Moving to another country is fun and adventurous, but can be expensive too. Besides all the new places you want to discover and visit, you will also need to invest time studying the tax system of your new country of residence. Prices and spending levels will probably be different compared to your home country.
In this blog we will share with you 8 tips to keep your household cashflow healthy while living in the Netherlands. Exactly the way the Dutch do.
Managing your household cashflow the Dutch way
We are aware of our image as stingy people and in some way the Dutch are definitely confirming this image. Of course there is a solid reason, Dutch people are hard working people and they are very much aware that you can only spend your money once. So as the Dutch saying goes, we keep our hands on our wallet.
1. Preparing for price changes: work out your normal grocery list
What you need to be aware of, is the fact that goods can be more expensive than you are used too. Make sure you have an idea of the prices charged for the products you normally buy. Write down your general grocery list beforehand and check the prices in the nearby supermarket or online. Most supermarkets do have an online shop these days.
Doing groceries in the Netherlands can be different from your home country. In the Netherlands the specialty stores, such as the greengrocer are long gone. The bigger supermarket chains have everything you need, so you do not need to drive across the city to get your weekly groceries.
2. Look at your spending behaviour
Track your spending behaviour and check what the costs are in the Netherlands. Get a grip on your household expenses by listing everything you spend your money on. Do you earn enough money to maintain your current lifestyle in the Netherlands or do you need to make some changes?
Be aware there can be additional costs such as taxes and fees. For example, in the Netherlands you are obliged to have health insurance (we wrote a blog about it the Dutch healthcare system before) and you need to pay income taxes, things may be new to you.
3. Financial resiliency, plan ahead
Set aside funds for bills you know will arrive sometime in the future. Like this you are always financially able to pay the bills. Make sure you set aside money for paying your income taxes, car insurance, MOT or maintenance costs.
Create a budget for the different costs. This will give you the tools to determine if something is too expensive.
- Clothes (sales starts in december and july)
- Family trips
- Hobbies and sports
5. Always check the small print
Always check contracts for small print and never sign any contract until you have read and understood all the stated terms. Knowing what is expected of you and what you can expect of the other party is vital.
Knowing the contracts you have will give you the necessary insights in the payment periods and terms. If you find it hard to understand a contract, let someone else read the contract and discuss the terms together.
6. Keep away from debt collectors
And we do not mean, hide from them by not answering any calls or letters you receive. This will only get you in even more trouble.
By knowing the ins and outs of the financial responsibilities you have regarding companies, you are already well-covered. But in case you get in a situation where you have problems paying your bills, always contact the people and companies you owe money too. In most cases you can agree a different payment arrangement for a certain period. This will give you some extra time to work out your financial situation.
7. Talking about money should not be a taboo
The topic ‘money’ has long been a taboo, a subject not easily talked about. Especially, in the Netherlands some people are convinced you should not talk about your income, debts, financial goals and how much you paid for your house or your new kitchen. The last few years this topic is more open for discussion.
Discuss any money problems with people you feel comfortable with. Talking about it will feel soothing and any advice from others will (maybe) help you figure it out more easily.
8. Use these apps to save money
There are applications for everything, including of course saving money. How convenient! To get a grip on your spending and find the items you only need once and you do not want to buy, these are the applications you will definitely adore:
This application contains all the ads brochures (folders) you normally get in your mailbox. Comes in handy when preparing your shopping list and you can ban the overload of brochures you receive in your mailbox. Maybe you already spotted the ‘Nee-Nee stickers’, placed on the letter boxes across your neighbourhood.
To rent stuff you do not want to own yourself. You can register on the website.
- Too good to go
To buy products/food that will otherwise be thrown away.
Discover gas stations in the area where gas prices are the lowest.
A true household cashflow guide based on Dutch financial best practices. The world laughs about it and call the Dutch greedy people. In a way this is true, these tips are also proving that point of view, but we like to call it financial management the Dutch way, and we implement it during our travels too.
So be wise and use these Dutch tips, to keep your household cashflow as healthy as possible and enjoy The Netherlands.