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How to save money in the Netherlands

Hello everyone,

Did you plan your budget before your move to the Netherlands? If so, how did you go about it?

How do you save money in your day to day life? Do you find there are any areas where you can't cut costs?

Do you have any tips about saving money in the Netherlands? For example, getting the best deals on accommodation, grocery shopping and dining out, the best value transportation, etc..

Are there any apps or websites that have helped you to save money?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Saving money in the Netherlands is easy: just don't buy stuff :-D

There are A TON of secondhand stores where you can buy gently-used furniture and clothes; my personal favorite is Het Goed, which is not quite as cheap as some stores but their quality control is better and generally speaking stuff there is pretty good. I dress my kid almost entirely in secondhand clothes; he needs an entirely new wardrobe about once a year and I'm not spending 20 euros on a pair of jeans that he won't be able to wear for 2 years, hehe....People also flog a lot of things on Marktplaats - I buy most of my clothes through Marktplaats, actually (pro tip: check the neighborhood that's selling, if it's a better one it's usually a steal). 

For consumables (shampoo, dish detergent, etc) I prefer the Action. The store is an interesting mishmash of stuff and I usually find it worthwhile to stop by once a week or thereabouts.  I buy our cats' wet food there and usually end up getting other small things that we've used up as well.

For food: while it is true that you CAN save a lot of money by using the weekly markets, it is not necessarily true that you WILL.  Likewise, while Aldi and Lidl are reputed to be super-cheap, if you do a by-unit comparison you'll find that the cost usually works out to be exactly the same as the Jumbo or even the Albert Heijn. For saving money on food it's best to keep an eye on which stores are running which sales and shop accordingly. If you are lucky enough to have a pluktuin (a kind of small farm where you pick your own produce) the prices aren't cheap, per se, but if you're after specialty produce such as rainbow chard it's much better than the stores.

The last thing is a bit of a cheat, but I'm going to put it out there anyway: while the NL doesn't do bulk-buy stores, if you are registered as a business owner, you can get passes for access to several bulk-buying chains.  The Sligro and Hanos are intended for restaurants and catering businesses, while the Makro tends to be more all-purpose. We get laundry detergent from the Makro - when it goes on sale the savings are worth the price of the gas it takes to drive out there.

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