How to survive a week on 20 euros

Do you want to know how to save money as a student in Amsterdam? read this interview guide with money saving tips for university students

Vivian is a student, just like some of you, but she can show you how to survive a week on 20 euros as students even in Amsterdam. A few months ago I had the chance to read her article in the newspaper and I decided to contact her and get an interview for our ESP students and see if she can help our students with some saving money skills in Amsterdam.


Hello Vivian, thanks for joining me today, can you tell me About Yourself?

Hey Aviv, I’m really excited to tell you about my “7 days with 20 euro’s experience” and I hope I can make you all a bit more enthusiastic about saving money as students.I am a student of Communication studies in Groningen, but currently studying Journalism for half a year in Leeuwarden. I am a very open minded and creative person and I believe that the sky is the limit.
My passion for writing started when I lived in Australia for half a year. I started an online blog to keep my friends and family back home updated about my amazing experiences.


money saving tips for university students Amsterdam

A while ago you wrote an article in the paper on how to survive 7 days with 20euro, can you tell us more about it?

I just started, for about a week, my study Journalism and we were asked to write articles for a special edition of the newspaper ‘Metro’. The idea of this special edition was more or less ‘designed by students meant for students’.

Studying costs an arm and a leg, and even more if you’re a big fan of beers

All the subjects were related to the life of students, to make the articles as interested as possible for the target audience. Studying costs an arm and a leg, and even more if you’re a big fan of beers. I came up with the idea to write a sort of a “Saving guide”, every student wants to save money, right? I decided not to only give a short list of tips and tricks, but to actually follow the list by living one week with only 20 euros.


how to save money as university students in the Netherlands

What made you do this? You just left your debit card and took on 20 euro cash to survive, sounds a bit crazy

I know, right? I believe that a real life experiment, in this case, would make more influence than only a short list of tips and tricks. The goal of this article was to make students more aware of the actual weekly costs and to encourage them to think about it. Also, be aware of little expenses: a small leak will sink a great ship. If you would give me a list full of saving tips or if you would tell me to live one a week with only 20 euros, it’s easy.

Be aware of little expenses: a small leak will sink a great ship.

The solution may sound a bit intensive but it will definitely have more effect on your lifestyle. Besides that, it was also good for my own purse. I couldn’t wish for a better time for saving a bit money, it was my first week home after half a year living abroad.

How healthy can you eat on 20€ a week

That’s a good one. I sorted out a lot of tips and tricks on how to buy cheap but healthy food. For example, go to the supermarket 15 minutes before closing. You may not find all that you’re looking for, but you will find a lot of discounts on fruit and bread. The same applies to shopping on a (food) market. Sometimes I felt a bit sad when I looked at my empty refrigerator.

When all you think of is pasta penne with tomato sauce

I told my friends and family about my saving money- week, and they supported me right away. I got a lot of invitations to have dinner with friends and my mom even made me a couple of meals in a little box. That made healthy eating a lot easier. I was relieved when I could see the end of the week coming closer, so I no longer had to think of the pasta penne with only tomato sauce.

Best tips for our ESP students

  1. Share things with housemates, friends or neighbors
    Register for an online magazine with advertisements, it keeps you updated about special prices
    Split the bill not only when it comes to cooking and eating
    Go to the supermarket 15 minutes before closing
    Visit the local Aldi or Lidl to save money

Do you think that international students in Amsterdam are able to survive a week on 20€

Of course! If you’re willing to do it, you can definitely do it. I know how hard it can be when you live abroad and you want to save some money. From my own experience, I wanted nothing else than saving up money for special things I wanted to see. So, I encouraged myself to give me some little extras, as in a surf lesson or a day at the zoo.

Don’t forget to determine an evening of shopping, cooking or eating together

You can, for example, say to yourself: “I’m not going to spend more than 20euros on food, but I’m going to take a canal cruise and a bike ride through the city.” Reward yourself! I also believe that it’s very important to be open about your saving money- week. Tell your friends about it and who may know if they will be excited about it as well. Maybe you can determine an evening of shopping, cooking or eating together. It’s a lot easier, cheaper, and much more fun than all by yourself.

If you are to change the budget to 30€ what would you add to it?

Although my shopping pattern is not the same as my saving-week, I still have the tips and tricks in my head when I’m shopping.

I would spend all my money on cappuccinos

Luckily, I’m not a pain in the ass when it comes to food. But, a sandwich with cheese and honey mustard makes me very happy. If I could augment my budget, I would add cheese and honey mustard to it. If there’s still some money left over, as a coffee lover I would spend it all on cappuccinos.

What is your best advice for ESP Amsterdam students ?

Share things with housemates, friends or neighbors. Split the bill! Not only when it comes to cooking and eating together, but it may also work for the washing machine, toilet paper and cups and dishes. I also registered myself to an online magazine with advertisements, it keeps you updated about special prizes, reductions and you can find which supermarket has a discount on beer.

Split the bill! Not only when it comes to cooking and eating together

Especially, keep your eyes open for discounts or the not so fancy stores and supermarkets. I am a loyal visitor of the Aldi and the Lidl, and I’m proud to be!

What are your plans for the future, are you going to show us another student survival skill?

In my head, I’m already planning a few other experiments.I would like to test how you can live 48 hours without electricity. And because of the upcoming “Socialbesitas”, I’m very curious if it’s possible to live a weekend without my mobile phone and what consequences it may have.

Believe me, money can’t buy you happiness

Because of these little experiments, I have to think out of the box and with my creative mind. That’s how I keep on challenging myself, this real-life experiment was such a great experience. It was really insightful for me, and I hope for the readers as well.It made me realize that in life it’s all about challenging yourself, for example, to perform these little experiments.



Thank you for this amazing interview Vivian, it was a pleasure

Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience! I hope I made you all a bit more enthusiastic about saving money! It’s actually quite fun, isn’t it? Believe me, money can’t buy you happiness.


Curious about Vivian article?

You can find it online



So, who am I?

My name is Aviv Hidrian and I am an ESP graduate, a physiotherapist and SEO adviser for ESP. These three characteristics make it very nice to help out ESP with their marketing and social media strategy.

ESP’s extended family is both offline and online!

I love to develop new things in many ways and together with Bas we have great plans with our online appearance. You will read more about it in a future post…;-)

Want to contact Aviv?

You can find me on several social media!



Privacy Preference Center

ESP cookies

To ensure a great user experience we use "performance cookies". These cookies are not used not track or store personal information!

Google Analytics, Youtube, Wordpress
Youtube cookies are used for embedding videos only! We do not monetize any of our videos
Google analytics