Canada can be an expensive country to live, so we have put together five money saving tips for those who are working in Canada, or planning to travel to Canada.
1. Canadian Coupons and Discount Codes
If you have travelled to Canada from Europe you are probably unfamiliar with the coupon craze, but this is not a new phenomenon in Canada. It is a very popular way to save a few dollars on shopping, clothes, food, nights out and travel. On one occasion, I entered the discount code for a hotel and it reduced the cost by $200.00! This isn’t uncommon, so make the most of these codes during your stay in Canada.
When I first arrived, I kept seeing the phrase “Enter the discount code” when I went to buy or book something online. When there is space to enter a discount code, use it! Go searching for the up-to-date discount codes for hotels, hostels, package holidays or beauty treatments.
Groupon is one of the largest deal sites in Canada. If you are badly in need of some highlights for your hair, or need to relax at a day spa, this is where you will find half-price deals. One thing to remember about Groupon is that you shouldn’t be stuck on one service provider, as it is likely that another will do a better weekly deal. So if you need a manicure, there are plenty of great beauticians - give a new one a try and get it at a bargain price!
2. Dollar Stores
You will find dollar stores and discount stores on every street in Canada. Canadians are aware that it is expensive to live in their beautiful country, and this is one way that you can tackle the finance burden. You won’t realise how important these stores are until you move into your unfurnished accommodation, which doesn’t even come with a knife and fork. These are the stores that have heaps of cutlery, dishware, candles and anything that you need to get set up in your newly rented apartment.
The Dollar Store itself is a major brand in Canada, and you will see the green signs in every city you pass by. But remember, there are also small discount stores which can be just as cheap and convenient. See a map of the discount stores in Vancouver here and Toronto here. For more vintage decorative items to make your place feel homely (like lamps, vases and radios), try rummaging in one of the many thrift shops around to see if anything takes your fancy.
3. IKEA and Canadian Tire
IKEA and Canadian Tire are your indoor and outdoor gems, respectively. IKEA is the go-to store when you move into your unfurnished apartment in Canada. As well as furniture staples like a bed, a couch, table and chairs, you can also pick up cheap cutlery, cups and everyday utensils. You should be aware that IKEAs in Canada are often located in the suburbs, making them a bit tricky to reach so you may need to hire a car for the day or avail of their home delivery service which costs a little extra.
Still on the furniture and living theme, Canadian Tire will have everything you need to adapt to outdoor life. Canada is all about outdoor living and here you will find camping equipment, bicycles, barbecues, patio sets and everything outdoorsy for bargain prices. As well as being cheap and useful, both of these stores can be a great day out and fun to stroll around with new friends.
4. Scene Cards
So you want to go to the cinema, but pay day is a week away, don’t sweat. Scene cards are a great way to get a freebie cinema night. Scene cards are a movie reward program offered by Scotiabank. You sign up, collect points, and get a free movie once you collect 1,000 points. The easiest way to collect points for your Scene card are:
- 1 movie ticket at any Cineplex = 100 points
- Food Combos = 75 – 150 points
- Purchase tickets at Cineplex.com = 20 points
There are plenty of other rewards too: Concession combos, monthly contests and music downloads.
5. Outdoor Dates
If you are single and living in Canada, then the easiest way to save money, while also on the search for a belle or beau, is to take them on an outdoor activity. Canada is renowned for its great hikes, water activities, parks and free outdoor entertainment. During the summer there are also free outdoor movies on offer in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
If you are living in Banff, then you are in the centre of a National Park. Go bear watching - what a great way to spend a day! If you are living on the east coast, take a trip to the infamous Niagara Falls or star gaze in one of Toronto’s many parks on the banks of Lake Ontario.
We will keep you up to date with more money-saving tips but in the meantime you can register with Taxback.com to file your tax return and get a few extra dollars to spend after the tax season.
Considering a move to Canada? Find out more about getting a Canadian visa here.