3 Reasons I'm Obsessed With Trader Joe's — and Why You Should Be, Too

As a mom of three kids, groceries are something I tend to buy often. And I tend to shop at three stores when filling my pantry and fridge.

One of those stores is my local ShopRite supermarket. It’s walking distance from my house, so I can run in and grab a few items when I need to replenish.

Another store in my rotation is Costco. I’m able to save money by purchasing groceries in bulk, whether it’s snacks, produce, or supplies needed to make lunches for school.

The third grocery store I tend to shop at is one I don’t visit as often as ShopRite or Costco. It’s Trader Joe’s, and I only shop there once every six to eight weeks because it’s not super close to my house. But when I do make it over to Trader Joe’s, it’s almost always a great experience. Here’s why I absolutely love Trader Joe’s — and why you may want to add it to your personal supermarket lineup, too.

1. You know what you’re paying before you walk into the store

One tricky thing about shopping at Costco is that its prices vary by store. I have two Costco locations nearby, and because one is in a different ZIP code, the prices are slightly higher there than the other store just 20 minutes away.

The nice thing about Trader Joe’s is that it keeps its prices uniform. If you see an item advertised in its Fearless Flyer, you know you’re generally going to pay that price no matter where you shop.

For example, Trader Joe’s has a new peanut butter with honey that costs $2.99 for a 16-ounce jar. I don’t have to stress about the fact that I might pay more for being in a higher-cost market. I can factor the $2.99 into my grocery budget if I decide this is an item I want (which happens to be the case).

Also, I find that Trader Joe’s prices tend to be reasonable. While I might spend more on a per-ounce or unit basis than at Costco, I find that Trader Joe’s is often less expensive than ShopRite, or at least has comparable prices. And let’s face it — it’s hard to beat Costco’s prices due to bulk discounts.

2. The seasonal items are a fun treat

It’s not uncommon for supermarkets to introduce seasonal products into their lineups — think pumpkin-flavored snacks in the fall and peppermint treats during the holiday season. But Trader Joe’s takes the seasonal game to a whole new level. And frankly, I find it fun to look through the seasonal products and try different ones out.

If money is tight, then this could be a good reason to steer clear of Trader Joe’s. You don’t want to be tempted to buy pumpkin spice bagels and granola bars and truffles if you have to spend carefully on groceries and don’t have the wiggle room in your budget to take a chance on extra items. But if you’re OK to spend a little extra at the supermarket here and there, you may find that you love Trader Joe’s — especially during the fall. (Clearly, I’m all about the pumpkin.)

3. The employees are just about the nicest people around

I don’t go grocery shopping for the sake of socializing. In fact, at ShopRite and Costco, I aim to use the self-checkout lane whenever possible.

But it’s hard to overlook that the employees at Trader Joe’s are just about the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They’re helpful, friendly, and kind to children, which is something I appreciated a lot when mine were younger and were given stickers at the checkout aisle.

This isn’t to say that the people who work at ShopRite and Costco aren’t pleasant. But Trader Joe’s takes “service with a smile” to a whole new level.

As someone who admittedly enjoys shopping for food more so than shopping for clothes, shoes, or just about anything else, I’ve been to my share of supermarkets. But there’s a reason Trader Joe’s has a place in my personal top three. If you’ve never been to Trader Joe’s before, I suggest you give it a try. You may find that shopping there saves you money and makes the process of buying food a lot more enjoyable.

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