40 Ultimate Canadian Shopping Hacks
  • November 21, 2016
  • By Steven Zussino
  • Shop
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40 Ultimate Canadian Shopping Hacks

I love sharing my shopping hacks with my fellow deal seekers! Here are 40 of my favourite shopping hacks for Canadian stores:



1. Buy Prescription Drugs at Costco Without a Membership

Membership warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco have good prices on prescription drugs — and you don’t have to be a member to buy them. Because access to drugs is regulated by the federal government, warehouse stores aren’t legally allowed to require membership in order for customers to use the pharmacy. So go take advantage of the low prices and don’t worry about purchasing a membership.

2. Find cheap “Add-on” items to meet the minimum free $35 shipping level at Amazon.ca.

Amazon offers thousands of useful “add-on” items like lip balm, toilet paper, soap, and pasta for prices that are really cheap!

To buy Add-on Items:

  1. Look for the Add-on Item badge C:\B63C8F45\1AE479BF-E18E-4AFE-B4E6-3E16B9A9B7B9_files\image001.jpg while shopping on Amazon.ca or the blue title bar around Add to Cart.

Include the Add-on Item in an order that includes $25 or more of items shipped by Amazon.ca (including items sold by an Amazon Marketplace seller and shipped by Amazon).

3. Guaranteed price adjustment if you find a lower price within 7 days of ordering.

Have you ever bought something on Amazon only to see the price drop shortly after your purchase?

If the price drops on a product you’ve purchased within the first seven days after you purchased, you have the option of requesting a refund on the price difference from Amazon.

Amazon.ca Price Adjustment.

Amazon.ca Price Adjustment.

To receive the discount, simply visit their contact page and your most recent order should be pulled up. You can choose to contact Amazon by email, phone or chat. In my experience, chat is the fastest way to get the refund, but email is ideal if you don’t have time to chat with a rep.

This policy is specific to items both sold and shipped by Amazon. It can’t be used on items sold by a third-party site and fulfilled by Amazon.

4. Use Keepa to get alerts on Amazon.ca price drops and to be able to see price history

This is a great free Chrome Extension tool I use to post all the Amazon.ca deals for our readers. It shows a bar graph of the price history of the item (easy reporting extension) right beneath its basic information on Amazon.

Keepa Extension Example.

Keepa Extension Example.

5. Turn in old MAC makeup containers for free lipstick.

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If you’ve been hoarding your old MAC makeup, by participating in the Back-to-MAC program, you can turn 6 of their packaging containers into a brand new lipstick of your choice as a reward! Available in-store at the counter and even online for those who don’t live near a MAC store.

6. Recycle the packaging from Lush to get a free face mask.

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Many of eco-friendly Lush’s great products come without any packaging at all. However, their liquid, jelly-type products are packed in these little black recycled plastic pots. If you bring 5 empty pots into one of their stores, they’ll reward you with a free face mask!

7. Rent a truck/cargo van/ or trailer at Home Depot for short periods to move large items.

The Home Depot offers quick and easy truck rentals at competitive prices. Our rent a truck selection allows you to transport small and large items safely to your home, office or job site without damaging your vehicle with an oversize load. With rental locations across Canada, we make it easy for you to find what you need, when you need it so you can get your project done right.

Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks that carry up to 3,000 lbs

with drop-down sides for easy loading and unloading.


First 90 minutes: $24.95

Each additional 15 minutes: $5.00

No mileage charge

Participating Locations

Cargo Vans

Cargo vans that carry up to 3,000 lbs with 278 cubic feet of storage space and seating for two.


First 90 minutes: $24.95

Each additional 15 minutes: $5.00

No mileage charge


4′ x 8′ open utility trailers: carry up to 4,000 lbs

6′ x 10′ closed trailers: carry up to 1,900 lbs


Open Trailer: $24.00/day

Closed Trailer: $29.00/day

No mileage charge


8. The Bay offers free personal shopping.

Their personal shopping service is a complimentary service & is by appointment only at The Bay Queen Street. Whether you need a new look for business, evening or special event their Personal Shopper can provide you with the professional and friendly service to make you feel and look great.

