With the Canadian dollar flirting with parity with the U.S. dollar yet again, Canadians can't help but consider shopping stateside to score some great discounts.
Keep in mind that there are limits you have to adhere to when crossing back over into Canada. Always declare what you've purchased, and the rule of thumb is: the longer you stay in the U.S., the more you are allowed to bring back without having any duties or taxes levied.
Finally, let's not forget to also factor those deep sales that happen, especially on Black Friday.
With the above in mind, there are certain categories of goods and services that are usually cheaper in the U.S. than in Canada, even without equal currency values, sales tax savings or major sales.
The printed word tends to be cheaper in the U.S., partly because suggested retail prices are usually printed on the book itself, and retailers are not likely to want to reprice their books based on currency fluctuations. If Canadians don't want to head over to the States every time you want to buy a book, buying your books online will probably score you a better deal than going to your local bookstore.
A vice to be sure, but many Canadians might find more of a financial incentive to quit or cut back on this habit than their American counterparts. Why? Because cigarettes are significantly more in Canada than in the States. A pack of Marlboro cigarettes costs around $10 in Canada, but cost only around $6 in the United States. To be fair, cigarettes are taxed heavily in Canada and this is one of the major reasons for the increased cost.
The duty to ship tires across the border is around 7%, but according to an article written by moneyville.ca, tires in Canada cost a minimum of 13 - 25% more than the price of their American counterparts and many tires even cost upwards of 50% more. What gives? Even tires made in Canada can be found for less in the U.S., even if you can see the factory right outside of your door. The solution? Buy your locally made tires online and have them shipped from the States right back across the border.
There are rules and regulations of what you can and cannot bring over the border, and you will have to declare any foodstuff purchased in the U.S. With that in mind, even grocery shopping in the States can be cheaper than in Canadian supermarkets. Some examples listed on numbeo.com are: chicken breasts are roughly 40% less, 1 liter milk is around 50% less, rice runs about 38% less and loaf of white bread runs over 12% less in the U.S.
Unsurprisingly, gas is also cheaper in the United States by about 25%. Don't be fooled by that gallon-to-liter conversion, just multiply what Canadians pay per liter by 3.78, to get the American equivalent. So if gas is about $1.31 per liter in Canada, it should be $4.95 per gallon in the United States. But are Americans paying those prices? No.
Average gas prices hover around $3.74 per gallon range, which translates into roughly 99 cents per liter.
This is just a comparison between Canada and the United States. For many people visiting Canada, the prices in their home country tends to be a lot more expensive, and they consider Canada to be a haven of great deals. As a Canadian, you can save a lot by spending stateside, but don't forget to factor in the extra costs of lodging, travel, food and taxes/duties.