For members


The best ways to save money in Denmark

Denmark can be an expensive place to live, so we asked for your tips on how to save a krone here and there.

The best ways to save money in Denmark
Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson / Ritzau Scanpix

An EU report found that Denmark was the most expensive country in European Union, with prices 41 percent higher than average, according to the report from the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat.

Denmark has also been reported to be the most expensive country for food and drink products (excluding alcoholic drinks) in the EU, according to Statistics Denmark calculations in 2019. Danish prices for food and drink are around 30 percent higher than the EU average.

Denmark has also rated as the union’s priciest country for consumer goods.

In short, it can be an expensive place for foreigners to live.

So what can be done to limit everyday costs? We asked our readers for their tips.

Supermarkets and apps

“Going very early or very late to the supermarket is a great option. In general, supermarkets here have cheaper items in the beginning and end of the day because are items that are about to expire,” wrote Maria, who lives in Aarhus.

Up to 50 percent savings can be made on some products this way, according to Maria.

“Another tip is to download an app with the supermarket newspapers. Then I can check which supermarket has the best offer and I try to adapt what I am going to eat in the week with what it is on sale in that week,” she added.

“There is an app, eTilbudsavis, where you can follow all the offers from stores nearby in the current week,” wrote Andreea Paiu, of Odder.

Lidl and Aldi were mentioned consistently by readers as the best supermarkets to pick up food at cheaper prices than competitors.

Another app, Too Good To Go, was recommended by two readers. The app, which is designed to reduce food waste, enables users to find surplus products which are close to their use-by dates and purchase them at highly discounted prices.

Cycling and home haircuts

Transport, food and other commodities are all areas in which savings can be had with the right approach, another reader said.

“Ride a bike instead of taking the bus, eat less meat and cheese, go to ‘byttemarkeder’ (swap shops) and thrift shops, give each other haircuts. I went to uni in Denmark and this was a regular thing, haircuts are expensive!”, wrote Australian Beth Browse, who has lived in Roskilde and Aarhus.

“For personal hygiene products I buy in Normal because they are cheaper,” wrote Paula Paez, a Copenhagen resident.

It’s also worth noting that many businesses in Denmark offer discounts for students if you show ID.

“You can save a lot of money if you’re a student. Denmark is very student-friendly and if you show your student card, you end up paying 20 kroner instead of 40 kroner for a beer,” wrote Klaudia Alexandra Orfin, who also lives in the Copenhagen area.

Second-hand trading

Second-hand trading website – comparable to a Danish eBay – is used by a number of the readers who contacted us with money-saving advice.

Electronics and furniture are particularly worth seeking out on the site, wrote Ecaterina Capatina of Aarhus.

Local Facebook groups were mentioned as a similarly good resource for buying second-hand as well as picking up items for free.

Is anything actually cheap?

Clothes, shoes, mineral water, nuts, eating out and buying and running cars were among things readers said they avoided spending money on in Denmark due to their expense, although others said they found ways. Going to the cinema was noted as a particularly expensive leisure activity.

Cigarettes, telecommunications, gym memberships, sporting activities for children and fuel were cited as normally-expensive commodities that are cheaper in Denmark relative to their level of expense in other countries.

Outside fitness training facilities like pull-up frames can be found in many parks and other public places and can make gym memberships obsolete altogether, according to one reader.

Location can also make a difference.

“I live by the border, so driving to Germany and buying products there is an easy way to save money,” wrote Simon Pedersen.

READ ALSO: The Danish social taboos you should never break

Member comments

  1. If you buy wisely as described above, life apart from cars, houses and alcohol is very cheap.
    You cannot feel hungry here, because you can find enough “FLAESKE” daily to exchange for goods in the store.

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For members


Six useful products I discovered in Denmark

Denmark is well known for its tradition for high quality design, but which products make a difference to everyday life?

Six useful products I discovered in Denmark

Inbuilt bike locks 

There’s no need to carry around a heavy and impractical chain to lock up your bicycle in Denmark, as these all come fitted (or you can cheaply add) an inbuilt lock on the frame of the bike.