• Wardrobe consultations, Men & Women

• Personalized Shopping

• Corporate Gift Shopping


9. Bring in old clothes to H&M and save 15%.

You can bring in your old clothes—any brand, in any condition—and get a 15% savings certificate. The donation bins are located near the cash registers. Simply locate an employee and let them know you have some clothes to donate. They will watch you put the clothes in the bin and reward you with a coupon good for 15% off your next in-store purchase. The coupons even work on sale items! (But not on special promos like BOGO or special combo promotions.)

You can donate up to two bags a day, and the coupons are good for several months at a time. Each bag should contain at least three to five articles of clothing. You can even donate non-clothing textiles like sheets and towels.


10. Get free samples with every online order at Sephora.


Machine generated alternative text: 3 free samples WITH EVERY ORDER • You choose your samples • Options updated weekly SEE THE SAMPLE SELECTION ONLINE & IN STORES

I love shopping at Sephora.com for the free samples! I get three samples with every order with no Sephora coupon code. But the best part (the one that not everybody knows about) is the fourth free sample. There’s always a variety to choose from. Just bookmark this Sephora weekly promotions page to select the freebie and get the coupon code. I chose Free Smashbox Camera Ready Cream mini with $25 purchase.

Limit one Sephora coupon per order.


11. Stock up at twice annual sales in April & November at Sephora.

Every April and November Sephora holds its semi-annual sale for beauty insiders. In mid-April, expect to see 10% off for beauty insiders and 15% off for VIBs. In early-mid November, look for 15-20% off, respectively. The sales last about a week. However, November’s semi-annual sale runs almost right into Black Friday and holiday sales.

Speaking of Black Friday, don’t waste your time at Sephora on that crazy day. Sure, there are lots of gift sets valued at 20-$35 selling for $10, but you can continue to buy them anytime between Black Friday and the holidays.

12. Get free price-drop alerts from Shoptagr or Nifti.


The Shoptagr bookmarklet allows you to select the item, size, and color you’d like to buy, then sets an alert that’ll tell you when the price drops by your selected 25% or 50%.

So, another option is the Nifti app. The app also lets you set notifications for price drops on specific items. It’ll send you an email or push notification once an item hits your designated price.

13. Use the If app to find items on eBay and Etsy.

if app

Using the If app (available on Apple and Android) for finding items that are no longer in stock online. The If app allows you to create ‘recipes’ for nearly anything (think “If I upload a pic to instagram, send it to dropbox” or “If it’s going to rain, send me a text”).

Create an alert like “If there is an eBay listing for Fluevog shoes under $50, send me a push notification.”

14. Create a second email address for retailer newsletters.

create new email address

Signing up for retailer newsletters is one of the best ways to find out about sales and coupons. But promotional emails can quickly hijack your inbox, so it’s worth creating a separate, free account. That way, you get all the benefits of being in the loop.

15. Earn cash back for online purchases through Swagbucks.

These 17 Online Shopping Hacks Will Save You Thousands

Along with earning Swagbucks (points that you can accumulate and exchange for gift cards or cash) for taking consumer research surveys, you can also earn Swagbucks just for shopping. Get up to 40 Swagbucks per dollar spent when you buy products from major retailers through Swagbucks’s platform. When shopping via Swagbucks, each point per dollar earned is like getting 1% back on your purchase. I find their returns usually post quicker than other cash-back portals.

16. Sears Canada KidVantage Grow Out Guarantee

The KidVantage Grow Out Guarantee promises that if your child grows out of an article of clothing purchased at Sears, you can exchange it for the next size up before the end of the current school year.

Sears recognizes that kids outgrowing newly-bought clothes or starting the school year in oversized attire to accommodate a pending growth spurt is a challenge among Canadian families that requires a solution. With 71% of Canadian parents surveyed agreeing that the Grow Out Guarantee is appealing, Sears is helping to create, for Canadian families, a more positive back-to-school shopping experience.

Sears continues to offer the KidVantage Lifetime Wear Out Warrantee, which covers children’s clothing and footwear as long as a child in the family continues to wear the size.  If kids wear out their Sears purchased clothing and footwear, Sears will repair or replace it with the identical item in the same size or, if it’s unavailable, a similar item of equal value in the same size.

