Finland is definitely not one of the cheapest countries to live in. In the beginning you may be double-checking the receipts the food shop and wondering if it's correct. I want to give you some tips for saving money while being in Finland. The environment will also thank you, which is the most important thing in my opinion.
How to not end up in dire straits? Here's something to get started with:
1) Collect empty cans and bottles
You get money from empty cans and bottles when you return them to a food shop in Finland. The returning machines are usually located either near the entrance (eg. K-Citymarket in Kupittaa/Kuppis and Prisma in Itäharju/Österås) or in the beverages section (eg. K-Market Puhakka in Hämeenkatu/Tavastgatan, not far away from the universities). It goes like this:
glass bottles (no matter which volume): 0,10€
cans (no matter which volume): 0,15€
plastic bottles, 0,5 litre: 0,20€
plastic bottles, 1,0 litres (updated February 18, credits for my friend Janne) and upwards: 0,40€
You put the cans/bottles to the returning machine according to the instructions in the machine display. After having finished you will get a receipt. You give the receipt to the sales clerk and you get the money.
NB. Cans/bottles imported from Estonia/Sweden don't qualify in most of the cases, you return them but receive no money. However, if you live in Varissuo/Kråkkärret, the local returning machine will give you money out of those (at least it did back in 2013).
February 16, 2017:
Bottle returning machine in K-Market in Kirkkotie/Kyrkvägen (near student health care) accepted two liquor bottles imported from Sweden ferries. Don't know if this is the case all the times.
I personally do always have a stash for empty cans/bottles at home. When I go out, I make sure that I have a small canvas bag with me in case I see any cans/bottles on my way so that I can pick them up. That's easy, eh?
Back in the days I was hosting several pre-parties in my common kitchen so that I baked some pizza and offered some snacks. People who came over left their cans and bottles there and when I returned those to the shop the following I got 30-40€ on average. That equals to more than 10 student lunches!
How many empty cans and bottles have been returned so far this year? Follow up real time here: