January and February are the months were most people stick to their New Year’s resolution. A very prominent one: dieting. To aid those really determined ones, the former senator responsible for financial issues proposed a diet, in 2008, which only costs 4.25 € a day.
Although his idea wasn’t exactly meant for weight losers, but for recipients of German social benefits, he worked out a plan that promised a healthy and balanced menu. After many trials, individuals and news papers have tested that many of his prices for individual food items are right, but where can you buy 100 gram of minced meat for 0.38 €? Going to the butcher isn’t an option, because they charge prices twice as high, which would blow you budget. In general, everyone went above the budget. Worst thing, you barely had something to drink. The senator allowed between two and three glasses of tea or coffee, daily. Juice was just included once during his 3-day plan. One can argue that you could drink tap water, but it also needs to get paid.
The planning for moving to Finland included setting a budget for food and essential goods. As a student budget is the biggest constraint in life, so living on 200 € monthly is a pretty though case. Considering a month with 30 days, I have 6.67 € (anomalies caused by rounding).
The idea and concept is very, especially when you are able to life by it, but is it really possible?
After living in Finland for about 6 month I can tell you that it is feasible. When you don’t consider expensive trips to Lapland, Estonia or Stockholm, and you don’t buy the most expensive foods but the favorite brand of the supermarket, you can get by. Especially as you don’t have to consider the costs for water and electricity (as already included in HOAS apartments), nothing keeps you from cooking your food yourself.
My challenge is now running for a couple of months and I am able to make pizza for 3 persons (or 3 single meals) for only 3 € total, or how about a homemade fish burger with cheese, tomato, onions and fish fingers for only 1.20€.
I am not the greatest chef, but I discovered a great secret which I will share with you. Don’t just buy the groceries for the next day or two but buy them when they are on sale, or even buy a bigger package and freeze the rest until you need. Some shops sell their breads cheaper before they get the new delivery, so why not buying bread cheaply, freezing it and take it out when you need it. You have an oven, so you can even do it in the morning before heading to university.
If you wonder whether sweets and chocolate are included in this plan, yes they are but not necessarily the most prominent brand.
Give it a shoot and spend the superfluous money on something nice. Treat yourself with a trip to the movies or maybe, as a girl, go for a manicure. Or when you want to spend it on something beneficial go to one of the many museum. Remember: Helsinki is Design Capital. There are so many cool exhibitions around, everyone finds the right spot.