Updated: Sep 14, 2021
If you're a student in the Netherlands like me, you must know that doing groceries can get expensive REAL QUICK and definitely if you're not paying attention to the prices.
First of all, there are too many supermarkets (brands/franchises) to choose from. It's nothing like on Aruba where you quickly run into your neighborhood's Chinese mini market. Here you get to choose from famous ones like Albert Heijn a.k.a Appie / AH, Lidl, Jumbo, and Aldi. These are practically in every neighborhood But in other cities and provinces you got even more to chose from like Dirk, Coop, Poiesz, Deen, Plus and you name it.
Those are wayyy too many options. I just want to get cheap food in one place and that's it. But we can't have it all, can we?
So here I'm going to explain how I get the most out of my buck on my weekly groceries.
You got to have a little planning in mind when it comes to doing groceries. You can't just go to the store and buy stuff with no purpose, right?
Anyhow, I 'plan' my groceries based on what's on sale that week. Let's say pasta sauce is 2x1, you best believe that I'm going to get some and potentially stock up for another time. These stores usually post their bonuses/sales a week in advance in their folders so have a look and think about meals to make with these ingredients.
Also, look in your cupboards and see what you already have, so you don't buy what you already have.
Try finding recipes that might go well with the things in the bonus. You might discover and make something different for once.
2. Shopping at your local market
I did no research on this but I am pretty sure all major cities in the Netherlands have a market at least once a week. In my city, it's at least 3x a week in the city center. I usually go there on Saturdays and get my weekly dose of fruits and veggies for more or less 25% cheaper than the supermarket.
I sometimes come home with 2kgs of strawberries for or 2 ripe mangoes for one euro. Now that's a bargain! I like cheap things.
Believe me that it saves me at least 15 euros a month by getting my essentials on the market, rather than in stores. Plus, you're supporting local business as well, yay!
Believe me when I say that you do not need to buy the A-brand (top quality) pack of milk or peanut butter. Most stores have their own house brands that sell for less than the renowned selection. These often taste just as good. Like I don't care about brands unless they're for shoes and clothes.
The supermarkets here actually encourage you to buy their brands as it will save you more money to buy other things you probably don't need. I'm speaking out of experience or so (there are many commercials on TV).
4. Cut down on meat/poultry consumption.
Once upon a time, I was a vegetarian and I saved a few coins here and there because I wasn't buying meat or poultry, obviously. Going meatless has many benefits, at least for the planet and your feeling of doing something good for once in your life, right?
In the Netherlands, there's one week every year where it is promoted for people to not consume meat for a week (week zonder vlees). By not consuming meat or poultry for a week we could hypothetically save 101 liters of water, 79 kilometers driven by a car in terms of C02eq in greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, by not eating meat for a week you can cut down up to 770 grams of animal meat consumption. Crazy.
To be honest, I am not here to tell you to become a vegetarian or vegan, that is your own choice. Even so, by cutting down on animal meat consumption at least (the very very least) from one meal once a week has a big impact on the environment and your wallet in the long run. Think about it.
5. Buy from the butcher
Now that I've written about not consuming meat, let me inform you where to buy your meat. How backwards of me.
Ever since moving back to the Netherlands, I find it crazy how expensive chicken breast is in the supermarket, 7 euros for a kilo is just 'tew much'. I never wanna spend that type of money again, so I to go to the local halal butcher. I don't know if you know but halal meat is just better and cheaper. That's it, that's the tweet.
PS All these views are unapologetically mine. I have done no research whatsoever. Yeah, it's my life. My own words, I guess.