The majority of Canadians think it is not worth shopping in the US due to the recent decline in the Canadian dollar. It is possible to compensate for the lower Loonie with the right approach. The following few tips will help you avoid the currency trap.
Pre-plan your trip
With the unfavorable currency exchange rate that we are currently witnessing, shoppers become more selective about the deals. Make sure you go online and sign up with retailer email lists and loyalty programs for coupons that can save up to 15% or more. Many of them require that you print the discounted coupons and bring them with you while other retailers allow you to sign up in-store. You can find these offers at CrossBorderShopping.ca, mall and retailer websites and newspapers.
Stay longer than 24 hours in the US to increase your duty free allowance. For trips longer than 24 hours, the allowance goes up from $0 to $200 per person, and for trips longer than 48 hours, the allowance is $800. Do your own online research and you are bound to find hotel deals that offer shopping packages for Canadians at popular cross-border shopping destinations.
Minimize foreign exchange fees
Most financial institutions will charge you anywhere from 1% – 3.5% commission for converting your money from one currency to another. You can avoid the conversion fees by using cash and converting your money before you travel. You can also stick to the cards that have no foreign transaction fees and avoid ATM machines in the US.
Fill up gas in the US
It is no secret that gas is usually 20-25% cheaper in the US than Canada. You can use this calculator to be specific www.crossbordershopping.ca/us-gas-savings-calculator
Time shopping trips around sales
It’s not a secret that US retailers offer much steeper discounts and better selections during the sales season than Canadian sales events. There are a few big sales to watch for throughout the year (at least 10-15 big ones), such as: National Holiday Sales (Columbus Day, Fourth of July, etc.), Seasonal Sales, Event Sales (Black Friday, Back to School, etc.), and Annual Retailer Sales.
Shop in tax free states
You can save money by shopping in one of the following states depending on your locations and items you are looking to take home. Minnesota and Pennsylvania have no sales taxes on clothing and shoes, as well as some baby products and toiletries. Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon have no state sales taxes while North Dakota has a sales tax refund program for Canadians.
Shop online and ship to the border
One way to avoid international shipping fees that often negate savings is to have all items delivered to a US shipping address location to pick them up. There are many shipping addresses https://www.crossbordershopping.ca/shipping-importing/ship-to-the-border that provide this service along the border for as low as $5-$10.
We hope these tips help you save money and time on your next cross border shopping adventure. Remember, if you have any questions feel free to contact us here at Arbetov Insurance, we are always happy to help find the perfect financial solution for you!