4 Reasons Trader Joe's Is a Cult Worth Joining

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  • Trader Joe's is the place to go if you love food and trying new products (and saving money in the process).
  • You can try any product for free and return things you don't like for a refund.
  • The store locations have a fun atmosphere and there are no coupons to clip or membership cards to sign up for.

It's a great place to be a foodie.

I have a confession to make: I love Trader Joe's. Thankfully, the combination of living an hour away from my closest store and also low prices means that I can shop there occasionally without busting my budget. Since I can't visit as often as I would if I lived closer, I always make it count, and use my trips to restock my pantry and freezer. Perhaps you're already a Trader Joe's shopper like I am, but if you're not, here are four reasons why you should consider checking it out.

1. New and interesting products

I love to cook and experiment with food, but as a busy working professional who is also trying to be wiser with money, I try not to go overboard on my weekly local grocery store runs.

But I get to spread my culinary wings at Trader Joe's, because it always has new things to try. Sometimes these are seasonal (for example, it usually has new pumpkin spice products in the fall, if you're a fan of that flavor profile), but not always. And since Trader Joe's frequently rotates its products, if you love something and are lucky enough to spot it a second time, stock up! I get a little wistful about some of the products that have been discontinued over the years, but enough of my favorites remain on the shelves that I always go shopping with certain items in mind and get them if I can find them.

I have a close friend who is also a TJ's super fan, and he says that he goes for the novel things you just won't find in other grocery stores. We live in different parts of the same state, and so we'll often text each other notes about new products we spotted at the stores closest to us, or even send photos of our most recent TJ's hauls. (Yes, we're food geeks.)

2. Well-maintained stores (and free samples)

Trader Joe's has over 530 locations, and while I've only shopped at a handful of them (I will often check out a new-to-me location if I'm on a trip!), I always find clean, well-maintained stores with beautiful displays of products and friendly, helpful staff members.

New products are advertised around the store with colorful chalkboard signs, and you can sometimes try free samples of new products at a designated location in the store. Trader Joe's also has a generous return policy (if you buy something and don't like it, you can return it). And with a few exceptions (such as alcoholic beverages), you can ask a staff member if you want to sample just about anything before committing to buy it. What a great way to keep more money in your bank account!

3. Everyday savings in a fun atmosphere

TJ's has a tropical feel, with staff members often dressed in Hawaiian shirts and fun music playing over the store speakers. The marketing department puts a lot of time and effort into the Fearless Flyer, an in-store and web-based circular that describes new products and offers tips and recipes. The chain takes its role as a "neighborhood grocery store" seriously, and doesn't sell any products online, putting all efforts into making the in-person shopping experience as good as possible. It also doesn't do sales, instead offering great deals every day without coupons or membership cards.

4. It has a podcast!

If you need a hit of TJ's culture when you're not in a store, you can check out its podcast, which is called Trader Joe's (Inside). This podcast doesn't keep to a regular schedule, and instead new episodes are released when new products come out (such as with the changing seasons) or to offer fun insights like interviews with real staff members. Trader Joe's (Inside) is a great way to keep abreast of the happenings at TJ's.

I just made a trip to Trader Joe's recently, and I'm already looking forward to my next shopping adventure there. If you've never been to one, you're missing out!

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