64 Dollar Grocery Budget At Trader Joe’s

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Trader Joe's can be an affordable place to grocery shop. This post shares how to use a $64 a week grocery budget at Trader Joe's, and score big.

Today, Kim from Things I Thought I’d Never is taking on the 64 Dollar Grocery Budget Challenge and trying the grocery budget at Trader Joe’s! Our family loves Trader Joe’s, but I’ve had trouble trying to utilize our $64 budget there. I knew there were special tricks, and Kim breaks them down so well in this post. Let’s see what she has to say about saving money at Trader Joe’s.

Let me begin with this confession, I’m a foodie….wanna-be. I have the heart, stomach and palate of a foodie. I love exploring various cultures through their food. I enjoy experimenting with various spices, produce and meats- although I do typically stick with chicken (because how can you really mess up chicken???) But, I’m a wanna-be- I wanna have the energy, I wanna have the patience and, I wanna have the budget of a real foodie.

So, whenever I would hear my friends who are “real” foodies rave about Trader Joe’s, I would be a bit intimidated, convinced that I would be overwhelmed by the store’s offerings and find that it was way out of my budget. About 3 years ago, I took the plunge. I am hooked.

When Amiyrah presented this opportunity to take the $64 challenge and requested one for Trader Joe’s – I was thrilled because I KNEW it could be done, and be done well.

Trader Joe's can be an affordable place to grocery shop. This post shares how to use a $64 a week grocery budget at Trader Joe's, and score big.

I love Trader Joe’s for several reasons. I try to feed my family whole foods with limited GMOs, organic produce (as I make my way through the “dirty dozen” list), and real ingredients I can identify (and pronounce) on packaging. Trader Joe’s makes this easier. I can find fresh, organic produce for less than the major grocery store chains in our area. And, as much as it is in their control, they are committed to selling non-GMO products.

I also appreciate the ease of shopping at Trader Joe’s:

  1. There are no special sales dates to remember, reward cards or coupons (although they do accept coupons for some of the national brands that they sell). What you see is what you get. So, I do not have to worry about clipping, organizing, forgetting or losing. I have 3 children under 5 – you know the saying – “ain’t nobody got time for that.” And, because the prices typically remain the same for my staples, I have most prices memorized and can predict how much I will spend prior to arriving.
  2. The company is known for treating their workers well. Initially, you may not think this affects you, but when the workers are treated well, the customers are treated well. Always friendly, always available, always helpful (rumor has it that they will even open a package for you if you want to sample something before you buy it). If a line is too long, a cashier rings a bell, someone opens another register without asking. If you forget an item, bell rings, someone will get it for you. If you forget that although you can shop with just the stroller basket and kiddie cart, you still need a way to get 5 bags of groceries and 3 kids to the car, bell rings, and someone comes to assist you (not like that happened to me or anything).
  3. The stores are kid-friendly. Because 80% of their items are Trader Joe’s brand, there is no brand comparing. Which requires time. And space. Neither of which is your friend when shopping with children (or, some adults). Trader Joe’s is just small enough, and organized in such a way that I can typically shop with the littles in 30-40 minutes. So, imagine if you are alone. It is a bonus that some of them have preschool sized carts for “customers in training”.

Trader Joe's can be an affordable place to grocery shop. This post shares how to use a $64 a week grocery budget at Trader Joe's, and score big.

Here are a few tips to use for your Trader Joe’s shopping trip

Use the Fearless Flyer, Trader Joe’s monthly circular. It highlights any special items available for the month or season, as well as features certain staples. My experience is that special items are strategically placed throughout the store. When I first started shopping here, I would blow the budget, spending money on specialty items. By using the Fearless Flyer, I select things prior to shopping, determining if they fit the budget/menu and then I usually allow for one preselected treat or specialty item per shopping trip.

Buy seasonings/spices here. And, if you like to experiment with spices, but do not want to spend a fortune on them, Trader Joe’s is a great place to purchase them. Many spices are $1.99. One of my favorites is their 21 Seasoning Salute. Here are 21 ways to use 21 Seasoning Salute.

Start here for organics/all-natural products. Many items are definitely cheaper. If you want organic, free-range, all natural, nitrate-free etc. meat, I have found that Trader Joe’s prices are often a bit cheaper than, or at least comparable to other major stores (ex. nitrate free lunchmeat is around $3 for a package, organic chicken legs are $1.99/lb) However, comparison shop. If your local store has a deal, then you may be better off with them. The good thing is, since Trader Joe’s prices stay about the same, once you know it, it’s easier to recognize deals elsewhere.

