1,500 euros per month across the ocean
“I come from Peru, where we use Peruvian soles. One euro is currently equal to around four soles. When I first moved to the Netherlands, I converted all amounts from euros to soles, but I quickly stopped doing that.Otherwise, I never would have bought anything. Now that I’ve been living here for over three years and my salary is paid in euros, I only think in terms of euros. When I went back to Peru, I felt super rich.
“My parents support me financially. I get about 1,500 euros a month from them. I mostly talk about money with my dad. His philosophy is that the money he earns can be put to better use helping his son with expenses instead of keeping all of it for himself. I supplement the monthly amount I receive with my salary of around 500 euros per month. I do sales work at a tech start-up.”
Main fixed expenses
Rent & gas, water, electricity: 750 euro
Eating out/going out: 300
Ordering food is more expensive than it was three years ago
“My great-grandfather was a Dutchman who moved to Peru. My grandpa let his Dutch passport expire when he was 30. Because my dad was born before that, he also has a Dutch passport and so do I. I cheer for the Dutch team during the World Cup and I can study in the Netherlands for the same tuition rate as Dutch students.
“I share a flat with a Peruvian housemate in Rotterdam Noord. We each pay around 750 euros, including fixed costs. The costs for electricity have gone up significantly. Initially, I wanted to get a flat on my own, but that isn’t affordable in Rotterdam.
“I spend a lot of my money on food. I often try to cook for myself, but sometimes I’m lazy, and so I order food more than I would like to. That has become more expensive. In my first year, I could have a good meal for 11 euros. Now, getting something delivered easily costs 15 to 16 euros.
“Last year around Christmas, I went back to Peru and spent 200 euros for six nights at a hotel, all the food and all the parties for that week. That wouldn’t be possible anywhere in Europe. I was buying drinks for my friends in Peru the entire time. I didn’t care, it was so cheap. It was great when I was there, but when I came back to Rotterdam, it wasn’t so great. Everything in the Netherlands is more expensive than in Peru.”
Worst purchase: A guitar for 250 euro. “I’ve hardly played it.”
Last major expense: Around 300 in taxes
Saving for: “I’m not saving for anything specific. I save everything I don’t spend. I’d like to use that money to travel.”
Absolutely does not want to cut back on: Food
Looking forward to a comfortable future
“After my studies, I’d like to work in the tech industry. I will always consider how much money I can make when I start a job. I’m not interested in making a lot of money, but I want to live comfortably. That’s subjective, of course. For me, it means travelling and eating out at restaurants as much as I want, and if I have a family, I want to be able to support them. I don’t care about luxury, like fancy cars.
“The amount of my student loan is in my bank account. I could pay it off right away. I took out a loan because I wanted to experiment on the stock market. As an economics student, I was interested in that for a while.”
Would you like to participate in this column, and tell about your income, side job, expenses or (financial) future dreams? Then send an e-mail to journalist Maartje Braam.