In my last post, I shared some ways to save money on food & drink. This article looks at other major student expenditures, such as transportation, clothing and services. My guide is based on student life in Copenhagen. However, these tips could be useful to students anywhere or to anyone who is interested in saving some money.
Get a bike – This is the cheapest, healthiest, and often the fastest form of transportation in Copenhagen. True Danes cycle to get around. Affordable used bikes can be found with ease on Facebook buy/sell groups. Negotiate a fair price.
I cycle to university every day, come rain or shine. Here’s the Soljberg Plads building on a rainy day:
Here’s another angle with a longer perspective:
Check out my Copenhagen Cycling guide for practical tips on navigation around the city.
Fashion on a budget – There are some familiar shops in Denmark, such as H&M and Zara, which sell reasonably priced, fashionable clothes. I must confess that I haven’t had to buy much clothing in Copenhagen, because I brought what I needed with me. In general, the cost of clothing here wasn’t as shocking as I had prepared myself for. Here’s a good post from The Ripple on how to shop fashionably on a budget.
Use discounts – Many shops offer student discounts. All you have to do is ask. It’s worth keeping an eye out for ’tilbud’, which means ‘deals’. Another word that you may well encounter here in Denmark is ‘slutspurt’. Despite the initial amusement that it may provoke, the word has nothing to do with promiscuity. Instead, it literally means a ‘race to the end’ of prices. In other words, it’s a final sale.
Charity Shops – Made cool around the world by Macklemore, the thrift shop is a great place to find stylish second-hand clothes. I am currently on the lookout for woolly Christmas jumpers.
Go for quality – You get what you pay for. I’ve got a brilliant waterproof jacket which has lasted me for years. It’s an essential item of clothing in Denmark, where it rains a lot, like England. Waterproof walking shoes are great for wet days, and they’ll last for a long time.
Personal & Services
Haircuts – I use Wahl hair clippers. It’s paid for itself after a couple of uses. As long as I start on a high number, and there aren’t any patches of hair sticking out, it looks smart. Add some gel and who would know the difference? However, if you have poor coordination, then maybe you should get a trustworthy friend to help you out.
As for the ladies, I’ve noticed that a lot of Danish women seem to have long hair. Maybe invest in some quality hair care products and consider growing your hair? The same could apply to men. But this is hardly groundbreaking advice.
Shaving – The price of quality razors is too high. Luckily for students, it’s still No Shave November. What’s more, facial hair is stylish in Scandinavia. Maybe it has something to do with their Viking ancestry. After all, who could imagine a Viking without a beard?
Mobile phone – Lebara is a good mobile network for international students. It has free texts and calls to other people on the same network. Other mobile network providers offer similar deals, so it’s worth looking around.
The cost of living is an important consideration to take into account before coming to study in a country. However, I’ve hopefully shown that it’s manageable on a student budget through taking practical measures, saving where possible, and avoiding frivolous spending. Small savings add up. If you save £1 a day, that could go towards a holiday at the end of the year. It all boils down to common sense, self-discipline and budgeting.