Traveling on the cheap in an expensive country.
Norway is a country which comprises the extreme western portion of Scandinavia, along with the islands of Svalbard and the smaller island of Jan Mayen. In the past, the territory of Norway also included the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Bohuslän, Jämtland, Härjedalen, and various islands which are now part of the UK. Norway is technically a monarchy, with King Harald V being the current head of state, although the country itself is a democratic nation.
Norway has, since the discovery of oil off its shores, become one of the best places in the world to live, with a quality of life which is not met in many other countries in the developed world. Because of this, prices for food and other services are very high. Backpacking is a very good and cheap way to see the world, but the prohibitively high cost of food in Scandinavia is something which can trip a lot of people up when they are travelling.
Here are some tips to help you save money on food.
Make a List
Impulse purchases are the bane of all budgets – make impulse purchases and soon you will find that your entire budget has been chewed up by novelty chocolate rabbits, for example. When you are on a strict budget, make a list, and then stick with it. Strictly. Only buy what is on the list, and you and your bank account will be much happier. If you must have a novelty chocolate bunny, save your changeup and buy one that way.
Plan your Meals
Doing a meal plan will help you to plan your lists, and what you are going to buy for dinner (or for any meal). You can do one for a day or a week or a month; whichever suits you best. Meal planning lets you plan ahead, and it also means that you can shop in sales more effectively, and also lets you use what is in season, which will be cheaper than shopping for certain ingredients just because you like them.
Know your Pantry
This admittedly works better if you are in one place long enough to really build up a pantry in the first place, but it is good advice for anyone. Know what you already have, so that you don’t waste your money buying them again. Not only will this save you money in the long run, it will also save on food, because chances are that the duplicate food you buy will go off before you can eat it.
Eat Less Meat
We eat a lot of meat in the northern hemisphere because it is one of the easiest ways of staying warm in a colder climate. The only problem with this is that meat is very expensive, and it can easily knock your budget out just by buying a little of it. To combat this, try having two or three meals a week without any meat in them – go vegetarian, or go vegan! The money you save can be added back into the budget painlessly, and it can also compel you to try new recipes and foods.
Use a Deep Freezer
A deep freezer is a budget’s best friend. Get one which is wide enough and deep enough to hold leftovers from more than a few meals, and you will that your monthly overall food bills plummet. Make meals which are bigger than you would normally eat, and then freeze one or two portions for meals in the future. When you need a meal, simply take one out and defrost it before eating. This means that instead of needing to buy new food, you can simply turn to your freezer for sustenance.
Comparing prices in general can save you a lot of money. Not everywhere prices their food the same, and while it might make your shopping time longer, it can be very worth it in the end. Buying nuts and seeds in a health food store is better than doing so in a supermarket, because these things are the health food store’s stock in trade, therefore they will be much cheaper.
Follow the Money
Supermarkets in Norway normally sell Norwegian food in the usual sizes, so it can be fairly expensive. If you go to international food stores instead, you will find many foods in bulk, such as beans, various spices, olives, and other things, to be anything from fifty to ninety percent off at any given time. Provided you like the types of food which can be made with this, you can save a lot of money shopping outside of the usual supermarkets.
Sales can sometimes be few and far between, but they are always worth looking at when they do come up. Particularly if the food is fresh, you can make some good meals for very little money. Sales are also to be found in the section of the shop where they put expired or nearly expired food. This where supermarkets put food which either needs to be sold soon, or isn’t looking at its best. Shopping in this section can mean you save a lot of money on your daily budget.
Some recipes can handle substitutions better than you might think, and this is a good way to save money. Many cuts of meat, for example, can be substituted for cheaper cuts – you will need to adjust the time of cooking, but they will normally taste okay. A similar thing can happen with cheese – instead of using the super expensive cheddar which the recipe calls for, try using the cheaper version. To a certain extent, cheese is cheese; and you will save a lot of money.
Don’t Waste Food
Only buy food you know that you will eat. Eat it if you have it, because wasted food is wasted money.
Eat your Vegetables
Not only are vegetables very good for you, they are also quite cheap in Norway, so stock up on them. You will be healthier, and your budget will thank you.
While Norway is a wonderful place to visit and to work, it has its problems. Norway is an expensive place to live and travel, and this article aimed to show some ways in which people could alleviate the burden through prudent food budgeting and shopping. There are many more ways to do this, but hopefully readers will have this as a starting off point.
This article was written by Sarah Evans, a professional writer at EssayZoo who adores reading about history. She lives in Scotland, and when not working, enjoys walking, reading, and having intense debates about the philosophies of different religions, and how they interact with one another.
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