Budget – everyone should have one
When hearing the word ‘budget’ most think of limits, boundaries, cheap, but that should not always be the case. If you give budgeting a negative aspect there is no space for saving and accomplishment. Everyone should have a budget; for some it is more for some – less, but living on a budget means not wasting your time and money on something that can be saved on. The best part is that you don’t have to limit yourself or skip on having nice things – just do it wisely.
When I first moved to Denmark, I was on a very tight budget as everything seemed more expensive than I was used to before and buying things included planning. Now that I have accommodated and can sustain myself and earn a decent living, I still try to follow my previous budget rules as ‘if it’s not broken – don’t fix it’.
So from now on think of a budget as a guide and investment not as a limit. Here are some ways how you can save your money in Denmark and get the same experience as you would for the full price.
The free newspapers and discount catalogs you get in your mailbox (if you have not cancelled them) – use them. The trick is to not buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale – buy what you actually use and would buy anyway – just for a cheaper price. This goes for proteins that usually have really appealing discounts, dairy products, snacks etc.
Get bread & pastry after 8pm
Most grocery stores like Netto or Rema1000 are fighting food waste and that is good news not only for the environment but for the customers as well. The freshly baked bread or pastry that is in the glass vitrines? – After 8pm it all goes on 50% off and more! From time to time, if you get to the store right before closing time, you might even be offered to take some of the bread for free! And it doesn’t mean that the bread is less delicious, it is just that these vitrines stock goods freshly baked the same day so every evening they get rid of whatever was not sold.
P.S. Check out the protein section as well if you are planning to cook the meat the same day or next morning – proteins that are close to expiration date are discounted, but when cooked – these can last in your fridge for a couple of more dinners.
This one is more of a cautious shopping advice. From time to time the price tags on products can differ to what has been put on the receipt so check them after the purchase. There is no shame in bringing this up at the cash register as why would you pay more for something that’s valued at less?
Check online pricing/discounts
If you are buying something like electronics or what can be purchased elsewhere – check the same product online. Do your research and see if you can get the same product for cheaper. Pricerunner is one of the websites you should know and use when buying electronics, but as that only compares prices in Denmark, remember to check Amazon and the like.
Shop on sale
I am a huge fan of sales as I find it extremely satisfying to get a good deal for something that I would buy anyway. Pay attention to your grocery stores – Netto usually has a dedicated shelf for different discounted items such as sauces, snacks, candy and other products. Overall the best time to shop on a bargain for clothes, electronics etc. is either mid-June to the end of August or right after Christmas as most seasonal sales are happening.
Expensive does not equal better
– At least not most of the time. From experience I have learned that the cheaper products that are usually produced exclusively for the specific grocery store are not only cheaper than the ‘bigger brands’ but have, if not the exact then close enough value for sure. Take household items like dish washing liquid, soaps or kitchen rolls and toilet paper. Our favorites are produced by Rema1000 and are way more affordable than other brands. What I would like to point out is that products that are more expensive usually (not always) will have added perfumes or colorful packaging. The latter doesn’t really matter, but the added perfumes are not necessary and more importantly – can create allergic reactions. I suggest trying the Rema1000 dish washing liquid and soap without added perfumes. The packaging is boring as hell but gives the same result for cheaper.
Saving in general is a great idea and gives security for the future. If you are somebody who struggles at the end of the month and can’t contain the urge to shop impulsively I suggest reading one of the previous posts on how to save here.
Another suggestion for somebody who prefers cash over credit cards is to divide your earnings in smaller sections like weeks in a month (remember to put aside the payment for rent, internet and other priorities). Put the money you can afford to spend each week in an envelope and stick to it. Whatever is left in the envelope at the end of the week goes in the envelope for the next week allowing you to spend more. This might seem a little ‘extra’, but it’s not stupid if it works.
We hope you found some of these suggestions helpful and stay tuned for part 2 as there are many more to come!