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Cross-Border Grocery Shopping (ALL)

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, June 25, 2012 | 1 comments
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For those that don't know, I live in Southern Ontario, just outside of Toronto.

On Saturday, we went to Niagara Falls, NY to go cross-border shopping - for the first time. I'm not much of a shopper, so never saw the need before - but a friend told us he buys all his groceries and gas there and saves so much money. So I thought we should check it out!

BTW, I had never been close to the US side of the falls, and always thought it was fairly straight across. I had no idea that it was curved as well!

We walked around the Outlet Mall for a while, then grocery shopped at Walmart - and I would say we cut our bill IN HALF - even without using coupons. I often buy store brand, but even buying store brand in the US Walmart was almost half-price - sometimes even more!

Some examples to compare:
• Baking soda - $0.99 in Canada - $0.52 in the US
• Heavy Whipping Cream - $6.99 in Canada - $2.96 in the US
• Cinnamon Toast Cereal - $6.95 in Canada - $3.98 in the US
• Coffeemate Hazelnut creamer - $5.95 for a small bottle in Canada - $5.18 for twice the size!
• Folgers coffee - $6.99 in Canada - $5.18 in the US
• Shredded cheese - $5.95 in Canada - $2.18 in the US
• Salted Butter - $4.59 in Canada - $2.68 in the US
• Eggs - 18 pack - $4.49 in Canada - $2.22 in the US
(Canadian prices are in Canadian dollars, US prices in US dollars - but the exchange rate is about $0.03 difference)

Plus we bought a 20" box fan - $32.99 in Canada - $15.88 in the US.

Oh, and the gas prices! We usually pay about $5.00 plus/gal. for gas - and it was $3.61/gal - so we filled up!

We made a day of it - we went with friends, saw the sites, had dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet for $7.00, and went to a karaoke bar in the evening - so it was much more than just shopping!

Was it worth the trouble? We had no problems crossing the border, the wait time was reasonable, and we split the cost of the gas to get there with our friends.

Coming back, we saved all our receipts to present at the border, we spent about $103 total, not counting lunch. Since we are allowed $250 each if returning within 24 hours, we didn't have to pay any duty or additional taxes.

The gas savings alone was about $22, and the groceries half the price. To just go shopping each week, and only get a few things would not be worth it. But if you did a big shopping, say $250, your savings could be about $125, plus the gas savings - so yes, it feels worth it.

NOTE - If any of the above links are not working or the freebies or coupons no longer available, please post a blog comment below and I'll edit it!

- This was posted by Catherine on June 25, 2012 -

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About Catherine: I have been writing frugal tips since 1982, when I was a young divorced mom of two - for my baby product company, Born to Love. I am now mom to three sons, who are all grown up - and re-married to a wonderful man. We have rescued two little dogs, Denny and Dexter - and Bella, the cat.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow...so expensive! I'm a Canadian living in Oregon and am always blown away when I go back and am reminded how expensive Canada is!

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