fishing in Nuuk Greenland

How to save money when you live in an expensive country

Here’s how we save money, do things on the cheap or nearly free in Nuuk, Greenland. 

Saving money for any growing family is hard.

But saving money in terms of actually doing things differently is harder when you live in an expensive country.

The first thing we did was create a budget. That was NO EASY FEAT!  To do this we had to account for all of our expenses and spending.  This was hard because it meant that we had to see where we were spending the most and where we needed to cut our spending. When we added it up we took a hard look at where to cut spending and make some hard choices.  From there we designed our budget so we can account for all of our money and spending.  Here is how we ‘try’ to save money when living in Greenland:

We walk.

We walk a lot as we don’t have a car. This has worked out as mostly everyone walks here and nothing is so far away as we live in a small town (which is the biggest city in Greenland but small in terms of Copenhagen).  So we explore on foot and we get exercise.  The kids love climbing the rocks and hillss.   FYI- Nuuk is hilly! (not a word but mountain is too strong).

We bike.  

Biking had been a consistent norm for our family anywhere we are.  We’ve biked in Anchorage, Alaska, in Copenhagen we learned how to combat bike and now in Nuuk, Greenland we bike up and downhills.  Some hills can get pretty steep and if the weather is shitty, it makes a hard ride home, but we stay in shape:) 

We take the bus.  

Sometimes we take the bus. We purchase ‘bus cards’ for this but it is so cheap in comparison to owning a car.  Also, the bus system here is always on time and is quite convenient as it comes every 20 minutes. When I say reliable, I really mean that it has come through blizzards, rainstorms, and all sorts of severe weather here.  It’s a great mode of transportation.  

waiting for the bus in Nuuk
waiting for the bus in Nuuk

Pack snacks/lunches

I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into snack and meal prepping as my kids are forever hungry. And since we are on a budget and trying to be health-conscious,  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on sugary snacks that don’t fill them up. It’s always better to be prepared and make those snacks and fill water bottles ahead of time. 

We 2nd hand shop.

This has absolutely saved us in terms of finding things we need. Specifically, at the second hand store, The Red Cross we’ve found warm winter clothes, kitchen items, skis, snowboarding gear, and shoes for the kids.  We love that place so much we go there weekly!  Also, we look for 2nd hand things online, Facebook marketplace is awesome for this.  See this POST on my favorite places in Nuuk. 

We buy frozen vegetables.

We switch to frozen veggies because the cost to buy fresh veggies is astronomically expensive.  It was a shock to our system to switch from fresh veggies to frozen but we had to cut our grocery shopping expenses down somewhere.  We are also trying to grow our own veggies now.  It is a learning process.

We fill up our reusable water bottles before we leave the house. 

Buying individual bottles of water is expensive. We try not to do that anymore. We fill our water bottles up before we leave the house. That way the kids always have their water and we don’t buy anything unnecessary (or contribute to the plastic overfill in landfills).

We subsist

We subsist on hunting caribou (during hunting season), and we fish a lot.  Thank goodness my danish husband was keen on learning to hunt & fish.  We have a freezer filled with fish and tuttu (caribou).  We try to live a subsistence lifestyle by living off the land as my ancestors did and this just feeds my soul as well.  

This is how our Danglish family is saving money when living in Nuuk, Greenland, a most expensive country.  Perhaps we can learn from you as well, what are ways you save money?

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