I shopped at Trader Joe's as a broke college student — now I make six figures. Here are 11 things I still buy there.

Author  Aleenah Ansari with cart in Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's has a lot of good products for busy students and workers.Aleenah Ansari
  • I shopped at Trader Joe's all the time as a busy student, and I still go as an adult.

  • Trader Joe's has excellent seasonal products and a great selection of flowers.

  • I love the No Joke juice shots, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and frozen blueberry waffles.

For years, I went to Trader Joe's for affordable staples, easy meals, and fun snacks when I was a busy, broke college student.

Now, I officially fit the bill of an average Trader Joe's shopper — a college-educated person making over $80,000 a year.

But I still head to the chain for quick dinners after long days, easy office lunches, and sweet treats to brighten my week.

Here are some of my favorite things to buy at Trader Joe's.

Frozen blueberry waffles are a breakfast staple for me

Trader Joe's blueberry waffles
Trader Joe's frozen blueberry waffles pair well with peanut butter.Christine Craven

A quick breakfast of a blueberry waffle with peanut butter helps me start the day. I get protein from the peanut butter and sweetness from the blueberries.

An eight-pack of Trader Joe's frozen blueberry waffles usually gets me through the week.

Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel-seasoned smoked salmon is excellent on a bagel

Trader Joe's Everything but the bagel smoked salmon
Everything But the Bagel seasoning is tasty on salmon.Aleenah Ansari

You've probably heard of the chain's Everything But the Bagel seasoning, but did you know you can get it on smoked salmon?

I love the sea-salt, garlic, and onion flavors paired with the crunch of the poppy seeds.

I put this salmon on a toasted bagel with cream-cheese for a filling breakfast or snack.

Fresh flowers add color to my home year-round

Fresh flowers at Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's has a great floral selection. Aleenah Ansari

I love that seasonal bouquets at Trader Joe's are available for under $10.

Lately I've been adding sprigs of eucalyptus to my flowers to make them extra fragrant.

I like No Joke ginger shots for a boost of energy

Trader Joe's ginger shot
Trader Joe's No Joke juice shots come in various flavors.Aleenah Ansari

Trader Joe's sells a number of No Joke juice shots made with ingredients such as turmeric, cayenne, and pineapple, but the ginger one is my favorite.

The ginger helps me feel energized, and I like having shots on hand when I don't have time to make juice at home.

When I want a sweet treat, I opt for Trader Joe's cocoa baton-wafer cookies

Trader Joe's Coca Baton
Trader Joe's has a few wafer cookies that change seasonally. Aleenah Ansari

These baton wafers are perfect for snacking on the go since the canister is easy to take to work or on a road trip.

Sometimes, I crush the wafers over ice cream to give it texture.

Organic corn-chip dippers are my vessel of choice when I want dip

Trader Joe's organic corn chip dipper
Corn-chip dippers are great for scooping up guacamole.Aleenah Ansari

The shape of these dippers makes it easy to scoop salsa or guacamole, and I also like to crumble them up into chili.

I suggest buying some for yourself and adding them to a party platter at your next gathering.

Trader Joe's peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets are my snack of choice when I want something sweet and salty

Trader Joe's peanut-butter-filled nuggets
Trader Joe's peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets are a great snack.Aleenah Ansari

I love putting peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets into a small plastic food-storage container to bring to the office or my workout class.

The pretzels are a great, crunchy balance of sweet and salty flavors.

Honeycrisp apples are a staple in my home

Trader Joe's honeycrisp apples
We always have good luck finding decent produce at Trader Joe's.Aleenah Ansari

I love getting honeycrisp apples year-round because they're so crisp and sweet, especially if you put them in the fridge.

My partner and I also use them to make fresh-pressed juice with kale, orange, and ginger.

I use Trader Joe's spice blends to add flavor to my meals

Trader Joe's seasoning shelf
The citrusy-garlic blend is worth trying if you want more tang in a dish.Aleenah Ansari

The chain's Cuban-style citrusy spice blend of garlic, lime, and onion powder is a great tangy seasoning for chicken, beef, tofu, or fish.

Sometimes, I'll even put it on rice and a boiled egg for a quick lunch.

Seasonal and specialty items are great for a change of pace

trader joes raspberry hearts
My partner and I shared these as a Valentine's Day treat, and it was a welcome change from our usual picks.Aleenah Ansari

It's always fun to see what's in Trader Joe's just for the season, whether it's pumpkin pancake and waffle mix for fall or peppermint-flavored Pretzel Sims for the holidays.

During a visit to Trader Joe's in February, I grabbed Raspberry Hearts, two shortbread cookies sandwiched together with raspberry jam.

Don't miss out on the hair masks

Trader Joe's hair mask on display
Trader Joe's shea-butter and coconut-oil hair mask is under $5.Aleenah Ansari

Don't sleep on the beauty products at Trader Joe's.

I grab Trader Joe's shea-butter and coconut-oil hair mask for $4 when I want something affordable but effective.

After I've rinsed out my shampoo, I'll apply this and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing it out. I find it helps my hair feel nourished and healthy.

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