The lock is the form of a circular bar which is released by a key and goes between the spokes of the back wheel, meaning it can’t be turned when the lock is in the fixed position.

This way, bikes can be locked while still standing freely – which is just as well, since there are not enough railings and bike stands in the country to accommodate the many, many bicycles.

Of course, a locked bike can, in theory, be picked up and carried away even if the wheel doesn’t turn and unfortunately, this does happen sometimes. But not enough to undermine the public trust in bicycle wheel locks.

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Rain trousers

Rain trousers/pants (regnbukser) can be bought on their own or with a matching jacket as part of a regnsæt (“rain set”).

These waterproof pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bicycle cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers, you’ll understand the appeal.

They are designed to fit over your regular trousers and can be stretched over the top of your shoes and held underneath them with a piece of elastic attached to the bottom hem.

While primarily designed for cycling, they also come in handy for walking around during Denmark’s regular spells of cold, damp weather.

Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

READ ALSO: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn)

The flatbed toaster

There’s something indefinably satisfying about putting two slices of bread in a toaster and waiting for the ‘ping’ as they pop up, warm and ready for spreading.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that toasters are a bit impractical when it comes to thick slices and rolls.

Of course, you can also warm bread in the oven, but it’s more hassle and not for quite the same result.

Enter the flatbed toaster. This device is much more popular in Denmark than the pop-up version and enables easy, simultaneous warming of several slices of bread of various shapes and sizes – including of course, the national favourite, rye bread.

Pro tip: turn the dial less for toasting the second side of the bread, because the element will already be warm. This way you avoid burning the second side.

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The cheese slicer

Cheese products popular in Denmark include havarti and the Cheasy range from dairy Arla.

These are both soft cheeses and should be cut with an ostehøvl (cheese slicer), a quintessential Danish kitchen utensil.

There are two types of ostehøvl: a wire-based type and a version that looks a bit like a trowel, with a raised edge and a gap in the middle for the sliced cheese to pass through.

Cutting Danish soft cheese with a knife will turn the block into a crumbling mess, so in this setting you can’t really avoid using the specialised slicers. And while their usefulness is diminished for something like cheddar, there are plenty of softer cheeses in other countries that would surely benefit from being set about with an ostehøvl.

One thing to be aware of: injudicious use of the slicer can cause a “ski slope” cheese block, creating uneven slices and leaving one side of the block thicker than the other. Slice evenly.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark produce so much cheese?

Foam washing cloths for babies

If you’re a parent and have found yourself struggling with a pile of dirty wet wipes or cotton pads after changing your baby, you may have found yourself wondering if there’s another way.

In Denmark, there is: the engangsvaskeklude (disposable washing cloth) comes in tightly-stuffed packets of 50-100 small, square foam cloths, around 20 square centimetres in size.

The cloths are made from thin slices of polyether foam, a type often used in sofa cushions. Manufacturers say it is better for the environment than other types, and the advantage against wet wipes is they are perfume-free.

They just need to be made damp with a splash of lukewarm water, then you’re ready to wipe – they tend to have a good success rate for picking up baby poo.

A sticker saying ‘no thanks’ to junk mail

We’re talking about physical junk mail here, not the type that goes into your email spam box although if there was a sticker for this, I’d be at the front of the queue.

The reklamer, nej tak (“advertisements, no thank you”) sticker can be ordered from FK Distribution, the company which operates Denmark’s tilbudsaviser (“special offer newspaper”) deliveries. These result in piles of paper leaflets, detailing offers at supermarkets, being pushed through letter boxes every day.

These leaflets are useful for bargain hunters, but many people take them out of their overfilled letter box and dump them straight into recycling containers. If you have a nej tak sticker on your letter box, you won’t receive any of the brochures in the first place.

You can also choose a sticker which says “no thanks” to adverts but excludes the offer leaflets, so you can cut down on the junk mail while still keeping abreast of good deals.

Have I missed any good ones? Let me know.