Crossing the Border Part 2: How much do Canadians actually save shopping in the US?A strong Canadian dollar has helped bring down more people from Manitoba to shop and vacation in Grand Forks. A recent CVB survey indicated that more than half of our Canadian visitors spend between 500 to 1,000 dollars per visit.
By: David Schwab, WDAZ
A strong Canadian dollar has helped bring down more people from Manitoba to shop and vacation in Grand Forks. A recent CVB survey indicated that more than half of our Canadian visitors spend between 500 to 1,000 dollars per visit.
How much they save really depends on what they are buying. But they do save money on the vast majority of goods sold here in Grand Forks. Shane Zakaluk from Manitoba made a trip down to Grand Forks and Fargo to buy the things he knows are much cheaper here than back home.
Zakaluk: "Sporting goods and building supplies.
The traffic around Grand Forks' big box stores on any given weekend increases, with a large percentage of cars with Manitoba plates.
David Flynn, UND Economic Research Director: "This is an example of consumers knowing where their dollar goes further."
Fynn says Canadians flock across the border expecting to find lower prices on a bigger variety of goods, along with their strong dollar. And they usually find it.
Flynn: "The same basket of goods cost about 30 percent more in canada than it does in the US."
David Schwab: "So what are the big bargains?"
Zakaluk : "You can redo a kitchen here for thousands of dollars less than back home."
Christine Pauls: "Clothes and we are going to be buying some building materials."
Bernie Freisen: " Shoes are definitely cheaper than they are in Canada."
Flynn: "Cereals and other staple products, diapers."
Here's a comparison on some of those items according to a price index website: 1 pair of jeans - Levis 501 or similar has an average price at Grand Forks retailers of about 37 dollars. In Winnipeg they are around 54 dollars. 1 Pair of Nike Shoes averages around 57 dollars. In Winnipeg they can be almost double that. Other goods and services are closer in price with the cost of a McDonald's Combo Meal in Grand Fork at about 6 dollars. It's $7.90 in Winnipeg. Right now gas in Grand Forks is 75 cents per gallon cheaper. A recent change that doubles the amount of goods that Canadians can take home without being taxed has increased their spending as well. A 48 hour US stay allows them to bring 800 dollars worth of goods home.
Flynn: "Now they are very interested in getting here because their dollar is going further and they are avoiding higher levels of taxation."
Shane: "Yeah, it was always a fight, the drive home, to be under our limit."
And ironically Shane makes sure he buys his Canadian beer before returning home, because that is also a bargain.
Zakaluk: "We definitely take our limit of alcohol back."
Not everything is cheaper in Grand Forks according to that price index website however. Many fruits and vegetables were less expensive at the grocery store in Winnipeg.