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Five essential tips for saving money on food shopping in Norway

Food shopping in Norway is among the most expensive in Europe, meaning every krone counts. Thankfully, there are a few tips that can help you slash your food bill

A supermarket.
These are our five top tips for saving money on groceries in Norway. Pictured is a supermarket, Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi on Unsplash

Make the most of loyalty programs

Supermarket loyalty programs are one of the best ways to save a pretty penny on your shopping bill. There are also a few different ways they can be utilised to help you save money too.

Trumf, which covers Meny, Kiwi and Joker stores, and becoming a member and part-owner of the Coop offer cashback rewards on purchases.

These offer a great way of saving money passively. With Trumf, you can either use the cash back you’ve accumulated to save on your next trip to the tills or have it deposited straight into your bank account.

The cashback on Trumf ranges from one to three percent, depending on which day of the week it is.

The Coop pays one percent cash back on all purchases, paid out once a year.

Cashback isn’t the only option either. Loyalty schemes offer personalised discounts on the things you buy most. For families with young children, most schemes offer a discount on baby products and nappies.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about supermarket loyalty schemes in Norway

Shop at independent food stores

Generally speaking, small independent grocery stores are some of Norway’s best sources of cheap fruit and vegetables.

Most big towns, and some smaller ones, will have at least one greengrocer, and the larger cities will have several dotted around.

The fruit and veg found in these stores are more varied and usually cheaper than the selection found in Norwegian supermarkets. Additionally, these stores typically specialise in imported foods from all over the world.

READ ALSO: Where to find international foods in Norway

The imported foods you find in these stores are also cheaper than they would be in a supermarket.

Make the most of apps

For anyone looking to save a bit of money on the weekly shop, then Mattilbud is an essential download. The app gathers all the current offers on food supermarkets in Norway are running so you know where the best savings can be found.

Other apps like Too Good To Go are also popular in Norway. Too Good To Go offers great prices on food that stores and restaurants would otherwise throw in the bin. The app isn’t just thrifty; it also helps you do your bit to help cut down on food waste.

Get into thrifty habits

There are a few ways you can change your shopping habits to save money. For starters, all Norwegian supermarkets have a reduced to clear section where food approaching its sell-by date is put. If you shop in one supermarket regularly, it may be worth figuring out when the reduced to clear section is stocked.

You won’t always find what you are looking for or something you might use by expiration. Instead, keep an eye out for bits you buy regularly and can put in the freezer for another day.

Buying in bulk and meal planning are also great ways to cut down on your shopping bill. Combining these tips with discount apps and loyalty schemes will help you maximise these savings.

Shop in Sweden

When we have run readers surveys on the best ways to save money in Norway in the past, one tip that readers also pass on, half-jokingly, is to consider shopping in Sweden.

For obvious reasons, this won’t make sense if you live in Stavanger, Bergen or Ålesund. However, if you live close to the border, it may be worth crossing over into Sweden for cheaper goods.

The reason why harrytur (cross-border shopping trips) are so popular is because as an EU member Sweden doesn’t pay the same customs duties as Norway does. This means plenty of products are much cheaper than in Norway and the selection on offer is a lot more varied. 

There are some quotas and rules, though, and you may be subject to taxes depending on how much you spend.

READ MORE: Why are harrytur so popular with Norwegians? 

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EUROPEAN UNION

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

Have you ever wondered what to do with your private pension plan when moving to another European country?

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you're moving country

This question will probably have caused some headaches. Fortunately a new private pension product meant to make things easier should soon become available under a new EU regulation that came into effect this week. 

The new pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will allow savers to take their private pension with them if they move within the European Union.

EU rules so far allowed the aggregation of state pensions and the possibility to carry across borders occupational pensions, which are paid by employers. But the market of private pensions remained fragmented.

The new product is expected to benefit especially young people, who tend to move more frequently across borders, and the self-employed, who might not be covered by other pension schemes. 

According to a survey conducted in 16 countries by Insurance Europe, the organisation representing insurers in Brussels, 38 percent of Europeans do not save for retirement, with a proportion as high as 60 percent in Finland, 57 percent in Spain, 56 percent in France and 55 percent in Italy. 

The groups least likely to have a pension plan are women (42% versus 34% of men), unemployed people (67%), self-employed and part-time workers in the private sector (38%), divorced and singles (44% and 43% respectively), and 18-35 year olds (40%).

“As a complement to public pensions, PEPP caters for the needs of today’s younger generation and allows people to better plan and make provisions for the future,” EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness said on March 22nd, when new EU rules came into effect. 

The scheme will also allow savers to sign up to a personal pension plan offered by a provider based in another EU country.

Who can sign up?

Under the EU regulation, anyone can sign up to a pan-European personal pension, regardless of their nationality or employment status. 

The scheme is open to people who are employed part-time or full-time, self-employed, in any form of “modern employment”, unemployed or in education. 

The condition is that they are resident in a country of the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area). The PEPP will not be available outside these countries, for instance in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

PEPP providers can offer a maximum of six investment options, including a basic one that is low-risk and safeguards the amount invested. The basic PEPP is the default option. Its fees are capped at 1 percent of the accumulated capital per year.

People who move to another EU country can continue to contribute to the same PEPP. Whenever a consumer changes the country of residence, the provider will open a new sub-account for that country. If the provider cannot offer such option, savers have the right to switch provider free of charge.  

As pension products are taxed differently in each state, the applicable taxation will be that of the country of residence and possible tax incentives will only apply to the relevant sub-account. 

Savers who move residence outside the EU cannot continue saving on their PEPP, but they can resume contributions if they return. They would also need to ask advice about the consequences of the move on the way their savings are taxed. 

Pensions can then be paid out in a different location from where the product was purchased. 

Where to start?

Pan-European personal pension products can be offered by authorised banks, insurance companies, pension funds and wealth management firms. 

They are regulated products that can be sold to consumers only after being approved by supervisory authorities. 

As the legislation came into effect this week, only now eligible providers can submit the application for the authorisation of their products. National authorities have then three months to make a decision. So it will still take some time before PEPPs become available on the market. 

When this will happen, the products and their features will be listed in the public register of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). 

For more information:

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp/consumer-oriented-faqs-pan_en 

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp_en 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK. 

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