Student Mobility / Money / 10 Ways to Save Money As A Student In The Netherlands

10 Ways to Save Money As A Student In The Netherlands

Being a student is a lot of fun in so many ways. You don’t have to take responsibility for anyone but yourself and if you want to eat breakfast food for dinner or leftover cold pizza for breakfast, nobody will stop you. However, one downside to student life is that money’s often a little tight. If you can resonate with this, here are 10 ways to save money as a student in the Netherlands. 

1. Buy used textbooks

Of course, we’re not saying to skip out on buying textbooks for your classes. Having your own is handy while studying, and taking pictures of other people’s is a pain. However, buying your books new can be very costly, sometimes upward of 50 euros for the thick ones with endless pages.

Instead, if you’d like to save a little money to spend on other things, check if you can find your books second-hand. The best investment is to go on your university course’s Facebook page to see if an older student is offering their entire set of textbooks at once. Otherwise, you can try seeing if you can find anything on Bookmatch, Bol or Marktplaats

2. Make A Meal Plan 

This goes hand in hand with don’t go grocery shopping while hungry. Instead, sit down at the beginning of the week and plan what you want to eat  – whether it’s pasta pesto or lemon-buttered salmon, we won’t judge. Then, write out all the necessary ingredients so that you’ll know exactly what you need to buy when you’re at the grocery store. This will not only save you money but also ensure that you can feed yourself properly. 

3. Get a train discount 

If you travel by train frequently or know that you will be, then it’s worth looking into a travel discount. Of course, we’re a little biased but we recommend our Student Mobility Card. With this travel card, you can travel while saving money without the hassle. You’ll get 15% off your journey during weekends or off-peak hours, while also being able to monitor your trips in the app, allowing you to adjust according to your budget needs. 

4. Take advantage of your student discount

Listen… once you’re no longer a student, it’ll take a long time until you’ll be eligible for a discount again. So, come equipped with your student card and save, save, save! From museums and cinemas to clothes and computer software, your student status can get you discounts for a lot of things.

If there’s even more you’d like to save on, you could also grab yourself an ISIC Student ID, which officially proves your student status and your eligibility for its discount. Check out the full overview of discounted products and services in the Netherlands here

5. Join your university gym

Staying fit is important for both your physical and mental health. It’s a great way to destress and make sure that your mind can take the last-minute exam cramming you’ll probably subject it to at some point. However, commercial gym memberships can be costly, especially if you’d like to make use of both cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as workout classes.  

Oftentimes, joining your university gym is the best bang for your buck. Usually, you can choose whether you’d like to buy a workout class-only membership or if you’d also like to add on gym access. 

6. Opt for studying at the library over a café

For many students, coffee equals fuel. If you’re anything like us, you’ve also learned to love an actually drinkable cup of coffee every so often. That makes a café the ideal space to study – great caffeinated goodness on top of a comfortable study spot equipped with a plug. It’s a win-win, right? Well, it is for everyone but your wallet. 

Spending 5 euros on a coffee several times a week can quickly add up. If you want to save a bit of extra cash each week, it’s a better idea to make your coffee at home and bring it to go. Libraries – whether your university’s or the public one within your Dutch city – are free and will also help you fulfill your studying potential. 

7. Buy your things second-hand 

Whether you need clothes or furniture, a lot can be purchased second-hand. This is not only cheaper but also a great option if you want to do good for the planet. Here too, you can opt for the typical online thrift options – like Facebook Marketplace or Marktplaats – but many Dutch cities also hold flea markets during the weekend that are great.

If you’re in need of furniture, check out your city’s assortment of kringloopwinkels, or second-hand stores. Sometimes they even deliver bigger items, like beds or wardrobes, to your address, which is great if you don’t own a car. For clothes, your best bet is second-hand or vintage stores in your city, in addition to online thrifting platforms like Depop and Vinted

8. Apply for governmental benefits 

If you’re a student in the Netherlands who does not have a high income, you’re often entitled to benefits, such as a (partial) reimbursement of your health insurance or rent costs. As it can sometimes be a bit tricky to figure out if you qualify, we’ve written an entire blog post on this topic. Check it out here

9. Party at home on occasion

Of course, going out and experiencing the nightlife of your Dutch city is totally part of the international student thing. We’re also not saying you shouldn’t do it. However, it’s also hard to deny how expensive partying can be, from club or festival entrances to alcohol costs. 

So, if you’re a person who goes out a lot, consider relocating the party to your house every so often to save money as a student in the Netherlands. Your friends will probably be happy to join, and, on the bright side, it’ll give you the opportunity to avoid biking home in the cold or rain in the early hours of the morning. 

10. Get a job

We saved the most obvious for last. If you’re short on cash, the best way to reverse this is by getting a student job next to your studies. In the Netherlands, this is totally doable next to your studies, whether you see yourself working in hospitality, retail or babysitting. Of course, if you’re studying full time, evenings and weekends would be the ideal working hours. Fortunately, many employers are prepared for this. 

This is definitely the case for those that Student Mobility partners with. We have a whole database of companies and establishments that are looking for international students to hire for jobs ranging from IT and hospitality to delivery and content creation. All you have to do is fill out our job form and we’ll see if we can find you the perfect part-time job match. Then, after some time, we’ll reach out with the good news. 

These were our suggestions for the 10 ways to save money as a student in the Netherlands, from buying your textbooks used all the way to getting a job. With these tips, you’ll likely be able to afford to do all the things an international student in a Dutch city should do on occasion  – like going out or hopping on a train for a weekend trip. 

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