Four kids, and a fuckload of coffee

Quick Comparison – UK and NL Food Shop Costs

It has been a wild ride the last few months. The girls are about to finish their first term of language school, before we move to Almere, (which is super close to Amsterdam).

We’ve been staying in Enschede, and the girls have attended a local school here. They’ve been made to feel so welcome and supported in their learning, it’s been amazing for them.

I’ve been driving since about a week or so after we arrived, and to be honest I don’t notice the price of benzine (petrol) too much. My current car is a greedy beast – so I always think it costs too much – ha! But other things you do notice.

While there are many people who drag the NHS, over here health insurance is mandatory. And our first premium was well over €500, but now that is paid it will be a lower steady amount of €148 per month for me and the kids. So, that was one of the first costs we had to account for that wasn’t a consideration before! And, I wanted to mention it because I really feel like people take the NHS for granted a lot.

Although I stayed in NL for a year or so about 10 years ago, with many trips ‘home’ in between, coming over with extra babes this time and a lot more responsibility changes things.

We were lucky that we could view houses and get a mortgage pretty quickly this time around, in fact we move on the 22nd of July! So still, a lot to do – many moving parts.

It’s hard to compare food prices unless you are living somewhere. The quality is also very different. The comparison from where I lived in the UK to where I’m about to move looks like this >

Average weekly fruit and veg costs:

Most common fruit & veg

Almere, NL

London, UK

Birmingham, UK

Apples (1kg)

€2.00

€2.21 (£1.98)

€2.23 (£2.00)

Banana (1kg)

€1.92

€1.28 (£1.15)

€1.17 (£1.05)

Oranges (1kg)

€1.53

€2.36 (£2.12)

€1.64 (£1.47)

Tomato (1kg)

€2.65

€2.67 (£2.40)

€2.15 (£1.93)

Potato (1kg)

€1.44

€1.25 (£1.12)

€1.28 (£1.15)

Onion (1kg)

€1.33

€1.09 (£0.98)

€0.96 (£0.86)

Lettuce (1 head)

€1.00

€0.90 (£0.81)

€0.77 (£0.69)

Total weekly cost

€11.87

€11.76

€10.20 (cheapest)

Average Weekly Shop Cost:

City

Weekly Cost

Monthly Cost

Yearly Cost

Yearly Saving (compared to most expensive city)

Amsterdam

(Most expensive)

€42.32

(£37.88)

€183.38 (£164.14)

€2,200.64 (£1974.48)

Almere, NL

€42.00

(£37.64)

€182.00 (£163.10)

€2184.00 (£1959.55)

€16.64

(£14.93)

Netherlands

€40.00

(£35.81)

€155.17

 (£173.33)

€2,080.00 (£1866.23)

€120.64

(£108.25)

London, UK

€39.19

(£35.16)

€169.81

(£152.36)

€ 2037.73

(£1828.32)

€162.91

(£146.16)

Birmingham, UK

(Cheapest)

€29.69

(£26.64)

€128.66

(£115.44)

€1543.94

£1385.28

€656.70

(£589.20)

Ours would be more, as we are a family of 6.

Quality of life is something I have been thinking a lot about recently. The obvious things for the UK is the undercurrent of racism, homophobia, Pro Brexit groups, increasing poverty… and so on. Everything here costs more money, and of course there are economic issues in every country, but The Netherlands is one of the most risk adverse countries in the world – very few grey areas. So while the cost of my average shop has shot up I’m not mad about it, because it feels like it might be worth it in terms of what you get out of living here.

Food I love:

Bitterballen

Oud Amsterdam Kaas

Filet American

Joppiesaus

And, I have had the MOST amazing Roti from a Surinamese place. Also, kibbeling vis, which is just fried fish pieces has made a few appearances. Still, I can’t get onboard with the haring vis situation – Raw herring, covered in a slick of preservative and topped with chunky onion. Hard no.

But still, in a few weeks time we will have a much firmer idea about the true cost of our weekly shop.

Notes: A recent study by Compare My Mobile has uncovered the cheapest and most expensive places to buy the most popular weekly food shop items around the world. Not a sponsored post.

Sources: The study was conducted using data source: numbeo.com (valid at time of scraping, 1st June 2019) and ONS.gov.uk

We Moved to The Netherlands!

So somewhere in December last year, we made the decision, over a cappuccino – to move to The Netherlands. My husband is Dutch, so it made sense that if we were going to move, it would be here.

We toyed with other places, but ultimately The Netherlands made sense on all fronts.

We got on the plane on the 5th of May and started ‘life’ again from the 6th. The girls went to school for this first day, we swapped our numbers and life carried on.

I didn’t drive for the first week, I’m a relatively new driver, and people had told me many times it was difficult to drive in other EU countries. But, after following my sister-in-law a few times, to get the hang of the 20/25 minute drive – I went out on my own. Now, I can’t picture driving on the other side of the road or sitting on the opposite side in the car – which is strange.

How quickly things become your new ‘normal’.

The girls are learning Dutch at a rapid rate, and we are due to move to the first house we will own soon – so I am looking forward to getting Dutch lessons myself. That said, I can understand so much more than I can speak. Pronunciation comes with time – which I have plenty of.

As a freelancer, I recently registered with the KVK, meaning I am now a legal business person here. I think doing something like that, cements you in a place.

We have a great routine right now, although the school the girls attend finishes at 2.15 – and that really cuts into your day, I find myself working late into the evenings – which is both peaceful and great for ‘me’ time.

So after 8 weeks, of living life as usual here, it’s been immersive and busy. But I wouldn’t swap it, not for all the cheese in Holland.