Shopping is cheaper in the U.S.: An excellent way for me to limit my shopping urges

It all started while I was looking for a black sweater in a decent price range.

Specifically, a pullover, perhaps with 3/4 length sleeves, in a nice fabric.

I saw this lovely sweater online at J. Crew (love the blue too!), but the minute I looked at the prices, I knew I wouldn’t be buying it, let alone buying any more clothes in Canada.

Let’s just take a look, shall we?

$65 USD for the sweater, $8.95 flat rate shipping (I could also go in-person in Toronto), but free shipping if you order over $175.

But wait!

For Canada, the price jumps up a whopping $21 USD, never mind the fact that they have a bloody store here IN TORONTO (Yorkdale mall), and they don’t even offer free shipping, but it is $1 extra:

Conclusion? I am not buying clothes in Canada any more. I can hold off, and this is a huge motivation to NOT shop.

I will only buy Canada-only products or second hand items

Aside from shopping on Etsy (love!), I will only go into those stores that don’t exist in the U.S., and/or are not U.S. owned at least.

For instance, Lululemon prices are about the same in the U.S. as they are in Canada, save for a couple of bucks, but nothing like a 30% price jump.

I also like independent designers, which is why I frequent stores on Queen Street and I like knowing the designer is in Canada, for instance.

I am not squeamish about secondhand items, although I know some people are (I totally respect that). If I can save money off the retail price of something, why the heck not!?

Even better if I can buy from fellow friends 🙂

I am patient, and frankly this stuff is unnecessary

Besides, I don’t really need any of this stuff.

I “need” a black or navy sweater, but to save 30%? Heck yes, I’ll be patient and wait all year if it takes all year.

This applies to everything I want to buy, even travel stuff. I’d rather wait and go across the border and save a good 30% or more, than buy it now and not really have an immediate use for it.

USA versus Canada: Taxes and Currency Exchange

We’ve been flirting around par (above and under) recently, and while I understand that they cannot put a fixed retail price based on a hope that the CAD and USD will be about the same (seeing as the numbers have been fluctuating since 2000), 30% is really quite a price gouge, especially since I can just wait and cross the border to buy it.

Not to mention the fact that Ontario charges a very unfriendly 13% sales tax, compared to the 8.25% in Texas, or 4% in New York, including this little gem:

On September 1, 2007, New York State eliminated sales tax on all clothing and shoes if the single item is priced under $110.


I know where I’ll be shopping from now on.

All this means for me, is that I will not be shopping as much, reminding myself that there is a 30% premium on U.S.-owned stores, and if I don’t need it right this instant, I can wait.

Thank you J. Crew, for your 30% price hike for Canadians. You’ve saved my wallet!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.