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Eat: spend your money wisely; cheap food in Norway

It may be the case that you hail from a region where money holds a different value, or perhaps you are a student on an exchange program. Or like me, you live here and you still consider everything to be outrageously expensive. But you can get your hands on cheap food in Norway. And I am delighted to provide you with some tips on how to easily and enjoyably save on food expenses.

The very first tip pertains to supermarkets, particularly Coop and Meny. In nearly all cases, they have a refrigerated section where products nearing their expiration dates are offered at a significant discount. Everything from milk to vegetables, and from meat to fish. Saturdays, especially towards the end of the afternoon, present the best opportunity to purchase excellent items at a 40-70% reduction. Whether you are backpacking or embarking on a camper adventure, it is worth stocking up here. Seeking something a tad pricier? Then pay a visit to Jacobs. It is an exceedingly expensive supermarket, but it boasts an exceptional and extensive selection of seafood. Due to this very reason, there is always an excess that is sold at a substantial discount.

One of my personal favorites is Toogoodtogo. What began as an idealistic Danish notion to rescue food from demise has now grown into an extensive network of restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, and petrol stations that often offer food products at greatly reduced prices towards the end of the day. Here is how it works: You download the Toogoodtogo app and grant it access to your phone's location. Subsequently, you can peruse the nearby establishments offering discounted items. Personally, I am particularly fond of the somewhat pricier bakeries. Suddenly, for around 50 kroner, you find yourself in possession of a delectable sourdough bread, a few cinnamon rolls, and perhaps even some ready made sandwiches. You never quite know what you will receive, but rest assured, it will be more than sufficient for your breakfast the following morning. Since you can often collect your surprise bag at the end of the business day, it is important to arrive on time. However, such details are usually clearly indicated within the app.

Another tip: Purchase directly from farmers. Especially in the summertime, Norway becomes somewhat of a food factory. For example when driving through Hardanger, you will encounter a fruit or vegetable stall approximately every 300 meters. The charming aspect is that most of these stalls are unattended. You can freely select whatever catches your fancy, and often, payment is made by placing some money into a mailbox. Therefore, it is advisable to always carry a small amount of change with you. Additionally, you can often find other items such as honey, jam, eggs, and other specialties at these farms. If you come across a sign saying "Gårdsbutikk," it is nearly always worthwhile to take the swing and explore what is on sale.

Do your grocery shopping at Asian, Arab, or Turkish supermarkets. They frequently offer an impressive range of fresh produce and are generally considerably cheaper than regular supermarkets. Why? Because they do not have a management team earning a hefty sum each year, nor do they use any funds on marketing. My personal favourite is Real Frukt & Grønt located in Grønland here in Oslo.


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