I get asked a lot about the high cost of living in Norway, and especially about the price of food here. While many people agree this is the best place in the world to live (like these, these and these people), if you ask most people living in Norway, food is quote “really expensive” and “not worth what you pay most of the time”. While I’m not sure I fully agree with those statements, especially given the exceptionally decent wages for most people in Norwegian society and the overall high quality of the food produced in Norway, here are five easy tips to help you save money on your monthly grocery bill in Norway.
1. Make your own convenience foods. Recently I’ve become a very big fan of making batches of convenience foods and eating a few portions, spread out over a few days, then storing the rest in my freezer. I’ve stopped buying convenience foods such as shredded chicken breast (and now make it in my slow cooker), frozen pizza, and frozen meals like lasagne to opt instead for homemade versions. Many of these are stored in my freezer, and you all know how much I use my freezer to save money.
2. Shop local. Locally produced foods have a lower carbon imprint, are usually healthier than mass produced alternatives and tend to be cheaper by weight and by general usage. We buy an organic butter which has an amazingly creamy texture and a distinctively buttery taste (because what else is butter supposed to taste like?). It’s so amazing, a small dab goes very far in the flavor department. Shopping local is also good because it preserves local food histories and helps support local entrepreneurs. Sh
op local whenever you can, save money and appease the good karma gods.
3. Make your own bread. I haven’t done the math on this yet, but like a lot of households in Norway, we consume a lot of bread around here. And freshly baked, good quality bread is expensive per kilo when you compare it to the cost of buying the raw ingredients yourself and making it at home. We tend to make our bread at home 90% of the time, and my recipe for no knead bread, or lazy man’s bread is great for those of you just learning to make bread at home.
4. Buy meat in bulk (and shop local, of course!). Although we go meatless at least once a week, I still love a yummy steak or a juicy, well seasoned hamburger. The price per kilo for beef in Norway is enough to make one want to fun to the hills, but I have found a way to maximize taste, quality and variety without blowing our monthly food budget – buy locally produced meats direct from the producer. Here in Stavanger, there are several Angus beef producers who sell direct to the public and a few more who sell pork, lamb and mutton during the year. Although you may have to buy in bulk upfront, therefor costing more all at one time, kilo per kilo, meat from these producers tends to be much higher in quality and much cheaper than what you buy in supermarkets and grocery stores in Norway. You can always split the cost with a friend if you agree to share your order.
5. Recycle your leftovers. Leftovers and food scraps can be very boring (even for me!) but you can give them a new life by turning them into dishes like gumbo, pizza (ham and ricotta pizza is one of my faves!), brennsnut or even ravioli. Not so fresh looking tomatoes can be turned into marinara sauce and put on top of fresh egg pasta for a chic twist on a weekend lunch or bring life to a boring dinner when baked together with cod for an Italian twist on white fish. Those last tablespoons of jam or jelly can be turned into a sauce for mini meringues or used to make trollkrem. A bit of leftover applesauce can be used to make a couple of tilslørte bondepiker (watch the video!) on the fly when guests pop by unexpectedly or you need a low key dessert to go with a more decedent dinner.
More tips on Saving Money on Groceries
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