Cost efficient shopping in Groningen

So, we all know as a student it is important nay imperative to find ways to save money. Here I am going to take you through some of my favourite ways to shop and live my best life on a budget in Groningen.

1. Furniture

I don’t know about you but when I moved here, I was super excited to be able to design my room however I wanted and have my own space. But a quick trip to Ikea let me know quickly that my dream room aint cheap! Don’t get me wrong Ikea is not astronomically expensive and there are a lot of things in my room that are from Ikea and just like the next person I love taking an unnecessary trip to Ikea. However, there are other ways you can decorate without taking out a whole mortgage.

Your first stop for sure should be Mamamini. What is Mamamini I hear you ask? This is a second-hand store with multiple locations around the city that gives you so many options for furniture and utensils and decor at a much cheaper rate than Ikea. I’m talking tables, chairs, pots, pans, sofas, pianos (I’ve seen a few) and even clothes. I can talk about Mamamini all day but i’ll stop now. The point is you should go.

Action can be your next stop. Action is an international discount store-chain that sells low budget items such as food products with long shelf lives, even appliances and of course some bits for decor. I personally recommend Action for many things over Ikea. Check it out you won’t be disappointed.

Facebook! Facebook is a really helpful place where you can get second hand inexpensive and sometimes FREE furniture and decor. My advice join a few Facebook groups and see what comes up.

Here are some:

Lastly, I must mention Ikea. I know I just spent this whole section talking about options I prefer to Ikea, but there is a reason Ikea is an internationally recognised company. They have products that are amazing. My advice is check out the other options first before going to Ikea. You may save yourself some coin!

Some honourable mentions:

  • Xenos
  • Zeeman
  • Primark

2. Food

For your fruit and Vegetable needs, I will always recommend the Market. Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9:00-17:00, there is a farmer’s market in the city. Here you can find fruits, vegetables, cheese, yam, plantain and even baked goods at the Vismarkt Markt. This is one of my all-time favourite things about the city.

Now for other food here’s my take. In the Netherlands I have found that there is a hierarchy of the major grocery stores. I’ll share with you this list I have created of what I see as most expensive to least expensive.

Coming in at number 4 is Albert Heijn (AH).

In my opinion, this is one of the most if not the most expensive stores in the Netherlands to do your shopping in. But that doesn’t mean it is off limits. If you are going to shop at AH on the daily, I would recommend shopping AH own brand AH basic. For most branded products AH has their own version that is in almost all cases cheaper.

Coming in at joint third place Coop and Plus

This one is a little tricky. I have found that depending on where you are, the prices of products at different Coop stores differ. Still, I think it is a rather expensive store in comparison to alternate options to come. Groningen has a total of 2 Plus stores in the city of Groningen. If you find yourself here at a Plus store, I have questions for you.

In second place Jumbo

I am somewhat of a self-appointed Jumbo connoisseur. I have a favourite jumbo. That’s besides the point. Jumbo in terms of price falls in a perfect middle ground when it comes to its pricing of its products. Just like AH, Jumbo has its own brand for most products which is another way of saving a few bucks here and there

In joint first place Lidl and Aldi

If ebony and ivory go together then so, do these guys. These stores are the ultimate location for shopping on a budget. Personally, I prefer Lidl because it’s like a minute closer to my house than Aldi and there are a few products I prefer in Aldi’s products.

3.      Discounts

For discounts you need to remember 2 things and they are Actie folders and Store cards. Actie folders or junk mail as I used to see them are released every 2ish weeks and collect the promotions for many offered by many of the major high street stores. These usually come in the mail in a packet, but I have found that not all houses get them. So, I found a website that collects them nicely for you.

The next thing is store cards. On my keys I have an AH card, Jumbo extra, Holland and Barrett card and in my wallet, I have store cards for Etos, Hema, Kruidvat and more for stores in the UK. This is really beneficial for stores like Albert Heijn where scanning your store card gives you discounted prices when there are discounts in the Actie folders.

 4.      Ethnic Stores 

First stop is Nazar.

  • Nazar Market and Butchery is originally a Turkish supermarket with a halal meat department. I find that Nazar’s meat products are cheaper than what you would find in the chain stores.
    • Boterdiep 49, 9712 LK Groningen
  • Amazing oriental is an asian store, noodle and spice heaven and has the best plantain in my opinion. We could debate about that.
    • Korreweg 51, 9714 AB Groningen
  • Looking for African food products some of your options
    • Africarib- Nieuwe Ebbingestraat 99, 9712 NH Groningen
    • Toko Melati-126-128, Gedempte Zuiderdiep, 9711 HM Groningen

Finally! You have reached the end. I feel like there should be some sort of reward for you for making it this far. But I guess your reward will be all the saving money.

 Happy shopping!


  • Hey there! My name Genevieve, I am the 2020-2021 ASC President. I’m British-Nigerian History student at the University of Groningen. You can probably find me in the Harmoniegebouw or the Noorderplantsoen