11 things you should never buy at Trader Joe’s

Keep your wallet fat and your waist slim by knowing what to leave out of your cart.

Never buy this at Trader Joe's
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Never buy this at Trader Joe's

Shredded mozzarella 

While the blocks of cheese are incredible quality for their price, you might want to skip the shredded versions. You’ll shell out $3.79 for a 16-ounce bag of mozzarella at Trader Joe’s, while the same costs just $2.18 at Walmart.


There’s only a 30-cent price difference between TJ’s organic and original lemonades, making the organic version a steal. But costing at least $2.69, both options pale in comparison to the $1.76 you could pay elsewhere for your favorite summer sipper. Check out these other 11 things Trader Joe's employees wish you knew.


At first glance, the nutrition facts on a Trader Joe’s burrito don’t look too terrible: 300 calories, nine grams of fat, and 790 milligrams of sodium in one pollo asado wrap. But take a closer look and you’ll notice that’s only for half a burrito. Unless you have incredible self-control, you’re better off loading up corn tortillas with some homemade fillings to keep the stats down.

Coconut Oil

For its 16-fluid ounce size, the coconut oil at Trader Joe’s has about the lowest price you can find. If you’re a coconut oil addict, though, you’ll get a better deal buying in bulk elsewhere. TJ’s little jar of coconut oil costs about 31 cents per fluid ounce, while a bigger container will be about half that. But when buying in bulk, beware of these things you should never buy at Costco.

Sliced fruit 

A little grunt work will stretch your dollar. A small 16-ounce container of pre-sliced pineapple or watermelon will set you back $3.49, while you could get an entire pineapple for $2.99 or melon for just $3.99.

Tortilla Chips

While the two-pound value bag of white corn tortilla chips will save money over brand-name packages, its $3.49 price tag is slightly higher than the $2.98 you’d pay for generic brands at Walmart. Learn the story of the actual Trader Joe (he was a real person!).


While $5.99 for a can of spray-on sunscreen is a great deal, there are even cheaper options. Other stores offer a two-pack for just a couple dollars more than Trader Joe’s single can, meaning you get more bang for your buck.


Even if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can quickly slice zucchini into thin “zoodles” with the help of a julienne peeler. Buying them ready-to-cook might save you a few extra minutes, but pound for pound, the zoodles also cost almost twice as much as a whole squash. Don't miss these other 20 shopping tips for all your favorite grocery stores.

Nuts & Fruits & Honey 

Nuts & Fruit & Honey might sound like nutrition in a jar, but don’t be fooled. With the ingredients “bathing” in honey, the calories add up—all the way up to a whopping 300 calories per quarter-cup serving! With 26 grams of sugar and almost no vitamins to speak of, this should go on your “skip” list, unless you can limit yourself to a small serving stirred into yogurt.

Lactose-free milk

While a gallon of the regular milk is a good deal at Trader Joe’s, the lactose-free version costs 80 cents more than at Walmart. Stick with Trader Joe’s almond milk instead, which costs about $1.10 less than the leading brand. Check out these other 40 smart ways to save at the supermarket.

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche 

Unless you have the self-control to resist eating the whole quiche in one sitting, you’ll be gobbling down nearly half your daily-recommended sodium (910 milligrams) in just one meal. Stack on 15 grams of saturated fat, and you’re better off whipping up an omelet yourself, throwing in an extra-big handful of broccoli. On the other hand, these are cheap things you should only buy at Trader Joe's.


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