As a very frugal individual who also enjoys eating delicious foods and buying cute clothes, I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to budget myself on this study abroad. I’ve been told that Denmark is very expensive, but coming from Hawaii, the prices don’t really scare me all that much – if anything, some things are actually a lot cheaper here!
Tip #1 – Cash Exchange: If you bring cash and can help it, DO NOT exchange at the airport. The exchange rates are very bad (I lost about $70 to the exchange rate). Although I have never been to the money exchange that DIS recommends, I have seen a couple exchange offices in the city center (where the DIS classes are) and their rates are much more favorable and close to the actual exchange rate.
Tip #2 – Groceries: Buy groceries! It’s much cheaper (and a lot more fun) to make your own meals!
2.2: If you have time, compare the different prices, because most stores carry the same things at different price points. I’ve come to realize that Irma is one of the most expensive stores, and Netto is the cheapest (depending on what you’re purchasing).
2.3: I cannot stress this one enough – buy your meats, fish, and pastries in the evening, because the prices drop significantly. For example, yesterday, I bought 600g of chicken breast at 7pm, for 15kr (originally 30) which is about $2.50. Most grocery stores also give you a discount after a certain time on the pastries (I believe that the Netto across from my Kollegium is 50% off after 8pm).
Tip #3: Recycle! My flatmate took me to Netto to do the bottles and cans last week, and I was completely astounded when I saw how much money we got from a few cans and bottles. Unlike Hawaii, where we get five cents per can or bottle, Denmark gives people anywhere from 1kr to 4.5kr for one bottle/can – and that adds up quickly. It’s a super easy way to make a few extra dollars, and you’ll also be helping the environment!
Tip #4: Use the student discounts! Many places offer free admission or discounts if you simply tell them that you’re a student! Places like the Studenterhuset and Starbucks near DIS give student discounts, and the Danish Design Museum is free to students!
These are the tips that I have for living on a budget in Denmark! It might seem a little daunting being in a different country, with different currency and different price points, but I never forget to have fun and splurge a little! My guilty pleasure is pastries & sweets – even though I try to live on a budget, I never restrict myself from the things I truly want to eat and buy. I only have three more weeks here, and I don’t want to have any regrets leaving!