Do you have caviar taste but a Talapia budget? I am pretty sure I might. Not intentionally, and not because I need to have something that is a brand name or a fad of the moment, I’m just naturally drawn to more expensive items even when I do not know the cost. My mom always says, “You get what you pay for”…and, in some cases, she is right. You can’t fake quality. But when it comes to food, there are lots of bargains to be had (yes, even on the good stuff) if you take the time to look around.
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Here in Westerly I head right to the T.J. Maxx food section. You know, those aisles in the back of the store that lure you in once your cart is already full of purses, clothing and shoes. You do not even want to know how long I could spend perusing the shelves there looking for interesting food items, kitchen treasures or paper goods. They have an abundance of British products which makes my English husband quite happy, especially since the local markets don’t seem to offer many. Chips, chocolate, coffee, tea? They have you covered. Adorable sprinkles? One stop shop. Olive Oils that won’t break the bank? Oh. My. God. Don’t even get me started. My cart gets filled and then I usually spot the super cute paper goods for baking. Straws, paper baking cups, red and white striped baking twine. I’m addicted. Those super cute little cup cake toppers? They have it all. And the best bit is…it is cheap!
If you have a TJX Rewards Card (aka credit card) they also give you points and send you coupons for ten dollars based on the dollar amount you spend. I had two on hand and gave myself an additional ten dollar budget to see what I could find for a total of thirty dollars.
The thing that makes shopping here a tad bit exciting is that you never know what you are going to find because the merchandise changes so often. I’ve always believed T.J. Maxx stores were full of buyouts or overstocks, etc. From what I’ve read, that is not true. Food items are bought directly from the makers/distributers. Another misconception is that the food is expired. I haven’t found anything past its expiration date, and I do check. It is a great shop for filling up those gift baskets or just finding that little culinary treasure that is fun to pull out when you need a little pick me up.
T.J. Maxx was founded in Massachusetts in 1976 by the same people that had originally opened Zayre. Today T.J. Maxx has over one thousand stores in the US and operates T.K. Maxx in the United Kingdom. They also run Marshalls, Homegoods, AJ Wright and Sierra Trading Post. What I like most about T.J. Maxx is that the TJX Foundation focuses their charitable giving on programs that provide services and basic-needs to disadvantaged children in the communities where they do business. So, while it is not a small business on the Main Street of a little town, it is a business where you know they are giving back and giving you a bargain in the process.
On this trip I bought pickled beets, blackberry syrup and a few specialty salts. The best part? I did not even spend all the money in the budget and still came home with some really fun items. Sometimes, during the holiday season, you can even find some of those small batch products I talked about last time. The trick is going often and maybe, more importantly, going without a plan and keeping an open mind. To check out what I did with the pickled beets see the recipe below! T.J. Maxx is located at 100 Franklin Street in Westerly. Happy shopping!