Save Money with Trader Joes: A Comparative Study
I Love to Save Money
Ok I admit it, saving money gives me a thrill. I adore it but I also love good food. Saving money and buying high quality food can sometimes cancel each other out. Organic products typically cost more than regular products and good produce is hard to get cheap without a sale.
I tried cutting coupons but found that we just don't eat the foods most coupons are for. For the amount of time it took to find deals for the products I use, I wasn't saving time or money. To make up for that I save money where I can:
- We garden & put up food
- We eat wild foods as often as we can
- We buy in bulk
- We make most of our food from scratch
- We shop local & buy directly from farms in our community
My goal is to ensure that my family is eating high quality food. There are times in the year when I shop more plus we have staple foods that we like to buy. I'd love to not have to shop but haven't made it there yet.
Now, thanks to Trader Joes, I am saving money on items I would normally buy for a premium price like non-GM modified cereal, organic coffee, nitrate free bacon, and dried foods.
Let's Look at the Numbers
Hormone & Nitrate free Bacon 12 oz - Hannaford Brand - $5.49 | Trader Joe's - 3.99 | Savings $1.50
Eggs Cage Free - Omega 3 - Hannaford Nellies - $3.53 | Trader Joe's - $2.49 | Savings $1.04
Org French Roast Decaf Coffee - Hannaford 10 oz - 8.99 | Trader Joe's 13 oz - 8.49 | Savings .90 per ounce or 3.21 for 13 oz.
French Roast Coffee - Hannaford 12 oz - 8.99 | Trader Joe's 26 oz - 10.99 | Savings .90 per ounce or $12.41 per 26 oz. (Wow!! That's like a $10 savings per week)
Corn Tortilla's 11oz - Hannaford not organic - 2.49 | Trader Joe's - $1.49 | Savings $1.00
Organic Banana's - Hannaford - .79 - .99 per lb | Trader Joe's - $.29 per lb | Savings $.50-70 per lb
Tangerines - 3lb bag - Hannaford - $4.99 | Trader Joe's - $2.99 | Savings $2.00
Emergen-C Raspberry - Hannaford - $10.99 | Trader Joe's - $7.99 | Savings $3.00
Hummus Roasted Red Pepper - Hannaford 8oz - $2.99 | Trader Joe's 10oz - $2.99 | Savings $.75 per 10 oz
Uncle Sam's Cereal - Hannaford - $3.29 | Trader Joe's - $2.29 | Savings $1.00
This is just a sampling of the savings that I am getting just by shopping at Trader Joe's instead of my local grocery store. The numbers above represent the prices that I get when I am shopping at Hannaford's for name brand products.
I am saving $25 - 50.00 per week!
What's really impressive is that all of the Trader Joes products that I buy meet or exceed the quality of food I am buying at other stores.
Comparing Apples to Oranges
When you hear the type of savings that I am getting from Trader Joe's you may be tempted to think the quality of the food is inferior to what I normally buy. However my experience has shown that almost always Trader Joes food quality, taste, and ingredients are superior to what I find in the traditional grocery store.
Don't believe me - Let's take a look at the ingredients:
La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas - 11.57 oz - $2.49 per package
Ingredients: water, stone ground yellow corn masa flour, wheat gluten, contains less than 2% of each of the following: sea salt, aluminum free leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate ), guar gum, cellulose gum, fumaric acid, trace of lime, to maintain freshness (sorbic acid, calcium propionate, potassium sorbate).
Taste: These have a really nice flavor plain which makes them taste fresh cooked yet behind that there is a hint of an aftertaste.
Trader Joe's Corn Tortilla's - 11 oz - $1.49 per package
Ingredients: White corn, water, lime
Taste: These taste very traditional, they aren't super flavorful plain but in enchiladas they are the wonderful.
Pillsbury Pie Crust - 15 oz - $2.50 on sale
Ingredients: Wheat Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Lard with BHA and BHT Added to Protect Flavor, Bleached Flour, Water, Sugar, Rice Flour, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Propionate (Preservatives)Citric Acid, Colored with Yellow 5 and Red 40.
Taste: My family actually likes the taste of these but I think they have a weird flavor.
* I typically don't buy these as I make my own but being a busy mom, I don't always have time to do that. Recently, I broke down and bought a Pillsbury Pie Crust to make a quick turkey pot pie. Little did I know Trader Joe's has their own variety and the ingredient list is much better.
Trader Joe's Pie Crust - 22oz - $3.99
Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Fruit Oil (with Citric Acid), Water, Butter (Cream [milk], Natural Flavor, Annatto [for color], Sugar, Salt
In a perfect world, I would be growing or buying local most of my families food but I don't live in that world yet. I am a busy mom that works and car pools my kids to where they need to go. I don't always have the time to cook from scratch. I've implemented many tips and tricks to get the best food in our house. Now thanks to Trader Joes, I am saving money doing it. I love that I can feel good about buying a few convenience foods that don't have ingredients I can't name.