17. Save on Foods The Always Lowest Guarantee

If you see a lower advertised price for your favourite item, bring in the ad and we’ll match it*.

The Always Lowest Guaranteed program is available in Calgary, Tsawwassen, Vancouver Island, Cochrane and Regina.

*If a major competitor within a geographical trade area offers a lower advertised price on any identical grocery item (brand, size, etc.) we will match the competitor’s price only during the effective date of the competitor’s advertisement.  ‘Major competitors’ and ‘geographical trade areas’ are determined solely by us and are based on a number of factors which can change from time to time.  Excludes ‘multi-buys’ (eg. 2 for $4), ‘speed x get x’, ‘Free’, percentage discounts and discounts obtained through loyalty programs.  You must bring in the competitors advertisement to our customer service desk prior to the expiry of the advertisement in order for us to provide you with the price match.  We reserve the right to limit quantities.  Offer entitles customer to one (1) item per product family free of charge.  Additional items will be at competitor’s advertised price.  Offer not available to team members of Overwaitea Food Group or their immediate family members or persons living in same household


18. Home Depot Canada Meet and Beat

Find a lower regular or advertised price and they’ll BEAT it by 10%

This Price Guarantee applies to identical In-Stock items at The Home Depot retail location you visit. No Special Orders (with the exception of Special Order appliances only) or rain checks. This guarantee does not apply to competitor online prices or offers. Applies to everyday and sale pricing. The Home Depot reserves the right to verify the price and availability of the product at the local competitor location before honouring this offer. Price confirmation from a competitor must be presented to The Home Depot during the effective dates of the competitor’s flyer. This Price Guarantee excludes typographical or other errors, free offers, gifts with purchase, gift cards, gift certificates, rebates, clearance or close-out prices, credit or financing programs, used, damaged, returned, open box or display merchandise, bid pricing, volume discounts, Special Orders (other than appliances excluding GE Café™ brand), sales tax, online purchases, delivery or assembly services, labour, installation, and products and services furnished by our Installation Services. Discount applied before taxes and environmental stewardship fees or other levies, if applicable. We reserve the right to limit quantities to an amount reasonable for a residential homeowner. This Price Guarantee cannot be combined with any other offer.


19. Scanning Code of Practice – what you need to know

The Scanning Code of Practice (technically called the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code) is endorsed by the Competition Bureau, evolving through the collaborative efforts of the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (former).

What are the features of the Scanning Code of Practice?

If the scanned price of a non-price ticketed item (an item with a barcode that doesn’t have a price tag stuck to it) is higher than the shelf price or any other displayed price, the customer is entitled to receive the item free, up to a $10 maximum. When the item has a price tag, the lowest price applies. When identical items are incorrectly priced, the second one will be sold at the correct price.

Does the Code apply to all retail outlets?

No, participation in the code is voluntary. The Code covers all scanned merchandise at participating retail outlets (a list of participants can be accessed here, near the bottom of the page). Look for this sign at store entrances or checkouts:

Machine generated alternative text: Scanning Code of Practice If the scanned price of a non-price ticketed item is higher than the shelf price or any other displayed price, the customer is entitled to receive the first item free, up to a $10 maximum. If a Code of Practice problem cannot be resolved at the store level, please call 1-866-499-4599 to register your complaint. Code de procédure d'application pour le balayage électronique Si le prix d'un produit non étiqueté lu par balayage est plus élevé que le prix affiché en magasin ou tout autre prix affiché, le client obtiendra le premier article gratuitement, jusqu'å un maximum de 10 $. Si un probléme concernant le Code de procédure d'application pour le balayage électronique ne peut étre réglé en magasin, vous pouvez appeler au numéro 1-866-499-4599 afin d'y soumettre votre plainte. CFIG FCEI CACDS Endorsed by: I Parrainé par : Canadå


20. Shop at Costco without a membership

If you are not a member you cannot buy this card online (unless you see one on eBay). Have a friend with a Costco Membership pickup a $25 Costco Cash cards next time they’re in the store, or online.

Bring one of the Costco Cash cards with you into the store, using it to gain access at the entrance (usually need to flash the membership card).

Go to the membership desk and get a temporary membership card (one-day preview).

