If you’re here, chances are you live in the Netherlands (or are planning to relocate here) and want to save some cash. Correct? Then this post is for you.
First, I will list solutions that I became aware of while living in Amsterdam; then, I will list some hacks that were suggested by the members of the lovely Facebook group created by Expat Republic.
Get a bike, for God’s sake
The cheapest and easiest way to move around Amsterdam and the Netherlands is, hands down, by bike. Though you can buy a brand-new bike at a dedicated store, there are plenty of Facebook groups where you can get a second-hand bike for probably less than 100 euros.
But wait, what if the weather’s trash, you might ask. And righteously so, because Dutch weather is pretty unpredictable all year long.
First off, check whether it’s going to rain or not on apps like Buienradar and Drops (they’re much more accurate than Apple Weather) and, if it’s indeed going to rain real bad, then get an OV-chipkaart.
A one-hour ticket valid on any means of transport in Amsterdam is 3.65 euros no matter where you’re going–pretty expensive, if you ask me. With an OV-chipkaart, you pay according to the distance, so, if you only have to ride two stops, it’s much more worth it than buying a regular one-hour ticket.
The OV-chipkaart costs approximately 7 euros, and you can charge it at every ticket machine in train stations.
Look for rent on Facebook groups and (at worst) Kamernet
Finding a place to rent in the Netherlands is notoriously hard because of the ongoing Dutch housing crisis that originated as a result of more and more people moving into the country to work or study.
Instead of turning to an agency, that requires an insane amount of paperwork, including proof of income and one or two months of rent as the deposit, I would recommend joining the dozens of Facebook groups where people post about available rooms and apartments.
A paid alternative would be Kamernet, which charges you a fee to access thousands of listings around the Netherlands. Though the idea of having to pay for it might be a turn-off, it’s certainly much more reliable than Facebook, where literally everyone could post anything without any requirements or criteria.
Whatever option you choose, just make sure to recognize the scams when you see one. If it’s too good to be true–and if someone refuses to meet you or talk to you over the phone–then it probably isn’t real. Be very careful!
See if you’re eligible to apply for a benefit
The Tax and Customs Administration in the Netherlands offers various benefits for low-income individuals who:
- are moving to the Netherlands;
- have Dutch health insurance;
- live in a rented house;
- have children younger than 18;
- have children that go to a childcare center.
Check out NS Flex for train deals
Moving around the Netherlands by train is certainly the easiest way to discover the beauties of the country. However, tickets might be expensive to some, and that’s when NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), the national railway company, comes in aid.
NS has various subscriptions (NS Flex) that offer discounts or unlimited travel deals on specific occasions, such as weekend and peak and off-peak hours, all listed on their website.
Get an Albert Heijn bonus card
Albert Heijn is, hands down, the most popular supermarket company in the Netherlands. Though it is also the most expensive, they found a way to go around it: giving away discount cards, called AH Bonuskaart.
This way, whenever you see an orange ‘BONUS’ sticker next to a product, it means you only have to swipe your card and the discount will be automatically applied.
Get a free legal consultation
Hope you never need it, but if you do…
There are plenty of organizations offering free legal consultation. If not a lot of money is at stake, chances are there might not be much they can do (I’m talking by experience) but it’s always good to turn to an expert for any legal doubts you may have.
Check this page for a quick summary of the main Amsterdam-based organizations offering this service.
Now, as promised, let’s dig into the wonderful world of Expat Republic to see whether its members thought of the same solutions as I did. I have purposefully cut out general advice that is valid anywhere you live to keep the article focused on living in Amsterdam.
- Go to the bar at happy hour.
- “Too good to go” app, cashback.nl, cashback.nl, voordeelmuis
- Freeganism used to be super easy in Am*. Probably still is
- Marktplaats, Vinted, Vakantieveilingen Cooking in bulk, buying groceries at the local markets, shopping (for clothes, for example) at times of seasonal discounts. Check your subscriptions to make sure you are not paying for anything you are not using. Making a monthly budget for hobbies and clothes and really sticking to it. ACTION
- Weekend Vrij on NS for travel in the Netherlands. the subscription is €31 per month, then you have unlimited travel on NS from Friday at 18:30 to Monday at 6:00 on NS throughout the Netherlands. A great way to explore the country!
- Buy your own pool table to get the hours in instead of paying 17euros an hour at a pool hall
- Be Dutch, only Focus on 2 words GRATIS and KORTING
- Move to Germany. In all seriousness, go to Turkey for the dentist–way cheaper.
- Don’t go to dates
Cover image credits: @sebasvisuals / Instagram