Cheap Online Shopping In Canada – Buying Glasses, Books, And More

Cheap Online Shopping In Canada – Buying Glasses, Books, And More

I've ordered more than a few things online.

Though I make it a point to support local small businesses when possible, the lure of internet shopping is sometimes too much to resist...

There are plenty of reasons why online shopping is popular, like:

  • better prices,
  • being able to check product reviews,
  • and the 24/7 availability of the sites and products.

Of course, it’s also a huge bonus that we can shop from home, in front of our TV on the couch, sipping a glass of wine. Plus we get to avoid lineups, parking lots, and cranky people.

If you still have safety concerns about online shopping – don’t worry. I shop online so much I'm basically a pro now. I can help reassure you and even offer suggestions for the best places to buy certain products online.

We'll look at how buying online can help you save on:

But first...

Is it safe?

For those who are still nervous about the potential hazards of shopping online, I’d like to help you relax a little.

Even though it can be scary to enter your personal information and have it swallowed up by the black hole that is the internet, online shopping can be a genuinely enjoyable and safe activity.

As long as you’re vigilant and take precautions when necessary, online shopping can be a breeze.

Use familiar websites is obviously a well-known, well-trusted site. And it’s safe to say that most of your favourite brick-and-mortar stores (Walmart, Staples, Chapters/Indigo) will have reliable sites too.

A word of warning, though – don’t mess with misspellings.

Make sure the URL isn't a one-off spelling like "" or “” and that it ends in .com or .ca instead of something random like .net.

Never use a site without SSL (secure socket layer)

If the URL starts with "https" instead of just “http,” then it uses SSL. Most browsers will also have a small padlock symbol in the address bar, like so:

Example of a SSL link

This type of security ensures that your credit card numbers and personal information will be transmitted securely.

Don’t overshare

Think smart here and don't be too trustful.

There’s no need to give your SIN, your birthday, or your mother’s maiden name to a shopping page. That information is simply not necessary for processing an order.

So if you’re on a page that asks for it, don’t buy from them.

Regularly run and update your antivirus

This is pretty self explanatory.

If you run and update your antivirus frequently, there’s little chance for any nasty bugs or malware to do any damage to your computer. Easy peasy.

Create strong passwords

Yes, you really do need to use one number, one capital letter, one symbol, an eye of newt, and the blood of a flawless unicorn to create your password.

The more unique (and difficult) your password is, the less likely your accounts are to be hacked, and this means that your personal information is safe.

Just use a password manager, like the one that comes with Google Chrome, to keep things easier on your head.

Avoid shopping on hotspots

You probably shouldn’t do any online shopping while using free public wifi or hotspots. Yes, even at trusted locations like Starbucks. It’s just too easy to log in to an unsecured public wifi and get hacked.

Make sure you know what you're getting

Another aspect of safe online shopping involves checking the actual items you’re purchasing. Check the size charts to make sure you’re buying the correct size you need, check reviews to ensure you’re choosing the best quality product, and choose trustworthy brands with reliable return policies.

Related: Don't Gamble With Online Shopping: How To Get It Right The First Time

All of these tips can help to make your online shopping experience safer, easier, and much more fun.

Buy cheap books online

One of my favourite things to buy is a new book – well, at least one that's new to me. I particularly love perusing cute used bookstores to find the perfect book at the perfect price.

Well, it turns out you can do this online too.

Site Why you'll like it
Book Outlet 15% student discount
Better World Books Free shipping, charity focused
Abe Books Great for rare and out-of-print books
Thrift Books Great for used books

Book Outlet

Although Book Outlet isn’t a used book site, they do have great prices on popular books. They even offer a 15% student discount.

Shipping is free on orders over $45 and a flat $5 for anything less.

Better World Books

Looking for textbooks? Better World Books has all genres of books, including textbooks, and offers free international shipping. Plus they have both used and new options, in case you have a preference.

They also give a free book to an individual or non-profit charity every time a book is purchased from their site.

Buy used books online

If you prefer used books, these sites will work great for you too.

Abe Books

My father-in-law recently told me Abe Books is his favourite site for "rare, used, and out of print books," as the website says. I did a quick search and found one of my favourite self-help books for less than $4!

The shipping rates are also very reasonable.

Thrift Books

Thrift Books is another great site for used books. I found 10 listings for The Happiness Project that were under $5.

Related: Money lessons From 7 Books

Cheap glasses online for Canada

Have you noticed how expensive glasses are? Sheesh...

As much as I like to support independent local businesses, when eyewear offered online is this much cheaper, I’ll go with it. Easy choice.

Site Why you'll love it Great sales and free shipping
Zenni Optical Ability to shop by face shape
I Look Glasses Canadian

You might think that Clearly only sells contact lenses, but you’d be wrong. They have tons of stylish frame choices for as low as $50.

They also often have amazing sales on top of their low prices, and their return policy is fantastic.

Zenni Optical

I hadn’t heard of Zenni Optical until now, but when I checked it out I saw women’s frames for only $6.95...That's pretty amazing.

They also have information on how to choose the right style frames for your face shape, and offer videos about measuring pupillary distance and how to choose a tint for your lenses. Very helpful.

I Look Glasses

I Look Glasses is a Canadian company that offers great prices for their products and free shipping for orders over $60.

You can even upload a photo of yourself and "try on" different frames to see which suit you best.

Related: Ultra Cheap Designer Prescription Glasses Tutorial

Buy clothes online

Shopping for clothes online is so much fun. No need to spend hours in a dressing room or worry about who's going to see you going into which shops. Just make sure you know your measurements to cut down on your returns.

