When I first moved to Montreal I decided out of habit that it was probably most economical to load myself up with a back pack and a few plastic bags and head to the large supermarkets for a big box bulk shop. From my very first shop I felt like something wasn’t quite right, the costs just seemed a little too high compared to my home country (UK) prices.
This went on for a while but on the way home one evening, walking from downtown to my home in Westmount along Boulevard Maissoneuve, I noticed Marche Almizan on the corner of St Mathieau. It caught my eye because had some interesting breads outside. I love bread, so I popped in expecting just to pick up some new kind of bread. I walked around the store and noticed they had a ton of cool goods and they were not expensive, in fact, as far as I could tell they were cheaper than the box supermarkets I had frequented.
After that I started to check out some other smaller stores and supermarkets, I found more and more that I could find items in them at cheaper prices. I used to find some places would have cheaper canned goods and dry goods, such as Fruits Rocky Montana near DADs Bagels in NDG, and some cheaper for vegetables, such as Fruiterie Mont Victoria in Westmount on Rue Sherbrooke. Many places from the McGill Ghetto to Cote De Neige exist and have great prices.
When you start digging under the surface of a Montreal a lot of off the path deals can be found such at the goods at the Frigo Vert organic supermarket, next to Concordia downtown, and the donation based canteen style People’s Potato of Concordia downtown campus, yes you can get a lunch meal for nothing there!
But that’s Montreal?
I can’t say for sure that every city in Canada works like this but I have found some success using similar techniques back home in London, UK and have been told that it works like this in Vancouver too and some other places in Canada too. My best friend is also finding luck with this in Auckland, New Zealand.
The point is that by stepping outside of what is considered the normal thing to do you may find yourself finding better deals, better quality goods and you will also have the added benefit of supporting smaller more locally based business. You can create a shopping route and bulk shop (where possible) once a month or so, or if it’s on a route you tread daily just pop in when you need stuff.
Food is something that is needed so when we can work out a way to cut back on its cost it’s worth pursuing. In some cases it may be more work for you but you’ll actually find you feel more a part of your city and you’ll learn about places and people you never knew about.
After all this is how people used to shop until the big box supermarket came into existence and it helped harbour a sense of community amongst everyone.
Do you have any experience with small store shopping over bog store shopping and do you find it saves you money?