Survival guide and how to save more cash in the future!
1. Cash is king
An old tip that always works – also outside Finland. Take out a certain amount of cash from ATM and leave your credit card home. When you literally see the money slipping from your hands, it is easier to control your spending. Also, you are forced to stay on budget, when you simply do not have more money with you.
2. Build a stash
It is important to save money for the rainy day. Go back to your childhood and put all excess coins to a piggy bank. Cents will accumulate to euros and euros to dozens of euros… When it’s the last day of the month, you will thank yourself for saving those 20 cent coins to get a lunch from the canteen.
3. Eat at the canteen
In Finland, the government supports students’ healthy eating. You can have healthy and versatile lunch with less than 3€. Campuses often have several canteens and there is a great variety of warm dishes, salads, soups, and sandwiches. Believe it or not, side salad, fresh bread and drinks are included in the price. Every day, a vegetarian option is served as well. If you need your daily dose of caffeine, getting it at lunchtime will save you some coins because of an additional discount. Some of the student restaurants are open until late, so if you are cheeky, you can have both lunch and dinner at the canteen. If you are afraid you will get hungry in between the meals, save a slice of bread from the lunch and have it as a snack later.
4. Wise shopping at the supermarket
Cooking at home is a great way to save money in Finland, whether you are a student or not. If you prefer cooking home, you can survive with only a little money if you take advantage of seasonal products. Oranges in winter, apples in autumn, you name it. Always stay alert for discounts! Roots, like potatoes and carrots, are cheap throughout the year and everybody knows that macaroni, rice, and noodles are budget-friendly options. Many supermarkets have a discount shelf, where you can find foods with a close best before date. Hunt for meat and fish bargains. You can freeze and use them later if you don’t have time to cook before the expiration day. Freezing is a good option for bread as well. Bakery products are cheap in general, and for example, the market chain Alepa sells their bakery products with 50% discount after 9pm. So time your grocery shopping wisely, and try for example karjalanpiirakka.
5. Flash your student card
Your everyday life will be more affordable with a student card. In Finland, there is a wide range of student discounts and facilities. For example, campus sport centers have ridiculously low membership fees and student health care is free of charge. Public transportation is half the price and many retail stores, restaurants, and service providers give discount to customers with a student card. So, remember to carry it all the time with you and show it at the cashier.
Discounts allow you to have a little bit of luxury in your life without blasting your budget. For example, museum entrance fees are cheaper and sometimes there are special days where students can explore the exhibitions for free! If you are interested in performing arts, don’t forget that you can get a ticket to a theater, ballet, or opera with only 10e if you go to the box office on the performance day and ask for available tickets. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reserve them in advance, but usually there are at least a few seats left. In case you want to secure your spot and book the ticket beforehand, you will get 10-50% discount from the ticket price depending on the show. That’s not bad either!
Nearly every university student faces the struggle of an empty bank account during their studies. Living on a budget is not as miserable as it may sound. Here are 5 tips on how to live on a budget and save money in Finland.