Your favourite outfit of all time is just a click away.

Store Why you'll love it
Zara Very fashionable selection
Old Navy Great prices
Thredup Huge thrift and consignment store
GoodTwice $0.99 shipping


Zara is one of Canada’s most fashionable clothing stores with the most reasonable prices. Whether you’re looking for classy or trendy, Zara has what you want and they’ll ship it to you for only $4.95, or for free if you spend $50 or more.

Old Navy

Whether you prefer Old Navy, Gap, or Banana Republic (all the same company), you’re guaranteed cool finds and great prices.

I’ve ordered from Old Navy many times without disappointment. I’ve also returned items purchased from the Old Navy website and it’s quite easy.

Related: Declutter Your Closet And Build A Capsule Wardobe You And Your Wallet Will Love

Buy second-hand clothes online

If you're a big fan of the thrift store, but not so big a fan of going outside, there's a growing number of online thrift stores available for Canada.


Recently made available for Canadians, Thredup claims to be the largest online consignment and thrift store.

They let you shop through second-hand clothing bins in a more categorized fashion and from the comfort of your own home.


GoodTwice offers a similar service to Thredup, but with $0.99 shipping to boot. Not bad at all.

Save on food online

I admit that I’ve never ordered groceries online, but I'm intrigued by the idea. All of the grocery stores in my area now offer online ordering, and I plan to try it soon.

But ordering online and picking up in store is a different ballgame than the services listed below.

Site Why you'll like it
Amazon Great selection Organic food
Hello Fresh Sends you weekly ingredients and recipes


Amazon’s grocery selection is pretty impressive. Naturally, you can’t order fresh veggies, meat, or frozen or refrigerated items, but pantry goods are plentiful.

I checked my local Superstore flyer and the price of Campbell’s canned chicken and vegetable soup is the same as Amazon’s: $1.99. offers a lot of organic and alternative food options, including alternative cooking flours, organic spices, and raw honey. sells Kettle brand potato chips for sale at $3.59, but they’re also on sale this week at my local No Frills for $2.47. This shows that while (and all online retailers) may have a lot of options, price checking is important.

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh send you amazingly fresh food for delicious recipes every week. If you subscribe to their email list you can get $20 off your first food subscription box.

Also, it’s worth checking coupon sites like Groupon for a deal on the price.

Related: Which Grocery Store Has The Lowest Prices?

Save on printer ink

I hate buying ink in store...It’s always so expensive, and the last thing I want to do is drag myself into an electronics store and search through rows of ink cartridges.

Luckily, the internet has saved me once more.

Site Why you'll like it
123Ink Great prices
Inkjet Superstore Great selection
Amazon Reliable, one-stop shopping


123Ink is my favourite site for ordering ink. They carry ink for just about every brand of printer you can think of, plus the cost of what I need is at least $20 cheaper here than at Best Buy.

InkJet Superstore

InkJet isn't quite as cheap as 123ink, but it's still good.

The price of my Canon ink is the same here as it is at Walmart, but at least I don't need to wonder where I parked my car.


Yes, Amazon is even reliable for ink cartridge purchases.

The last time I ordered ink here it was roughly $10 cheaper than what I saw at Staples.


Let me tell you…shopping online is where it’s at. The end. Its convenience is often enough to make it worth your money, no matter what items you’re purchasing.

Don’t let the possible dangers of online shopping deter you. If you’re smart and careful, internet shopping can be just as safe as in store.

The internet also makes it easy to compare products and reviews, so doing your homework before making a big purchase takes much less of your time than if you had to go from store to store to check their inventory.

There are many Canadian businesses with websites you can buy from, so you’re still able to support our economy when you shop via the internet instead of in-store.

How about you? Have you found any great deals online?

What are your favourite products to buy online?

Do you prefer brick and mortar shops instead? Share your experiences with us!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

Editorial Disclaimer: The content here reflects the author's opinion alone, and is not endorsed or sponsored by a bank, credit card issuer, rewards program or other entity.

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Marpy's picture

I switched to a laser printer some time ago and I find E-bay to be very good for finding cartridges and toner for cheap and it actually works well in all the times I have ordered. The key with E-bay is to carefully check the review's and deal with merchants that have high ratings. Pictures are acceptable but not as good as an inkjet but places like Costco are so cheap for printing pictures that I do not find any value in having an inkjet just for pictures. I easily get between 2000 and 3000 pages out of a full laser cartridge - something ink jets do not even come close to. The laser cartridges are also a lot easier to refill than an inkjet. I have bought both toner and cartridges with success. Just make sure that they come with the counter chips that are needed so that your printer will accept the refill or new cartridge. JMO

March 12, 2019 @ 7:03 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hello Marpy,

Very interesting to hear the pros of a laser printer. I don't do much printing anymore, but if I did that's probably what I'd go with.

As for Ebay, you can definitely get some fantastic finds on there. As you pointed out, you have to be especially cautious for fakes/cheap knock-offs, but for something as small as printer cartridges, I'd say it's worth the risk – as long as you read the reviews of the seller, of course.

Thanks for your comment :)

March 14, 2019 @ 3:39 pm
Scotty's picture

I aim to support my local economy when I am able. However I do live in a rural community so many items are not available in town. In these cases, my favourite places to shop for healthy supplies online are (similar to

March 12, 2019 @ 8:09 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hey Scotty!

Thanks for the suggestions, these sites look great.

March 14, 2019 @ 3:40 pm

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