I buy beer and soap there. They have generic pint and a half stouts for like 3 dollars. :)

redbird

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Re: Trader Joe's - any Mustachian selling points?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2016, 04:28:35 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the feedback. It's been interesting reading your thoughts.

 I now wish I had bought some peanut butter at Trader Joe's, just to try. To be honest, I've never tried REAL peanut butter. I'm curious! But on the other hand - my husband LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So much that we always buy huge jars and it still feels like we go through it surprisingly quick for only 2 adults and no kids in the house. I worry that this one guilty pleasure habit of his would cost a lot more by buying real peanut butter instead.

As far as wine and frozen foods go, neither of those benefit me. Neither of us drink and I don't buy much frozen foods anymore. Most of our meals I cook myself, from scratch.

As long as I can find a recipe for it, I'm not even afraid to try cooking unusual things. A decent percentage of meals I cook is actually Asian (not Asian, have just acquired a taste for Asian, especially post living in Japan), requiring things like miso paste, dashi, sake, and mirin, all things TJ doesn't sell, so obviously there's no way I could make TJ my main store even if I wanted to like some of you do.

I love chocolate but I don't buy much of it. So it sounds like Trader Joes would mostly benefit me for cheese, possibly peanut butter, and unusual things. Sounds like still a once in a while treat store.

I really appreciate all of the feedback though! Like I said, I know friends who are GIGANTIC fans of TJ and I was always curious.