I recently started a backyard construction project, a new home for our hot tub. I priced out the materials at our local Canadian Home Depot and was a little discouraged by the cost of things. Then I decided to take a look at what the same materials would cost south of the border. Needless to say I was shocked by finding out for my specific project I would save about 50% by shopping in Montana at the local Home Depot.
The price variance between Canada and the US at Home Depot stores is not easily explained, as it goes beyond any recent fluctuations in the currency.
So off to Montana we drove and our savings more than paid for fuel, accomodation and meals. Absolutely unbelievable what a difference there is.
While we were down there I spoke to several people about the differences. J who is a Home Depot employee was quite pleased to see me and recounted that recently many Albertans had been coming to the Great Falls Home Depot, arriving in trucks, or with trailers attached. J pointed out that Albertans were purchasing building materials and tools on the scale of building entire houses.
Perhaps a couple of examples will help you see the difference. Recently I purchased a Ryobi 12" Miter saw for $250 ish at the Calgary Home Depot. The same saw in Great Falls Home Depot is $200.00. Drywall sheets that go for around $11 each in Calgary are about $7 in Great Falls. Lumber that actually comes from Canada, is again much cheaper. I compared a Canadian top of the line fridge with a US one, same brand, almost the same model, same retailer (Home Depot) and there was a $1900 difference. That is huge! Want to compare for yourself? Canadian prices are available at www.homedepot.ca and American prices are available at www.homedepot.com . Still not sure call the closest Home Depot in the US.
I spoke to a couple of Canadians that were shopping at the Holiday Village Mall and they were proud of saving $700 on their new 42 inch flat screen TV.
We dropped into the local Party America to take a look at this awesome store that caters to special events. At this time of the year it was all Halloween stuff. Again greeting cards with that familar two tier pricing, always higher in Canadian dollars. An added bonus was that the local Party America shop was selling all cards at a 50% sale.
Bring US dollars, many merchants south of the Canadian border do not accept Canadian dollars.
Depending on the credit card you have, you may be able to get a better exchange rate than using your debit card.
Find out more about Great Falls Montana at our newest portal site: http://greatfalls.aroundmontana.com .
Read our first cross border shopping article.