One thing I hear over and over is that is a total misconception, how expensive everything here in Germany is. So, I figured, time to share some insight of how to cut some corners “German style”.
Here are some great tips. There is a huge selection of grocery stores here and you will notice huge price differences, Stores like Rewe and Wasgau will have a nicer selection and more specialty goods but in turn are a bit more expensive. The huge chains like Globus and Real, have a huge selection and good prices and also offer things like the point card system, where you can earn rewards or sticker events where you collect stickers to get discounts on brand items, like pots or glasses; in turn they are usually located in the larger cities and you have to drive a bit to get there. Then there are the discounters like Aldi, Penny, Netto and Lidel. They have a smaller selection but are much cheaper, plus here is a fact for you: the discounter’s items are actually produced by the same well-known brands in the big stores. they just have a different label and are much cheaper… go figure…
Plus, the discounters always have nice sales on seasonal items, electronics, clothes and other must haves. They advertise those in their weekly flyers and always just have limited quantities and depending on the item you better be there at opening, but our German TEST company has declared them good deals. If you buy drinks on the German side, be aware that buying racks of soda or beer and even water is cheaper than the single bottles, plus on the one-way bottles is usually a 25-cent deposit, which adds up fast. For more info check my Pfand Page here.
Now that I mentioned it, the flyers, are another great tool for bargain hunters. Especially if you live off base you will notice your mailbox filled with flyers. Most stores send them out and will advertise their sales in them, really worth looking at them. most stores for example have very regularly summer/winter sales and if you add a VAT form into that that’s a good chunk off.
Also places like Saturn and alike, that also have online shops, will often match their online prices to the store price, which are usually a bit more expensive.
The VAT forms are a good tool too, most big stores will take them and if you do all your clothes or appliance shopping in one day … use them its almost 20% off the total price.
If you like to shop locally and fresh be sure to check the many farmers markets on Saturdays. The prices may be a bit higher but so worth it. You can find everything from fresh fruits to fresh cut flowers and especially before closing farmers are very open to cutting some deals.
So, go out explore and save some $$