8 alternative ways to shop and save money in Montreal

September 29, 2017

by Micheline-Marie Filion

Money always seems to have a curious habit of vanishing the minute you've earned it – prime suspects being the grocery store, that appointment at the massage therapist or the purchase of an artfully shredded pair of jeans for your teenager. And what’s worse, the ratio of quality to dollars invested is not always what it should be.

But how can we stem our leaking capital, or make sure that our acquisitions are worth their weight in nickel, steel and copper? By considering alternative ways of “shopping.” Here are just a few. [image credit: iStockphoto]

8 alternative ways to shop and save money in Montreal

1. Direct from the farm

If organic fruits and vegetables form part of your daily consumption, you’ll definitely benefit from signing up to the Equiterre Family Farmers network. Choose your farmer from the interactive map, pick the size of basket that’s best for you, then collect your purchase each week from a designated drop-off point (there are several hundred across Québec).

By cutting out the middleman and doing business directly with the producer, you’re ensuring the fairest price; your basket comes out cheaper than if you were purchasing the same products from the supermarket’s organic section.

2. Tracking down garage sales

Summer is garage sale season. You can find just about everything and for a fraction of the cost of buying it new. Of course, a little patience is required before coming across the item you’ve been looking for. Be systematic in planning your treasure hunts with the help of online yard sale calendars or classified ads in neighbourhood newspapers. Optimize your results by deploying these tips.

3. Strength in numbers: purchasing groups

By joining forces, members of a purchasing group can deal directly with wholesalers and producers and thus benefit from very advantageous prices. These initiatives can be found in several regions of Quebec, and have adopted a variety of formulas: bulk organic food purchasing groups based on the exchange of services or even a membership from a cooperative housing scheme (discounted insurance, telecommunication services, paint, hardware, etc.).

4. Wholesalers open to all

Most wholesalers are for retailers only. However, a little-known fact: some of them still offer their goods at “wholesale price” to the general public. This is the case for several food wholesalers, including Resto-dépôt Mayrand, Sami Fruits  and Distribution alimentaire Aubut.

Hair care products can also be obtained on the cheap from Mat & Max, everything you might need for massaging (and acupuncture, if that’s your thing) from Ivy, electronics accessories and components from Addison or the ingredients to whip up a meal from Ares Cuisine.

5. Textbook Resale Site

Long live education! Far from being free of charge, it requires a lot of resources – the textbooks bill alone hits the wallet hard with each new school year. So we couldn’t very well go without mentioning the website Meslivres.ca, which makes it easy to resell high school, college and university textbooks. Brilliant.

6. It’s all about the barter

Your Elvis statue could be transformed into a camping chair thanks to the magic of bartering. To do this, join an existing network – there are several on Facebook, including Troquer c’est gratos, for the Montréal region – or take part in an activity organized by Troc tes trucs. Sports enthusiasts can swap their board in the surf swap scheme at Archive or their outdoor gear at the annual event organized by la Cordée.

7. Group purchasing sites

There’s a ton of commercial sites where you can take advantage of attractive discounts on goods and services through group purchasing. Using volume as leverage, companies like Groupon, Tuango and Vie Urbaine (to name just a few) negotiate limited-time preferential offers with merchants and then promote them to their members (expect to receive a lot of emails!).

You can find everything from massage therapy services to gym subscriptions and even the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart. Be an informed consumer by reading through these helpful hints.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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