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Five essential tips for saving money on food shopping in Norway

Food shopping in Norway is among the most expensive in Europe, meaning every krone counts. Thankfully, there are a few tips that can help you slash your food bill

A supermarket.
These are our five top tips for saving money on groceries in Norway. Pictured is a supermarket, Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi on Unsplash

Make the most of loyalty programs

Supermarket loyalty programs are one of the best ways to save a pretty penny on your shopping bill. There are also a few different ways they can be utilised to help you save money too.

Trumf, which covers Meny, Kiwi and Joker stores, and becoming a member and part-owner of the Coop offer cashback rewards on purchases.

These offer a great way of saving money passively. With Trumf, you can either use the cash back you’ve accumulated to save on your next trip to the tills or have it deposited straight into your bank account.

The cashback on Trumf ranges from one to three percent, depending on which day of the week it is.

The Coop pays one percent cash back on all purchases, paid out once a year.

Cashback isn’t the only option either. Loyalty schemes offer personalised discounts on the things you buy most. For families with young children, most schemes offer a discount on baby products and nappies.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about supermarket loyalty schemes in Norway

Shop at independent food stores

Generally speaking, small independent grocery stores are some of Norway’s best sources of cheap fruit and vegetables.

Most big towns, and some smaller ones, will have at least one greengrocer, and the larger cities will have several dotted around.

The fruit and veg found in these stores are more varied and usually cheaper than the selection found in Norwegian supermarkets. Additionally, these stores typically specialise in imported foods from all over the world.

READ ALSO: Where to find international foods in Norway

The imported foods you find in these stores are also cheaper than they would be in a supermarket.

Make the most of apps

For anyone looking to save a bit of money on the weekly shop, then Mattilbud is an essential download. The app gathers all the current offers on food supermarkets in Norway are running so you know where the best savings can be found.

Other apps like Too Good To Go are also popular in Norway. Too Good To Go offers great prices on food that stores and restaurants would otherwise throw in the bin. The app isn’t just thrifty; it also helps you do your bit to help cut down on food waste.

Get into thrifty habits

There are a few ways you can change your shopping habits to save money. For starters, all Norwegian supermarkets have a reduced to clear section where food approaching its sell-by date is put. If you shop in one supermarket regularly, it may be worth figuring out when the reduced to clear section is stocked.

You won’t always find what you are looking for or something you might use by expiration. Instead, keep an eye out for bits you buy regularly and can put in the freezer for another day.

Buying in bulk and meal planning are also great ways to cut down on your shopping bill. Combining these tips with discount apps and loyalty schemes will help you maximise these savings.

Shop in Sweden

When we have run readers surveys on the best ways to save money in Norway in the past, one tip that readers also pass on is to consider shopping in Sweden.

For obvious reasons, this won’t make sense if you live in Stavanger, Bergen or Ålesund. However, if you live close to the border, it may be worth crossing over into Sweden for cheaper goods.

The reason why harrytur (cross-border shopping trips) are so popular is because Sweden doesn’t pay the same customs duties as Norway does as it is an EU member. This means plenty of products are much cheaper than in Norway and the selection on offer is a lot more varied as the protection laws aren’t as tight. 

There are some quotas and rules, though, and you may be subject to taxes depending on how much you spend.

READ MORE: Why are harrytur so popular with Norwegians? 

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Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Norway but have income in pound sterling?

The value of the British pound has fallen steeply against the dollar in recent days but also against the Euro – and the krone. So what should you do if you live in Norway but have income – such as a pension, rental income or a salary – in pound sterling?

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Norway but have income in pound sterling?

Exchange rates might sound like a spectacularly dull topic, but if you live in Norway (where, naturally, your day-to-day living expenses are paid in kroner) but have income from the UK in pounds, then the movement of the international currency markets will have a major impact on the money that ends up in your pocket.

This is not an uncommon situation – Norway-based Brits may work remotely as freelancers from British companies and be paid for invoices in pounds, while retired Brits might be receiving a British pension.

Others might have income from rental properties or investments.

So a big loss in the value of the pound against the euro – and by extension, the krone – can have a major impact on Brits in Norway.

The most recent fall in the value of the pound was sparked by the UK government’s new mini budget and has already seen a relative recovery. 

But while this one-time fall is spectacular, it’s also part of a longer-term trend in the fall of the value of the pound, especially since Brexit, that has seen people such as foreign-based pensioners lose a big chunk of their income.

So if you have income in pounds, what are your options?

Income in kroner – obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone, especially pensioners, but the best way to protect against currency exchange shocks is to make sure that you’re paid in the same currency that you spend in.

While the krone is traditionally weak against the pound, it is known as a safe and stable currency as Norway has no net debt, and the Norwegian krone isn’t pegged to another currency. 

Alternatively, income in euros: the advantage of the euro is that for those being paid from abroad, billing in euros means you could work in any EU country – including the anglophone ones like Ireland – and get your salary in euros.

Depending on your employer, it might also be possible for you to ask to bill in euros. 

Work in Norway – if you’re currently not working or want to switch to local currency income, then an obvious option is to take up some work in Norway.

Depending on your work and residency status, as well as the field you work, the practicality of this option ranges wildly from one person to the next.

READ ALSO: What is Norway’s job market like for foreigners at the moment?

Exchange rate – if your income can only be paid in pounds, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the best exchange rate possible and that you don’t waste money on international transfer fees.

The best options here are online banks or money transfer services, which compete on the rates that they offer, so usually have the most advantageous rate.

Some online banks also have the option to set up accounts in both pounds and kroner, so that you can receive money in pounds and spend it in kroner without having to make bank transfers, which can attract fees.