Whistler is expensive. Rent, groceries, phone plans... it adds up!
Here are a few tips to help you save the pennies.
01/SMART GROCERY SHOP
Let's face it, we wish we could shop at Nesters with the Whistler Elite, but sometimes that minimum wage prevents you from spending $9 on a punnet of blueberries. For the best deals, you have to go slightly out of town. The Independent Grocer in Rainbow (serviced by the 30 bus) is the place to go for fresh produce and to top up your tinned supplies. Expect to find cans of kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and chickpeas on offer for 4 for $5.
A good place to shop for low cost household items such as detergent and toilet paper is Rexall - they often have great deals up to 50% off. If you have a car, it's often worth making the trip to Save on Foods in Squamish and signing up for a More Rewards card. This is totally free, takes 5 minutes in store and gives you access to heaps of discounts that are only available to card holders. Or you could always go to CostCo for the ultimate bulk-buying-money-saving experience. Local's Tip: Walmart in Squamish offers free delivery to Whistler with every $50 spend. They do groceries, tvs, pyjamas.. all you can think of. If organic, fresh produce is the bulk of your diet, the cheapest way to maintain this in winter is to sign up to Spud.ca. They offer free Whistler delivery with every $70 spend and have a fantastic range of organic, local produce often at much less than non-organic local store prices. They also offer 'imperfect' organic produce at a discount for those of us who don't care what shape our veggies come in!
One of the best websites to make batch cooking and grocery shopping super easy is Cooksmarts. They make your grocery list super easy (checking off ingredients in your cupboards as you go) and have the most delicious recipes (including maple miso butter stuffed portobello mushrooms... drool). Get a free trial here, we guarantee you'll be hooked.
02/FIND SECOND HAND BARGAINS
Need to furnish your house with a new table and couch? Want a new pair of skis? Or some merino base layers that someone has worn once and thrown out? Due to its transient nature, Whistler has a constant, rich circulation of lightly used items, big and small! Your first stop looking for that new kitchen utensil or pair of runners should be the Re Use It Centre in Nesters. The items aren't free, but are absolutely the cheapest in Whistler. Blenders? $5. Skis? Also $5. They get masses of donations daily, so keep checking until you find what you need!
For items beer-fridge-sized and up, head to the Re Build It Centre in Function. Also run by WCSS, when people have to move out of their furnished houses, they tend to drop-off their furniture here to be re-homed. Indeed, when you are ready to leave town, both these locations are the quickest and easiest way to get rid of all the bits of sentimental crap you've accumulated during your time here. Rest assured, they will find a new and loving home fast! The Re Build It also has a great selection of cables, door handles, faucets, and other random miscellaneous items that may be broken/suspiciously missing in your house after a rager.
Next up is Facebook - the Whistler Buy and Sell and Whistler Online Buy and Sell are hands down the best places to find yourself a second hand bargain. Unwanted or unused skis, snowboards and bikes can often be purchased at a massive discount still in the plastic. I myself got a full touring setup for $280 this year (worth over $1000). There are more niche groups such as Whistler Car Buy/Sell and Whistler Mountain Bike Buy/Sell/Swap which can be super useful if you know what you're after.
Buy fresh tracks tickets on 2 for 1 at the beginning of the season, and head up there once a week to stock up on pocket bacon. Or cereal. Or potatoes. Fill your boots and take home enough for one or two more breakfasts later in the week!
Head to the grocery stores after 4 oclock to check out the reduced stuff they need to sell by the end of the day. The Independent often has 50% off lettuce & spinach. Also, sign up to their weekly flyers for the best deals.
Head to the bakeries 5 minutes before closing time and they may well give you the days leftovers they aren't going to sell (especially loaves of bread). Head to the pizza places at opening time and grab some 'day olds' for $2 - these are unsold pizza slices from the day before being sold cheap, but they are still delicious. Take it home or to the Roundhouse and microwave it and voila! It is half a secret that the Rendezvous and Roundhouse have microwaves for public use - making it super easy to bring your leftovers up the mountain and reheat them. Eating on the hill can be costly and this is a great way to resist temptation and spend less money. You can also get hot water for free if you ask - and sneak in your own teabag!
From June 15, 2019 to September 2, 2019, buses will once again become free on Weekends and Holiday Mondays. Hooray!
Otherwise, you can pick up a decent bike on the Whistler Buy and Sell for $50 and cycle as soon as the snow melts on the Valley Trail (usually around late March).
Ride sharing isn't so much of a thing in Whistler yet, but if you post on Whistler Winter asking if others in your neighbourhood do a similar commute, you'll probably find a ride buddy! Use Poparide to split gas costs if you're driving to/from Vancouver or Squamish, it's very popular and massively reduces your personal spending!
To get to and from Vancouver, there are more options popping up every week! Epic Rides offer $24 one way, $35 round trip to downtown. Similarly, Whistler Rides have $24 one way or $32.00 return to downtown. Snowbus offers $25 one way, $36 return or $40 all the way to YVR.
For Squamish dwellers, the Shred Shuttle has replaced the Greyhound Service offering a $22 round trip from Whistler to Squamish. The cheapest way to get to YVR airport is usually finding a driver on Poparide where seats from Whistler to the airport tend to go for around $15 a pop.
Keep looking for phone plans so that you know you're always getting the best bang for your buck. Be sure to check your phone bill and eradicate unnecessary features from your cell phone plan. It’s likely that there are unnecessary fees, or some features you’ve forgotten about that you’re paying for. Most places in Whistler have wifi - including on the mountain, so maybe reconsider your data usage. Many people in Whistler choose to have 1GB or less as wifi is abundant. If you really need internet access - the Whistler Public Library has unlimited wifi and free computer usage.
Rumour has it that Rogers do 25% off for Vail Resorts/Whistler Blackcomb staff - ask your manager for details and to be put in touch with the appropriate representative.
Koodo is the local's favourite for data plans - they often have 4GB for $50 and they have a storefront in Nesters. However, if you are intent on using another company or are already locked into a plan, try your luck and ask for a price match.