How to save money as a student in Groningen
|Datum:||30 november 2020|
Student life in Groningen can be as cheap or expensive as you make it, it all depends on your spending habits. Whether you have a student job or make use of the government loan, budgeting as a student is essential - that is, if you don’t want to live on just cheese sandwiches at the end of the month (although as a Dutchie, that might not sound bad to you). In this blog, I’ll share some of my money-saving tips that have helped me stay on track during my time at university.
1. Use apps to track your expenses
First things first: you need to know how much money you’re spending and where you’re spending it. Most banks have their own apps now, allowing you to transfer money and check your balance from your phone. However, there are also quite a few apps specifically designed for creating and sticking to your budget. MoneyLover is an app that a friend introduced me to a few years ago, and which I’ve used ever since. It allows you to categorise every expense you log, set a monthly budget and a budget per category as well as maintain an overview of how much money comes in and where you spend it. The cute icons and clear interface make personal finance a lot more enjoyable.
Grip is another useful app for tracking your finances, and it is compatible with most Dutch bank accounts. Whereas MoneyLover requires you to manually add every expense, Grip connects to your bank account and categorises your expenses automatically based on your previous behaviour. This is very convenient, however, manually adding every expense also forces you to reconsider your spending habits.
2. Base your grocery shopping list on the discounts
Nowadays, almost every supermarket has a loyalty card that gives you personalised discounts based on your previous purchases. Is your fridge empty? Don’t have anything for lunch and dinner? Have a quick scroll through the discount overviews of the various supermarkets before you head out. Basing what you buy on the weekly discounts allows you to save money and get creative. It’s a win-win! Another affordable option is going to the market, which is at the Vismarkt every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. There, you’ll find everything you need for budget-friendly prices.
3. Include meal prep in your weekly routine
Now that you’ve done a deep dive into the weekly discounts, it’s time to plan your meals accordingly. Don’t worry, meal prep doesn’t mean that you’ll eat the same thing day after day. If you have a freezer at home, use it! I usually cook four portions (which also makes it cheaper!) and freeze two. That way, during busy weeks, I can eat a home-cooked meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. This is especially good for avoiding spending money on food deliveries. For me, Sunday is my meal prep day; I put on a podcast, make a few dishes - usually a soup and two mains - and have a little less to worry about during the week.
4. Share your subscriptions
Whether it’s watching shows on Netflix, listening to podcasts on Spotify or reading a newspaper (online or offline), entertainment can get pricey. Especially now that we can’t go out much, it’s fun to have huge libraries of films, series, music and articles at your fingertips. In order to not get bored, but not be broke either, I suggest sharing your subscriptions. Most streaming services offer family plans, where you can create multiple user profiles for an affordable price. Sharing your subscriptions with friends, family or your flatmates will help you and them save money.
5. Set saving goals
Saving money without a particular goal in mind can feel like an endless tunnel with no light at the end of it. That’s why it’s important to think of what exactly you are saving for. Do you need a new laptop? Are you planning your next holiday? Or perhaps you simply want to create a financial buffer for emergencies. Setting financial goals will remind you of why saving money is worth it for you. It will become a lot more motivating to not spend on the things you don’t really need. Most banks have the possibility to create savings goals in your savings account. Give them a title (whatever it is you’re saving for), set the goal amount, and start transferring small amounts of money each month. You’ll gradually get closer to your savings goal!
I hope these tips help you stick to your budget and make student life a bit easier! If you have tips for saving money, share them with us in the comments below!