8 Tips on Saving Money while Studying Abroad in Germany
I'm back with another "study abroad Germany ~all about money~ post. In my last post, I wrote about 5 tips on how you can make money while studying abroad in Germany. You can read it here.
But as Germans like to say, “it’s not about how much you make, it's about how much you save.” While living in Germany for the past few months, I picked up a few good habits/tips on saving money while studying abroad, and I’m ready to share them with you!
Study Abroad Tip #1. Learn to cook at home while you study abroad in Germany.
Eating out can be a everyday-thing in some parts of the world, but definitely not in Germany. If you go out to eat frequently, you will see your bank account shrinking day after day. The good news is, as you've probably heard, groceries in Germany are affordable. Learn to cook your favorite meal or two at home, and you’ll be able to save hundreds of euros every week.
Study Abroad Tip #2. Pick the right items when you do groceries.
Most German Grocery stores have their own in-house brands, and they tend to be cheaper than the external brands sold at the same stores. I personally think buying from these brands not only saves you money but also totally makes sense. You can watch the video below by Pocket Money to learn more about this.
I didn’t believe that the cheaper in-house brands are as good as the famous brands at first, but after watching the video, I was sold! Edeka, Aldi, Rewe (the most typical grocery stores in Germany) all have their own in-house brands, so give them a try! These cheaper products are usually displayed in lower shelves.
Besides, if you want to go one step further, Aldi is known to have a wide range of discounted products from food, electronic devices to many more. For example, Aldi talk (which I use) has a very affordable phone plan which lets you pay 7 Euros per month.
Study Abroad Tip #3. Make use of your student discounts.
Hanging out with friends doesn’t have to be expensive. Try visiting beautiful local gardens, museums where you can use your student card to get discounts. Discounted bus/subway passes are one of the overlooked perks of being a student, especially when living in Germany, where regular fares for public transportation are so expensive.
Mensas (student cafeteria) also have discounted prices for students and offer a meal for usually less than 5 euros. At my university, visitors have to pay nearly 10 euros for the same meal.
Furthermore, you can use your student status to get discounts in many other EU countries. For example, I didn't have to pay to enter some of the museums in Paris!!
Study Abroad Tip #4. Bring your own groceries bag and used bottles back to grocery stores.
German grocery stores don’t have plastic bags anymore, so you have to buy a paper bag or a composable bag if you don’t bring your own bag. This adds up since the bags are not as cheap as regular plastic bags.
You can also get your bottle deposit back if you bring water/beer and other bottles, and this can also add up if you drink them every day. Instead, try to bring them back for a couple euros.
Study Abroad Tip #5. Use Asta for school supplies.
Asta is a student committee all German universities have where students can go and get their questions answered. You can get discounted school supplies from Asta, ex) a lab coat. You can also get help looking for financial resources such as finding a tax accountant/lawyer.
Study Abroad Tip #6. Use Chrome extension for small discounts on online purchases.
I use Honey all the time for online purchases, from ordering lunch from Domino's to buying new software programs for blogging. It has helped me save anywhere between 10 to 30% of the original prices, and I wish I had downloaded this earlier!
Study Abroad Tip #7. Buy secondhand furniture instead of new ones.
Furnishing a new room can be extremely expensive even if you just buy from Ikea. Chances are, you are not going to use them for a long time because you'll be moving again once you graduate from university. You can easily buy secondhand furniture for an affordable price, and even buy from a previous tenant who is moving out from the room you are moving in to. If you want to buy some pieces that have history, you can visit one of many flea markets in Germany.
Study Abroad Tip #8. Unsubscribe from unnecessary auto payments.
Unsubscribe from unnecessary auto payments (especially from back home) on your credit card while you study abroad in Germany.
This one is straightforward but is often overlooked. Make sure to check your PayPal and credit card account statement regularly to disable any auto payments for the services you don't use anymore. It's easy to forget about these payments especially when you start using your new German bank account.
Hope you found these tips for saving money while studying abroad in Germany useful! What are the top money saving tips that you use as a student (or even as a young professional)? Share them in the comment section below. I'll write about finding affordable housing while you study abroad in my next post, so stay tuned.