Saving money on shopping

When I came to Canada with my wife and child, I came with 6 bags and 3 hand bags. I left all my other possessions back home – furniture, excess clothes and all my other household and personal items. Some of these items have been sold or then distributed free of cost by my parents. Some which I am sentimentally attached to, I will get when I make trips back to my home country. I choose not to have all these items shipped to me because it was not worth the cost. I would have spent close to $2,000 in shipping old items, which if I invest here I will get all new stuff. Also, there are many things I could not get to Canada, e.g. electrical items like my TV or microwave etc. The voltage difference makes these items incompatible.

As you set up your house and begin your new life in Canada, you will need to buy various things. These may be items for your house or personal items. In my estimation, for a family of 4 with a 2 bedroom house, you may need to spend approx. $3,000 to set yourself up if you buy everything new. And my objective here is to help you not to spend so much.

One thing you need to understand (which came as a shock to me) is that retailers in Canada are free to set the purchase price of the items they sell. There are no government rules or recommended retail price set by the manufacturer. Therefore an item at one store may be available at $2:00 and another store for $3:00.  And sometimes you get amazing deals on products. E.g. a shampoo that you may use is available at $1:00 a bottle, while it may regularly priced at $3:50 a bottle. At these times I recommend that you stock up. You don’t know when such a deal may come again.

Money Saving Option 1 – Get ‘USED’ stuff

The value of used items in Canada is very low. So when people buy new items, they end up just discarding their old one. If a person is getting rid of a lot of things at once, they may try to hold a ‘Garage Sale’. In either case, you can get many of the things you need free or at a very low-cost. In apartment buildings when people move, they end up throwing away so many things that they cannot carry or don’t want any more.

Don’t be shy about using these ‘USED’ items. Most of them are still in very good working condition. With a little bit of cleaning, they will look almost brand new. For newcomers, this is a great way to save money and set themselves up quickly.

A great way to shop for used items is also online at site like or These sites are free listing sites, and you can get loads of free and/or very cheap stuff here.

Money Saving Option 2 – Check your Flyers

Flyer are something that retails use as a marketing tool attract customers to their outlet. They are published almost every week by each retailer and will tell you what products they are giving on discount that week. And flyers are published by all kinds of retailers – furniture, groceries, personal items, apparel, pharma, electronics, etc.

If you live in an apartment building, these flyers will get delivered to your building every week. If you live in a house, then you may get them in your mail. But even if you don’t get a physical copy, you can find these flyers online at the retailer’s website or then on a site like

So make sure you compare the prices before you buy. And as a rule of thumb, items at a discount store will be cheaper than in regular full service stores.

Money Saving Option 3 – Go Online for the best deals

Besides flyers, you can some amazing deals online. The cost associated with selling things online are very low and these savings are passed on to the customers. A small example, I wanted to buy replacement batteries for my cordless phone. When I went to the store, I got an estimate of $60, and online I was able to purchase it at $25.

Any item that is available in a store is available online to purchase. So if you see an item that you like and want to buy, look for it online. But to shop online you will need to have a credit card and so make sure you get one from a Canadian financial institution. Many of you may be fearful of online fraud and the financial loss you may face. But credit card companies protect you from fraud, and legitimate online sites have fraud protection built into their online shopping sites. So I would definitely recommend this channel because of the enormous cost savings.

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