We all know it’s best not to tackle grocery lists on an empty stomach, but here are some lesser-known tricks for navigating and saving money at our favorite supermarket.

By Susan Brickell
Updated December 27, 2017
Trader Joe's Storefront
Credit: BackyardProduction/Getty Images
Trader Joe's Storefront
Credit: BackyardProduction/Getty Images

Don’t Overlook the Fearless Flyer

Trader Joe’s may not have a loyalty rewards program, but you can discover deals through the store’s newsletter, the Fearless Flyer, which is published eight times a year and highlights featured products, new items, and details on promotions.

Return Anything You Want

TJ’s has a “no questions asked” return policy on all their goods, so if you find something not to your liking—whether it has gone bad, is damaged, or is just not your taste—you can return it at any time. Just make sure to keep those receipts!

The Store Bells Actually Mean Something

Confused by all the dinging at checkout? Ringing bells is how the floor team communicates: one ring means it’s time to open up another register, two means there’s a question at checkout, and three is a call for the manager to come over.

RELATED: Every Trader Joe’s Location Opening in 2018 (So Far)

Participate in Their Contests and You Could Save Money

Check the website for contest announcements that invite customers to help name new products and nominate their all-time favorites from the past year. Winners receive Trader Joe’s gift cards.

Load Up on All the Ingredients You Need for a Single Recipe

The Trader Joe’s website also has a recipes tab at the top, which highlights a featured dish and below that, you’ll find recipe—made up of all ingredients that can be found at your local TJ’s store—organized by course.

Gluten-free, Kosher, or Vegan? No Problem

Scroll to the bottom of the Trader Joe’s website and you’ll see a column of dietary lists, making it easier for customers with dietary restrictions to find products to fit their needs.

RELATED: These Are the 50 Most Popular Trader Joe’s Products of All Time

There’s a Hack for Trying Free Samples

Most locations have a free samples station in the back that features new items and some longtime favorite to snack on while you shop. However, if you’re curious to try something, just ask an employee. The team members have permission to open any ready-to-eat item in the store so you can test it out before you take the plunge.

Keep Clipping the Coupons

Trader Joe’s may not discount its products, but you can still save money on name-brand items (like Annie’s) when you present manufacturer coupons at the register.

Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

If you bring your own shopping bag and spend at least $25 in store, you can be entered to win a $25 gift card in the Trader Joe’s weekly raffle. If you don’t see the raffle tickets at checkout, make sure to ask the cashier.

Entertain Your Kids While You Check Off Your Grocery List

A TJ’s employee confirmed on Reddit that each store has a stuffed animal hiding somewhere within it. This sort of scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep children occupied while parents get their shopping done. Once the child finds the missing toy, they can bring it to customer service and receive a prize.