Friday, March 25, 2011

Trader Joe's, Will You Marry Me?

Groceries are extraordinarily expensive. I try to buy mostly organic, so they end up being even more expensive. My mom has been telling me (for over a year) to try Trader Joe's. I kept meaning to go over there, I really did, but I was addicted to ordering my groceries online, with Fresh Direct. It was so convenient, but also pretty pricey.

Yesterday, I had a playdate, and I made Mac and Cheese for the kids' lunch. My friend saw the box and commented:
"You know, Trader Joe's Mac and Cheese is like 99 cents."

My jaw hit the floor. It was then that I knew I needed to get over there immediately.

I'd heard enough tales of Trader Joe's cheapness. I was ready to embark there with the two young ones.

Today, I left the house, and decided that I would take a taxi over there. I figured, I would be saving so much money once I got there, that the taxi fare wouldn't be too bad, plus I had two kids with me. Ari was pleased.

The cab ride to Trader Joe's cost us $9.00. When we got there, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many aisles and everything was so cheap! Ari was pleased to simply sit in a grocery cart.

A kind security guard took my stroller and put it at the front desk for me.

People in the store began to get annoyed with me because I was standing in the produce aisle, blocking their way. I was so surprised at how cheap everything was that I keep re-reading the signs.

"I'm sorry," I kept saying. "This is my first time here, I'm really overwhelmed."

I was also terrified that Samara was going to wake up at any given moment and want to nurse. She didn't, thank goodness. She slept through the whole shopping trip!

Ari got a free cookie, they were giving out samples, and at the checkout counter, he got stickers!

I noticed there was a bunch of moms shopping there. That's why they have cookies and stickers on hand.

Here's the best part. I was throwing things into my cart left and right, and I was terrified of what the total would be. Four enormous bags of groceries cost me...drum roll please...$98.00!
I couldn't believe it. I was expecting the total to be at least $150.

Here are some of the items I got:
Kosher Organic Chicken Breast
Kosher Ground Turkey
Organic Peanut Butter
Organic Eggs
Toilet Paper
A giant bag of grapefruit
A giant bag of navel oranges
Organic bread crumbs
A gallon of Organic Milk
Wheat bread
2 bags of organic broccoli florets (fresh)
A package of zucchini
Organic vegetable broth
2 boxes of Trader Joe's frozen pizzas
32 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A giant cucumber
Organic Bananas

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but you get the idea.

After we checked out, one of the women who worked there, for the sake of anonymity we'll call her "Brenda," helped us out of the store, called us a taxi and loaded the groceries into the taxi trunk for us! We spent the time waiting for the taxi talking about kids. She told me about her three girls, two Virgos and a Pisces, ages 7 months, four and nine years old.

Before the taxi came I realized I needed to get cash. Ari, Samara and I dashed across the street to the ATM. Ari was furious at me for not letting him push the buttons, but I was in a rush, Brenda was watching the groceries and I didn't want to miss our ride home!

The taxi ride home was $10 with tip.

Here's a cost break down:
$98 groceries
$19 cabs
Total: $117

When I order groceries from Fresh Direct, I spend anywhere from $130-150 a week. Even with the cab ride, I saved money. Plus Fresh Direct, to my knowledge, does not give away free cookies and stickers.

Additionally, if I leave the kids at home with Wil or my mom next time, I'll save the $19 in taxi money.

Who else likes Trader Joe's?


  1. I'm sorry, Trader Joe's cannot marry you... because I have it held captive in my basement.

    I shop there every week! Huge selection of organic and fair trade items. Stickers and toys for the kiddies. AND awesome prices! They don't pay for advertising.... so we get the savings!

  2. I still can't believe that was your first trip there

  3. Mommy Nani Booboo- Oh shoot! I knew it was too good to be true! YAY for TJS! Stickers!

    Fan- I know! Neither can I! I waited too long to go. But I am so happy I finally did!

  4. Love Trader Joes. We Canadians always stop there on the way home! I'm impressed that you went by taxi with TWO kids. That's BRAVE!


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