Money-saving tips for (International) Students

16 August 2022

Student life is certainly an interesting one, as for many of us, it will be one of our first experiences living alone, away from our parents, all independent in a different city or country than home. However, without the right planning, it can be quite stressful from time to time too. One of the most crucial topics is about managing our finances, especially amidst the current economic crisis and price increases. Here are some tips that might be useful for you in making sure you are not overspending your monthly allowance!

Plan ahead your monthly budget

Being able to properly manage your money starts with good planning. There are various options for budgeting applications in both App Store and Play Store, but the two applications I have had experience with personally using are called Buddy and Grip. Both applications have nice layouts as well which makes it less boring than manually using Excel or on paper.

Another tip you can do is to categorize your money right away in your bank account. If you are an ING app user, you can open free saving accounts to separate the money you want to save or use for other purposes in the near future, and the money you will use for your monthly expenses.

Cook whole-unprocessed foods, at home

Cooking at home has always been known to be cheaper than going out to a restaurant, but it is also important to make sure that you buy as much fresh produce as possible. Not only because it is healthier for your body, but also because it is relatively cheaper than buying highly processed food. Download the app for the nearest supermarkets you have around your house, like Jumbo or Albert Heijn, and make sure you check them from time to time as sometimes there might be promotions and cheaper prices for certain products!

 If you want to still eat a more complicated dish that reminds you of the ones you have in restaurants, you should opt for planning a dinner date with your housemates and friends to cook together! You can make it into a personal, bonding experience, while still being able to explore new recipes and save money! In the end, you can take advantage of the app Splitser (previously called: WieBetaaltWat) to be able to show clearly how much costs you owe each other for the group’s groceries.

Too Good to Go app

Another option worth trying is to download the app Too Good to Go. The app helps bridge between restaurants in your area to help reduce food waste. In the app, you can find restaurants selling their leftover food for the day at a really good price point. You can then register yourself at the place you prefer and come to the restaurant to pick it up yourself! You can’t choose what you will get, but there are various options from supermarkets and bakeries to proper restaurants and even a hotel buffet! This app is also a creative way to still be able to experience eating out while saving your money. Do not worry, although it is considered leftover food, all of them are still in good condition. They are fresh products that didn’t sell out for the day, but can’t be sold again the next day. 

Buy staple foods in bulk

Another tip I personally like to do is to get staple foods in bulk, meaning I would buy them in bigger quantities at a time so they will be cheaper. This can be used especially for non-perishable food that you know you like to always have at home. For example, instead of going to the nearest supermarkets for a set of 6 or 10 eggs, I always opt to go to the Amazing Oriental to get a crate of eggs. It is relatively cheaper and you can keep them for some time! This can be done by also sharing staple foods such as purchasing big portions of rice, potatoes, and pasta together with your housemates. You can also opt to go to Lidl or Aldi which are notorious as great bulk stores.

Shop with cash

The Netherlands is known for the wide availability of non-cash payments. As an international student coming, this is a new convenience I am not accustomed to backing home. However, the ease of tapping my phone to pay with Apple Pay or the swift that it is to just swipe your card. This can be tricky as you don’t see in person how much money you are spending. On a day out when you know it will be tricky not to overspend, for example to the city center, I suggest carrying cash to help limit your spending. Being able to see the money physically might help you to better consider how important it is to purchase these items you would otherwise buy. 

Student job

As the new study year is approaching, it might also be a good time for you to start looking for some student jobs in the city! One of the advantages of studying in Groningen is the open understanding that there is a big student population, and therefore it is more common for restaurants and shops to have part-time job opportunities for students as well. Keep an eye on job-seeking websites such as, or spend the day walking around the city to see if any of the restaurants and shops are seeking new personnel! We also offer different nice jobs for students so make sure to check out our page with vacancies at GroningenLife!

Student discounts

There are various opportunities in which you can benefit from your position as a student! If you sign up to be an ESN (Erasmus Student Network) member, you can get yourselves some nice discounts by showing your ESN card! Furthermore, signing up your student email to websites like UniDays and StudentBeans compiles for you a list of student discounts offered by various brands, and it changes over time as well. Another website will be Studentenkorting, which also shows you the best deals using student discounts all over the Netherlands and special discounts in each city!

Ultimately, keeping track of your finances is always trial and error. Make sure you figure out as early as possible what works and what does not for you personally. Remember, you can still be careful with your spending while at the same time having as much fun with friends with good budget planning! 

Goodluck <3