Keeping grocery bills low one TJ’s run at a time.
Everyone has an opinion on the economy, but even economists can’t seem to get on the same page. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that grocery prices have noticeably risen over the last couple years. While Costco and ALDI tend to hold the titles for most affordable grocery stores, Trader Joe’s is certainly in the running, known for having great deals not only on grocery items but even greeting cards and fresh flowers. From snacks to household staples to skin care products, the quirky grocery chain has a wide variety of items—and at low prices to boot. Here, we narrowed down the best Trader Joe’s products at $5 or less to keep your wallet happy.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
What’s as tasty as takeout but a fraction of the cost? TJ’s wildly popular Mandarin Orange Chicken. It’s crispy, juicy, sweet, and spicy, so your taste buds are in for a joy ride. You’ll find this bad boy in the freezer aisle, and while you’re there grab a box of frozen rice and stir fry veggies for a quick and budget-friendly dinner.
Non-Dairy Oat Creamer Brown Sugar Flavor
Listen, your coffee ritual is sacred, and we don’t want to disrupt a good thing. But if there’s one slight adjustment we would make to your coffee routine, it’s adding a splash of this coffee creamer. You won’t believe it’s non-dairy. It’s sweet, creamy, and under $2, if you can believe it.
Before there were fancy vegan burgers made from pea protein and egg substitutes made from mung beans, there was soy. All of the vegetarian alternatives were made from soy—soy milk, soy cheese, and soy chorizo. Thankfully, we have better vegan milk and cheese options now, but soy chorizo still satisfies, and TJ’s version is the best of the best. It’s been around for years, and even meat lovers can appreciate the depth of flavor and versatility of this sausage substitute. Some even say it’s pretty authentic compared to the real thing. Seasoned to perfection, it’s a good source of protein and spices up any breakfast burrito on the cheap.
A TJ’s run isn’t complete without something to snack on when you get home. Grocery shopping can be tiring, so you’ll be glad you picked up a bag of these bite-sized pieces of goodness. Made from the genius combination of chips and pretzels dunked in chocolate, these are the perfect treat for when you can’t decide if you want something sweet or salty.
Unexpected Cheddar Cheese Spread
Trader Joe’s has a ton of fancy and fun cheeses under $5, including their fan favorite Unexpected Cheddar Cheese. If you love that one, you’re guaranteed to swoon over the spreadable version that adds a creamy, cheesy smear to bread, appetizers, and charcuterie boards. Grab this for your next dinner party, or just to elevate a regular Tuesday night.
A newer item to hit the TJ’s freezer section, this kimbap is all over social media because people can’t believe how good it is. It’s inspired by Korean kimbap, traditionally consisting of rice, meat, and veggies rolled up in seaweed—kind of like a large sushi roll. Many shoppers have given it their stamp of approval, so you know it’s worth picking up. Considering that kimbap can usually run you $7 to $12 or more, this is a steal. Oh, and it’s vegan- and microwave-friendly for a no-fuss, plant-based meal.
Shea Butter & Coconut Oil Hair Mask
Trader Joe’s personal care aisle is one of the grocer’s best-kept secrets. It’s got shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, and even a non-greasy sunscreen that’s gone mega viral. The mega moisturizing hair mask is one of our top picks. It’s packed with ingredients that are actually good for your mane, such as vitamin E and argan oil, yet free of harsh chemicals and preservatives. Add this to your shower routine once or twice a week if you’re looking for an affordable way to transform your hair.
Crunchy Chili Onion
There are just some things you can only get at Trader Joe’s, and the beloved Crunchy Chili Onion is one of them. Inspired by the jars of garlic chili oil found at some Chinese restaurants, it’s the perfect condiment for tacos, burritos, ramen, and so on. Home chefs on social media have gone crazy adding this jar of deliciousness to sauces, pastas, and even omelets. Given its versatility, it’s an incredible value.
Chocolate Chip Hold the Cone
You can’t go wrong with anything in the Trader Joe’s frozen dessert selection, but the mini ice cream cones are always a crowd pleaser—and look how cute they are! Trader Joe’s could have slapped a spoonful of vanilla ice cream in a miniature sugar cone and called it a day, but they put extra thought into this creation. The chocolate-flavored cones are also lined with chocolate to prevent spillage, and the ice cream surprise in the middle is sprinkled with chocolate chips. Did we mention there’s chocolate?
Multi-Purpose Cleaner Cedarwood & Sage
If Trader Joe’s isn’t a real grocery store, then why do they have household essentials like paper products and cleaning supplies? Ha! Not only can you get everything on your list from Trader Joe’s, it’s usually made with safer ingredients. The multi-purpose cleaner, for example, is powered by a gentle plant-based formula and doesn’t have a strong chemical scent. Instead, it’s scented with essential oils. Non-toxic cleaners usually don’t come cheap, but this bottle is under $4 and will last you a while.
Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
One of TJ’s most popular products, these spicy chips always hit the spot. They’re crunchy, flavorful, and a little addicting. It’s easy to down the whole bag in one sitting, so grab a couple. Made from ground corn, this snack is totally gluten-free and it gets its vibrant hue from spices and vegetables—no artificial colors needed. They’re a treat all on their own, but they’re also incredible dipped in guacamole or hummus.
Korean Beefless Bulgogi
The people want more meatless options, and Trader Joe’s heard them loud and clear. Thanks to TJ’s, we’re spoiled with meat-free delicacies like this Korean Beefless Bulgogi. It’s inspired by a beef-based Korean dish, but it uses textured soy protein to replicate the texture of meat, and a flavorful sauce to bring it to life. With 16 grams of protein per serving, it’s a tasty way to meet your macros. Just pair with some rice, veggies, and kimchi if you can handle the heat.
Refresh Citrus Body Wash
The grocery chain’s body care products are certainly not slept on. Shoppers rave about the brand’s body butters, face and hair serums, and even the basics like this body wash. Under $3, it’s a good bang for your buck with a pleasant scent and no nasty ingredients. You don’t need to spend a ton on body wash, but we don’t just like this because it’s affordable—the formula is truly impressive and rumored to be a white label product from a more premium (but secret) manufacturer.
When you don’t know what to make for dinner, a cheap bag of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi always seems to save the day. It’s the perfect way to bulk up pastas, soups, and sheet pan meals. Made with 75 percent cauliflower, it’s also a tasty and crispy way to eat more veggies.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
The age-old combination of chocolate and peanut butter is the hero of this popular TJ’s candy. It’s simple, but it works. With super minimal ingredients, it’s a lighter and more antioxidant-rich choice than your typical peanut butter cups. But if dark chocolate’s not your thing, the milk chocolate version is also under $5 and satisfies the same craving for something salty and sweet.
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