Shop for whatever you might need knowing there will be no additional fees or surcharges.

When you check out, make a partial payment with your Costco Cash card, and pay the remaining balance with either cash or your ATM card.

The main problem with this strategy is that when the card runs out of money, you cannot recharge it yourself, you have to ask the Costco member to do it for you.


21. Free Price Adjustments

Paribus gets you price adjustments automatically (a $60 per year savings for me).

Machine generated alternative text: $9.45 $87.99 SAVED! Print .11 $136

Paribus puts effortless money in your pocket. Sure, many stores guarantee the lowest price for 7-14 days after your purchase. The only problem? Stores don’t seek you out to make sure they follow through. Paribus is an app that makes sure they do.

Paribus scans your inbox for order confirmation emails and then scours the web for a lower price. When they find a better price, Paribus contacts the retailer on your behalf, then you’re refunded the difference, usually via your original form of payment. Paribus keeps a 25% cut of your returned cash (their fee), but you can get that fee completely waived by referring 5 friends. If you spend $750 this year online, chances are, you’ll get close to $60 back. The best part: It’s all automatic once you sign up.

Paribus works with popular retailers like Amazon and more.

22. Next time you are at Ikea, check out the “As-is” Section

It’s basically the clearance area. This is where you’ll find returned, damaged, and previously displayed items marked as much as 50% off original prices. Shopping in this section is the absolute best way to score a deal at IKEA.


Before shopping in the store, make a list online and print it out.


If you make a shopping list on the Ikea website, you can have your items sorted in the order in which they can be found in the warehouse.

23. Use Hopper to find the best prices.

Save up to 40% on your next flight. Hopper analyzes billions of flight prices daily to predict how prices will change, advising you to buy or wait.

It’s like having a super-fast, all-knowing travel agent in your pocket!


Hopper shows you the best time to go, and predicts the right time to book your flights, advising you to buy now or wait for a better price.

Watch a trip to get notified the moment that prices drop and before they’re about to rise. Hopper will tell you current prices, and whether you should book now, or keep waiting.

Get customized tips to snag an even better deal, like adjusting your travel dates or airport. Plus, Hopper notifies you of deals & exclusive sales available from your home airport.\

24. Wait for the semi-annual sales at Victoria’s Secret

You’ll get the biggest savings at the VS Semi-Annual sales, which typically happen in December and July online and then in stores a month later. You can get up to 70% off items while supplies last.


25. Get deals in your neighbourhood – Craigslist

Get an email when a new Craigslist post matches your search

Get emails for new posts from any Craigslist search.



26. Markdowns at Old Navy happen on Sunday and Monday.

New markdowns come out every Sunday, but depending on a variety of factors, markdowns may not be complete until close on Monday.


27. Price tags ending in $0.47 are final price markdowns at Old Navy.

The one thing we do know is that when a clearance tag always end in 7 or 9 and when you see a tag that ends with the digits $0.47, it means it’s the final sale price. It will rarely be marked down again.

28. Sign up for Old Navy emails and receive a 20% off coupon.

Sign up to be an email subscriber and immediately receive a 20% off Old Navy coupon for your entire order.


You’ll also get a birthday coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase!

29. Use Checkout51 to get extra money back on your purchases.

Checkout 51 is a rebate app.

Select the items you bought in the Checkout 51 app, upload your receipt, and within an hour your purchases should be verified. Once you meet the $20 minimum, you can cash out and you’ll get a check in the mail.

30. Use Cosign to earn extra money on your purchases

COSIGN connects you to your favourite brands and retailers in just one tap. COSIGN is the first app to make products in your photos ready-to-buy, turning your social media followers into customers and your style into a way to earn cash rewards.


If you’re a fashionista and you get a thrill from sharing your outfits and lipstick choices with your friends on social media, you should definitely be using CoSign. With CoSign you can earn money by tagging your purchases, outfits you’re wearing in photos, etc., and if anyone purchases an item through your tag, you’ll get up to 35% in commission!

Plus, anyone can use CoSign–you don’t need a large following on social media to participate, but it obviously helps. CoSign works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Cash-out minimum is $40 via PayPal, check, or gift card to a particular retailer.