And the moment you have been waiting for….

Here is what I purchased at Trader Joe’s for $64.04:

Trader Joe's can be an affordable place to grocery shop. This post shares how to use a $64 a week grocery budget at Trader Joe's, and score big.

I went 4 cents over because once in line, I realized that I had $4.44 remaining. I decided it would be worth it to have an extra loaf of bread in the freezer and extra box of cereal in the pantry. I am ALREADY happy I made that decision because last night the hubs decided he needed a snack and made a big bowl of cereal.

The meals I planned for the week are:
Black beans, chicken sausage and quinoa bowls (2 nights)
Lebanese-style lentil soup with sauteed spinach or spinach salad (2 nights)
Turkey burgers, baked sweet potato fries and broccoli
Penne pasta with chicken and broccoli
Breakfast burritos (using leftover beans and chicken sausage)
The cereal is for breakfast, and everything else is for lunch or snacks.

That is about it! It was such a pleasure to take this $64 challenge, and work a small grocery budget at Trader Joe’s. Thank you Amiyrah for the opportunity!!

Didn’t Kim rock that challenge? I love seeing all of the organic items that she picked up for her family of 5. It makes me think it’s possible to do this for our family too! If you’d like to learn more about Kim and her cute family, visit her at Things I Thought I’d Never.  Did you learn anything new from Kim’s post? Let us know in the comments below!

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 6.16.15

    GREAT AND AWESOME POST!!!! Tell me more about this Fearless FLyer! Never heard of it!

    • 6.17.15
      Amiyrah said:

      Me too, Noelle! I just saw that it’s available online. When Kim mentioned it in her post, I was like “wait, how did I miss this?!” I can’t wait to go back to TJ’s now.

  2. 11.6.15
    Rich said:

    Hi Amiyrah, I came across your web site today and was impressed by the headline of how much you were able to pay off over that amount of time! I have yet to read through all of the tips and tricks but I can’t imagine how my family and I would be able to survive on a $64 grocery bill each week? We too shop at Trader Joes for most of our items but some items we then go to other stores, such as Aldi’s and Target! (diapers, cleaning supplies, cat food etc) We try to eat as healthy and as organic as we can, providing we can afford it but at the end of the following week, our fridge is literally empty! My wife and I are also transitioning to being completely vegan, having just given up fish and dairy, so I wonder if you have any advice for us (or anyone else out there?) We have two young son’s, one whose 4 years old and the youngest being 10 months and we are big on having family dinners each night so my wife plans the best she can and I use leftovers for work. We all take lunches to work and pre-school so if you can help us stretch our dollar in anyway, I would love to hear back? I will also read through your site for other ways of saving!



    • 11.6.15
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Rich! While our family isn’t vegan, I’m sure that you’ll find some great ideas here on the blog, and within the $64 Grocery Budget Series. I have heard that being vegan increases your grocery budget, but you can still save by planning your meals strategically, keeping great pantry staples on hand, and finding stores that have most of what you need, and sticking with them. I’ll do my best to find a blogger that may want to contribute a “vegan on a dime” post to the blog, and hopefully once that’s up, it will help you. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you here again soon!

  3. 11.10.15
    Rich said:

    …I would be very interested in any blogs on eating, and budgeting as a vegetarian or a vegan! I will continue to look around in the $64 Grocery Budget Series and hopefully find a slightly more economic way of eating healthy! It’s crazy to me though as good, whole food, in my opinion, should be the food that’s subsidized by the food industry, rather than the not so nutritious alternatives out there!

    • 11.12.15
      Amiyrah said:

      I agree with you, Rich! We’ve had to slowly move to providing real food for our family because it can be so expensive. Since I’m neither vegetarian nor vegan, it would be difficult for me to truly do a $64 dollar budget challenge for that. Also, I could do it for one store, but those tips may not work for another store. But, I am trying to figure out how we can do this for my vegetarian and vegan readers. Thanks for commenting!

  4. 3.13.16
    Debbie said:

    I would love the whole recipe for the black bean, sausage, quinoa bowls. 🙂

    • 3.14.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Debbie, have you checked Kim’s website? She’s the writer of this blog post, so her recipe might be over there 🙂 .