Some imported goods have much higher prices on the Canadian store shelves, which is why many Canadians choose to look online and buy directly from American retailers. When you want a hot brand, but you also want to save money, you can take these steps that allow you to plan your purchase and time it just right.
Find the Right Time
Just like fruits and vegetables have different seasons, so do consumer goods. When you want to save money on certain types of American brands, it pays to shop during the right month of the year. For example, January is a good time to buy linens and fitness equipment. Get a great deal on a television or on winter apparel and accessories during the month of February. According to Relex, retailers clear out the season’s items in order to make room for the new models and summer clothes.
Check Your Shipping Options
According to Need a US Address, an estimated 75 percent of Canadians live within 161 kilometers (100 miles) of the US border, but those 100 miles can cost Canadian customers hundreds of dollars. These costs also cause headaches for US businesses. The United States Postal Service, or USPS, is one option worth considering. However, international postage rates can be high. It also pays to check out faster delivery options through FedEx or UPS, which may offer competitive or even lower pricing than the USPS. Keep in mind that customs fees or VAT may apply to your purchase upon delivery.
Watch the Currency Exchange Rate
The exchange rate for your Canadian currency to an item priced in American dollars will vary by day. Although it is difficult to predict any big changes in the exchange rates, there are currency exchange rate charts available online that show you the pattern over the past 30 to 90 days. If you are making a purchase of a big-ticket item, such as electronics, jewelry or brand-name clothing, consider watching the exchange rate and timing your purchase to take advantage of any weakness in the American dollar.
Keep in mind that small pricing fluctuations, currency fluctuations and increases in postal rates could have a small effect on how much you pay when buying an item from an American retailer. Before making your purchase, also check out the consumer reviews. Consider using a credit card that offers price guarantees or protections if the price drops within a short time from your purchase date.
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