31. GasBuddy crowdsources the best gas prices locally.

GasBuddy offers two handy capabilities. First, it’s a low-price finder by zip code; second, it shares a daily posted gas price average so you can find the cheapest prices in your area. Bonus for the statistics fans: You can forecast upcoming gas trends based on past posted history so you can fuel up at just the right time.

gas-buddy gas-buddy2

32. Understand the secret H&M Pricing scheme

A quick look at the price tag will tell you what the current season is. If most of the clothes are in season four, and you find a season three item, odds are good it will be marked down soon. The season is the seventh number in the first line of numbers under the bar code. You’ll see the tag above is for a season two item.



Check to see if the price ends in $.97 at Costco

If you see a price that ends in $.97 like $4.97 or $19.97, this means that the product is on clearance.

33. Do you know the extra benefits that you get with your Costco membership?

Look closely at the benefits of your Costco membership

Your Costco membership provides discounts on everything from:

Are you taking full advantage of your card?

Hyatt Hotels

As a Costco member, Hyatt can take you more places than ever before and transform your travel experience. Enjoy 10% savings off the Hyatt daily rate at participating Hyatt Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

Best Western

Members save 10 – 20% off of their best available rates at hotels around the world (80 countries and more than 4,000 hotels).

Budget and Avis

Costco Members can enjoy savings of up to 25% when renting a vehicle from participating locations in Canada and the U.S.

34. Frequent Shoppers Drug Mart Shopper? Rack up Optimum Points.

Purchase a Shoppers Gift Card and collect the regular Optimum Points on that purchase. Use that gift card and collect additional Optimum Points on the additional purchases. This allows you to double-dip!

35. Deal Squad agents comparison shop products, stack coupons for you, and find you the best price–for free.

Scours the hottest deals for your requested items across over 100 sites, social media channels, and retailer newsletters so you don’t have to. Your cost savings are, on average, 20% 40%, plus their team saves you precious time and a whole lot of hassle. And since the average response time is only 24 hours, youre on your way to savings in about the same time it takes you to shave your legs, match your socks, and find all those deals for yourself. Youre welcome.


36. Get up to 15% off with Amazon Subscribe and Save

Set up with Amazon auto-reordering and get up to 15% off. 

How does it work?


Set up regularly scheduled deliveries and earn savings with Subscribe & Save. Unlock extra savings on eligible subscriptions when you subscribe to five or more products at one address on your monthly delivery day. From diapers to toothpaste to dog treats, you can subscribe to thousands of everyday products from Amazon and Amazon Marketplace.

Subscribing is easy

  1. Choose from thousands of eligible products in the Subscribe & Save store.
  2. Select your delivery frequency and create your subscription.
  3. Skip your deliveries or cancel your subscriptions at any time by visiting Your Account > Your Subscribe & Save Items.
  4. In advance of each delivery, we will send you a reminder email showing the item price and any applicable discount for your upcoming delivery. The price of the item may decrease or increase from delivery to delivery, depending on the Amazon.com price of the item at the time we process your order.


37. Use your browser’s Incognito or private window to look for coupon codes.

Make sure to always clear your history and cookies before shopping. You never know what extra deals you may find!

38. Abandon your shopping cart at these merchants online and get a special discount code!

Have you ever been shopping online at your favorite store, add items to your cart, then decide to not make the purchase for one reason or another. Maybe it was just to expensive. Maybe the shipping costs were a deal breaker.


Whatever your reasoning for abandoning your online shopping cart, some popular online stores are now sending a follow-up email to try and entice you back with a coupon or discount to complete your purchase.


39. At Costco do you know what an asterisk means in the price tag?

 An asterisk in the corner of a price tag means the item won’t be restocked.

40. Sephora Fifteen-minute makeup services like contouring or a smoky eye are complimentary.

Update your look in a 15-minute session with our Beauty and Skincare Advisors. Complimentary in all stores. Walk-ins welcome.

Mini Makeovers

Smoky Eye
Polished Brows
Everyday Eye
Essential Eyeliner
Flawless Foundation
Correct & Conceal
Blush & Bronze
Perfect Lips
False Lash Application

Mini Facials

Mask & Moisturize
Peel & Perfect


Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianTravelHacking.com.