Initially, it was difficult after moving the Netherlands as I simply didn’t have a clue where to find everything at the right price but now I think I have quite a good handle on it. If you are an expat, a tourist or even a Dutch national the following tips can help you save – big time!
Here are some of the things I find works for our family.
1. Shop the deals! (aanbiedingen)
- Every week most people receive the supermarket and advertising deals through the door – these can also be found on a ‘folders app / website’, they contain all the deals for that week. Sometimes the deals are not so great (for example 25% off) but are ok to use if you was planning on buying that item anyway. I personally wait for the 50% (or 1 + 1 gratis!) or lower and then plan my meals around the fresh produce on offer.
2. Stock up! (hamsteren!)
- I only stock up if the item has a long shelf life or can be frozen. Usually, the same deals keep coming around and around on a 1 – 2 month basis (bear this in mind when you are stocking up – buy enough to last until the offer comes around again).
3. Buy reduced items (afgeprijsd)
- The best supermarket for this is Jumbo which has 50% reductions (the other supermarkets tend to use 33% reductions) – this is great for meat which can be thrown straight in the freezer. Don’t forget to also pick up some flowers – they are always reduced down to 99ct no matter what the original markup price was.
4. Use the weekly market (wekelijks markt)
- Buy big €1 bags of reduced vegetables and fruit at the weekly market and freeze for later use.
5. Try supermarket value/basic brands (huismerk / basic merken)
- Use supermarket basic brand items. I find that Albert Hein has the best quality basic own brand – I buy things like pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, part baked bread, bacon bits, shredded cheese, muesli, ontbijtkoek etc. See below for some alternative brands.
6. Use Action!
- Action is a discount store that is great for everything from home décor, stationery, toys, toiletries, cleaning products, cookware etc. This is a great shop to find inexpensive gifts for kids parties and traktaties (party favours).
7. Check out Groupon
- Groupon.nl is a website where you can buy discount vouchers on all sorts of things. We personally use it to eat out at our local Italian restaurant where you can get up to a 59% discount on the cost of a pizza or pasta dish!
8. Use the Charity / Goodwill shops (de Kringloop)
- When we first moved to the Netherlands we had left a lot of our furniture behind in England so had to furnish our house pretty much from scratch. The kringloop (most towns have quite a few kringloops) was a great to pick up glassware, ornaments and pieces of furniture here and there. I still use it now to find recycling / up-cycling projects – it’s a real treasure trove!
Budget Shopping – Cheaper Alternatives
If you find that those prices are still too high here are some products that I am more than happy to use;
- Aldi’s Moisturising Cream for older sensitive skin – who knew? (I previously used simple and most the others that I have tried here would irritate my skin or leave it feeling dry) for me this is a really nice product to use.
- Odorex Roll-on or Spray Deodorant (I used to use Sure deo)- This works great (I only every buy it when it’s on offer for a €1 from shops like Trekpleister or Kruidvat.
- AH Own Brand Shaving Gel – No complaints from the hubby who was a Gillette man.
- Toothpaste – Various A Brands but only when it’s on offer for a €1 or under.
- Hand soap – I get a huge bottle for 99cts by Action (I also decant this into a hand soap foamer bottle where you water it down and get a lovely foamy hand soap – this lasts for ages).
- Kruidvat Coconut everyday shampoo – great for the kids and hubby.
- Hema – Hairspray (wait till they’re on offer for buy 2 get 3rd free (33% off an already low price).
I wish I had had someone to tell me all this when I moved to the Netherlands. I’m always looking for new ways of saving, do you have any tips and ideas? Or do you need to know the best place to find something? I’d love to hear from you!
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