Staying abroad for a while doesn’t have to be very expensive and if you know how to save money on your daily needs you don’t have to hold out on fun activities. To help you with this effort we’ll present a few ways for international students to save money during their stay in Groningen.
First of all, the cheapest place for your groceries is the supermarket. They can be found in each neighbourhood, there must be 30 or 40 spread throughout the city, so there is always one close by. While there are cantina’s in almost every university building, serving good food, it is much cheaper to go to the supermarket. Buy bread and spreads for a few days, bag your food at home and take it with you when you go to classes. It doesn’t have to be simple; you can make delicious sandwiches worthy of being served in a restaurant!
Coffee is one of the main fuels for both students and teachers. Therefore, coffee at the university is sold in two categories. There are some places with expensive but good coffee and a lot of places where less delicious but cheap coffee is sold. If you happen to be a coffee-addict then consider making your coffee at home and taking a thermos with you, this way you can drink coffee which is both inexpensive and tasteful!
There’s one tactic for saving money which is typical of student life: eat together with a small group of friends. Let one person (with help if needed) shop for groceries and cook a large meal. This is much cheaper then each person getting food for him or herself, you can split the costs or take turns in hosting dinner. Apart from it being less expensive, it’s also simply more fun to share a meal after a day in the library. Good to know when buying meals: on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays you can buy vegetables and fruits at the market, which is even cheaper than at the supermarket! Be sure to visit bars at ‘peak hours’ when your group decides to go out. Drinks are offered at extremely low prices during these hours.
Beware of ATM withdrawal fees. When using your bankcard in another country your bank probably charges a fee for each withdrawal. If this applies to your card then consider withdrawing larger amounts of cash to serve your needs for a longer period of time, instead of using an ATM daily.
Finally, don’t directly buy all the books you need for your classes. First, check if the book is used as a whole or only a few chapters. Then consider copying the parts you need (not the whole book!) from a library book, or simply lend the book if it’s available for the time needed. Just be aware that others can make a reservation; you don’t want to have to turn in your book just before you have an exam.
These are basic tips for saving money while studying in Groningen. Check out the Fix your Crib section if you want to learn about cheap furnishing.