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MONEY

EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

With inflation hitting double digits, consumers in Austria are really feeling the pinch, particularly in the supermarket. Here are some simple tips on how you can save money on your grocery shopping.

Money is handed over a fruit and vegetable counter at a weekly market in the Schöneberg district of Berlin.

1. Buy seasonal products

Fruit and vegetables are less expensive when they are in season in Austria, as they don’t have to be kept in cold storage which – thanks to high energy prices – incurs high costs which are passed onto the customer. So going for produce that is naturally abundant at the time of year can really pay off. 

At the moment, vegetables such as kale, squashes, leaks and cabbages are currently in season, but you can refer to an online Saisonkalendar (season calendar), such as this German one, to keep an eye on which fruits and veggies are in season at different times of the year.

Lots of vegetables.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

2. Go easy on butter 

The price of butter in Austria has increased by over 40 percent in the last year – in some cases, a 250-gram packet of butter now costs €3. 

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Inflation hits cheapest groceries in Austria’s supermarkets

As a substitute for butter in cooking, go for vegetable oils such as olive oil, linseed or soybean oil or certain types of margarine and, for spreadable treats, consider alternatives such as quark or cheese spreads. 

3. Have a meal plan and a shopping list

One golden rule for saving money in the supermarket – wherever you live – is to plan your meals and write down the ingredients in a list. Having a shopping list often helps avoid expensive spontaneous purchases and helps you to really only buy the things you will definitely use.

4. Buy less meat

The prices of meat products, such as sausages and fish have also risen by 15.6 percent since last October. Possible replacements for some of their meat products with plant-based foods, pulses or legumes instead, such as lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, and soybeans.

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

5. Visit markets

Another advice is to visit local fruit and vegetable markets, as fresh produce can often go for a lot cheaper than in the supermarkets.

6. Compare prices by weight 

Another essential tip for buying groceries on the cheap is to compare prices by weight, not simply by the retail price on display. In addition to the retail price, you will usually see how much 100 grams of each product costs and you should use this number as a basis for comparison.

For example, if you want to buy Parmesan cheese and there are two different varieties marked at €4 and €6, the €4 package may seem cheaper. But if you then look at the price by weight, you may find that the €6 Parmesan comes to €1 per 100 grams, while the €4 package comes to €2 per 100 grams.

(Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

7. Use apps to find deals 

The price for the same product can sometimes vary greatly between supermarkets in Austria, so it can pay to shop around.

But, if you don’t have time to go from store to store hunting down the cheapest products, many supermarket brands have their own apps which you can use to check for price comparisons and any discounts or offers.

Another great app for those looking to make serious savings on their foodstuffs is Too Good to Go – an app which connects people to local restaurants, bakeries and food shops which are looking to get rid of surplus food. 

8. Get an advantage card

With an advantage card such as JÖ or store brands, you can collect points every time you shop in a variety of stores, and then ultimately transform these points into monetary discounts. 

These cards are free to get and just require registration. Using them regularly, along with extra point-collecting coupons, can amount to quite a savings. 

9. Check out the bottom shelf

The bottom shelves in Austrian supermarkets are often where you will find the most economically-priced products, including the supermarkets’ own-brand products. You can often get almost the identical product as the branded variety for half the price. 

10. Shopping just before closing time

If you shop just before closing time, you can often find great deals in Austrian supermarkets – especially at the vegetable, fruit, meat and yoghurt counters. Just don’t take too long: they won’t stay open longer for you.

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POLITICS

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

Politicians in Austria are getting a 5.3 percent salary increase in 2023 as inflation rises in the country. So how much will they earn?

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

The rising inflation rate, which is expected to be at 10.6 percent in November, is reflected in the salaries of politicians in Austria, according to the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung.

According to Austrian law, all salaries are calculated based on the income of the members of the National Council, the Austrian Parliament. Next year, they will receive €9,873 gross per month – €497 more than their salaries in 2022. The values were rounded to the whole euro amount. 

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

So, how much are the leading politicians going to earn as a monthly gross salary in 2023?

  • Bundespräsident: the head of the Austrian State (Federal President) will earn €26,701 per month. Alexander Van der Bellen was reelected to the position and should stay in the job for six more years
  • Bundeskanzler: the head of the Austrian government (Chancellor) will earn €23,840 per month. That’s the salary of Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who is expected to run for reelection in the next national elections set for 2024
  • Vizekanzler: the current vice-chancellor is Werner Kögler (Greens), and he is set to earn €20,979 from 2023
  • NR-Präsident: this refers to the leader of the National Council (Nationalrat, in German), who earns €20,026. Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) holds the position
  • Landeshauptleute: this German word literally means “main persons of the province”. (Land means country, but it actually refers to the bundesländer, the country’s states or provinces). These are the current governors of the Austrian provinces, such as Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), mayor of the city-state of Vienna. They’ll earn €19,072 per month
  • Ministerin/Minister: Ministers of the federal government, including Health and Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), will earn €19,072 every month
  • Landesrätin/-rat: the provincial councillors should earn €17,771 every month from 2023
  • Staatssekretärin/-sekretär: State secretaries, who play the part of Ministers in the provincial level, will earn €17,165
  • Bundesratsmitglieder: a “member of the Bundesrat”, which is the upper house in the Austrian parliament, will earn €4,936 per month

READ ALSO: Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

In Austria, hired employees are paid 14 times per year, with extra salaries ahead of summer holidays and Christmas.

Unless the National Council decides against the pay rise, the increase will come into effect on January 1st 2023.

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