SAVING MONEY DOWN SOUTH
Here are two more ways for snowbirds to save money this winter.
Have a U.S. dollar credit card. Charging purchases on a Canadian dollar card is expensive. You’re not only hit on the exchange rate at whatever it may be that day, but most cards also charge a 2.5 per cent foreign transaction fee. All Canadian banks issue U.S. dollar credit cards, which you can pay out of your U.S. dollar account, hopefully having converted at a good rate. If you have a U.S. address, you can open an account at a U.S. bank and have a credit card issued there. Some U.S. credit cards insist on a U.S. address, but I use Chase, which has no problem with my Toronto residence.
Buy all clothes in the U.S. Forget the exchange rate. Even with the higher greenback, clothes in the U.S. are much cheaper than in Canada. It’s one of the reasons why Canadian retailers oppose chan- ges in the NAFTA deal that would allow for $800 worth of duty-free online purchases. Most of the big retailers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney have regular clothing sales, but you can find even better deals on designer clothes at stores like Bealls, Burlington and Stein Mart. (These are in Florida, but there are comparable outlets in other states.) Also good values in the U.S. compared to Canada are California wines, dairy products and gasoline. — GP