Hej allihopa! I hope you are all healthy and in a good condition! *shoo covid shoo*
As a student, generally, our “kodrat” (re: nature) is basically to spend money, be it for grocery shopping, day-to-day transportation, or simply to have fun.
As a not-so-frugal student who has been spending 4 months here in Stockholm trying to maximize my spending, here are some tips for you to ensure every krona is spent wisely.
- Apply for a travel credit card before starting your study abroad*
The interesting thing about the credit card market in Indonesia is the variety of benefits it could offer, so you could choose any that matches your lifestyle. If you’ve been working to achieve a certain level of income and planning to study abroad, I highly suggest applying for a travel credit card that could convert your transactions into miles.
Then, try to spend your shopping with the card so you could earn miles with that. I did this right before my study and when I checked my miles, I guessed I could redeem my miles for a roundtrip ticket to Helsinki with a few more spending.
(*Owning a credit card comes with risks and benefits so please check whether it is suitable or not for you, oh and always pay the bill on time!)
- Join airline membership that offers student price
There are several airlines that offer promotions for students. Here are some airlines that I know provide discounts and other perks for students: Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia. When I came here, I went with Qatar Airways and the student membership really helped in adding an extra 10kg of baggage! Now I already mentioned several airlines and it’s your turn to research which one is the most suitable for your trip to Sweden!
- Use e-sim while waiting for your Swedish sim card
I found this start-up, Airalo, is useful in helping my connectivity in my first months in Sweden. If you want to have a post-paid sim card, you have to wait until you get your personnummer, your Swedish personal identity number. So while waiting for my PN to arrive, I subscribed to monthly data through e-sim in Airalo.
If your phone supports this feature, I suggest you better go with e-sim so you can have both physical sim (from Indonesia) and temporary e-sim that only cost me $5 (from Airalo in my case) working at the same time. You can also read the detail here, my friend Widi made a great article about e-simcard!
When in Sweden (and in some case, after you get your Personnummer)
I need to make it on another section since basically your life in Sweden is officially started once you get your personnummer 😀 (read here on how to apply for the personnummer)
So without further ado, here are some tips (again, based on my experience) to spend wisely here in Sweden (after you get your PN)
- Sign up for any membership that gives you discounts
Many stores in Sweden offer memberships that in return give discounts as a benefit. My tip is basically.. just sign up! I regularly do groceries at Willy’s so I signed up for Willy’s Plus membership and sometimes I get discounts (like a really huge discount) on some items. I also do the same for IKEA by becoming an IKEA Family member.
- Look for student discounts!
Not only member discounts, some also provide student discounts. As my uni’s student card is connected to Mecenat, I can get discounts from merchants that are affiliated with Mecenat. Even without Mecenat, I highly encourage you to always ask the store whether there is a student discount or not since maybe it is not written.
- Other discounted shopping options
Sweden is well-known for its second-hand stores. However, not everyone (in this case: me) is into second-hand shopping. I then found two other options that could help in my need for new clothes. My favorites are Afound.com, an online marketplace from H&M group, and ASOS.com. Oh and generally you’re entitled to 14 days free return on online stores here, so don’t worry, you can simply return if the size doesn’t fit.
- On Food
Sometimes (or most of the time) I am bored with my bland cooking and want to eat out. Back in Indonesia, I was spoiled with the ease of ride-hailing and food delivery apps. Therefore, I looked for these kinds of apps in Sweden, hoping for similar discounts as I had in Indonesia. I now have four different food delivery apps: Bolt Food, Foodora, Uber Eats, and Wolt. Turned out, there is a discount, but most are still expensive :”) My tip is to benefit from the first order discount. It *could* help to save some krona.
As you can see above, I also have several fast-food apps like McDonald’s and Max Express. I’ve been regularly using McDonald’s app since sometimes you could get coupons like buy-1-get-1 BigMac. This is a good deal! I also have Max Express, an app for Max Burgers, a Swedish fast-food chain. It doesn’t provide a discount but it could save your time whenever you want to order food during peak hour. The pink one on the bottom left, Karma, is also an app to buy foods at discounted prices so that they won’t go to waste. You can simply open the app, check restaurants nearby, check the menu provided, buy it from the app, and simply pick it up from the restaurants.
Lately, I also found joy in going to coffee shops for studying. Or simply just to have a cup of tea by my side during studying in the library. I, therefore, subscribe to monthly unlimited coffee/tea from Espresso House, the largest coffee chain in Sweden. By paying 149:- per month, I could get coffee or tea once every two hours. I checked my order log from the previous month and I ordered 25 cups of coffee and tea in December. I think 6:- per cup is definitely a good deal.
Last but not least, please take these tips with a grain of salt and only apply tips that fit you. I hope you find these tips helpful for your stay here in Sweden.
Do you have other tips? Please share in the comment below so we can help each other to spend wisely!
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Editor: Putu Christ Wirawan