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The Finland Diet

March 4, 2012

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?

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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.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. ophelia permalink*
    March 4, 2012 8:06 pm

    I would like to add some points.

    First of all it helps to socialize and cook together because otherwise you spend three days in a row eating the same stuff.

    Another point might be to be prepared: how often does it happen that you get hungry and you are not willing to cook – have some ready made meal in the freezer. Prevents you from buying junk food at the closest store or pizza delivery.

    And my last point is: Do not eat at university. Even so it seems to be cheap and a lot of food it hurts your budget for only one big and heavy meal but you need something for dinner and breakfast as well.

    Last I have another tip how to get movie tickets cheap and have a second experience at the same time: Erasmus in Schools project. You get some cinema tickets in exchange for having the experience of visiting a Finnish school. Sounds like a good exchange!
    I did it and I really enjoyed the different visits.

  2. cheeann permalink
    March 5, 2012 2:10 pm

    Hi, i’m planing for Finland trip this coming summer.
    Before i go there, i want to know how much is the price for one meal(budjet) or budjet meal price for one day while traveling there.
    How bout the transportation fee there? and also the accomodation fee?

    • March 5, 2012 2:34 pm

      Hey, Finland is rather expensive. The prices for groceries are okay when you know where to buy and you don’t want brand food. For ready made meals (even in stores) the prices are also a little higher. Maybe you are able to make the meals yourself. I have no real idea what the prices for hostels or hotels are. I can just tell you that Omena hotel is a low-price hotel in Helsinki but maybe you find a hostel that is cheaper.
      Even though you might be a student, you won’t be able to get student discount to the public transportation. You can check out the prices for Helsinki transportation in advance here: http://www.hsl.fi/EN/ticketsandfares/prices/Pages/internaltickets.aspx.

      Unfortunately, you are also not entitled for a student discount at VR, which is the Finnish long-distance train company. They want you to have a student union card. Like in other countries the prices vary depending on the destination, but check the prices here: http://www.vr.fi/en/index/aikataulut.html.

      Hopefully you will enjy your stay in Finland. Especially in summer it is very beautiful.

  3. cheeann permalink
    March 6, 2012 9:21 am

    Thank you for your reply.
    Ya, I’m a university student in South Korea.
    Do they offer 7-days card for using the public transport unlimitedly?
    The same card can be used for other cities beside Helsinki?
    Can i get discount for accomodation with my student card?
    Have you been to Estonia? How bout the prices there?
    Thank you:)

    • March 6, 2012 10:32 am

      There are 7 day cards for different area but if you include the surrounding area the whole time it gets quite expensive.
      I do not think that you can get any discount with your student card especially not for accomodation.
      Estonia is nice and the prices for food and transportation are really cheap.

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