Online Shopping Essentials

8 Jun

The prices in Germany came as a big surprise, to say the least. There is definitely less of a throwaway, disposable culture with pretty much everything. I like that mentality, though it makes it hard to find cheaper alternatives which can be what you want when you are only going to be living in Germany for a limited time or are on a limited budget.

Beer? 60 cents for half a litre in the supermarket and in some restaurants it’s cheaper than cola or mineral water! We really won the lottery moving to Germany. Tights? Did I just pay 22 euro for a pair of tights? holy crap I really should check the prices before I buy essentials, and yes I laddered them whilst I was putting them on! All that money saved on beer just goes on other things, such is life. I have since found the cheaper tights (but the quality is rubbish so I often stock up at M&S) and the expensive beer, ooooo the delicious imported goodness of an IPA for a treat.

In Germany I cannot gauge the price of products simply by looking at them with my British eyes and mentality. Furniture buying was a nightmare, conversations went a lot like this
Me – ‘That looks like a nice TV stand, lots of room for DVDs, plain unfussy, we should get that one’
Him –  Looks it over, hmms and checks the price ‘No, we should keep looking’
Me  – ‘But I like this one, it’s the best one we’ve found’ strokes new shiny TV stand and plans it’s future in our living room
Him – ‘it’s 7 grand, stop touching it’
Me – ‘Wow I could get a car for that, not even a banger, an actual decent car….let’s just go to Ikea’

And we went to Ikea, our flat closely resembles the ones put together in the set up rooms in the shop and you know what? it works, and I discovered I’ve got mad skills in Ikea furniture construction.

If I was shopping for furniture today I might have shopped differently, but it would almost certainly have been almost exclusively online, from brands I now know and trust. Depot and IKEA are lifesavers, for everything from huge wardrobes to cushions and crockery and neither has to break the bank. Laura Ashley also delivers all it’s stock including furniture to Germany, do expect to pay a one off fee of £150 for delivery on made to order furniture (no matter how much you order) if you want to splash out.

Clothes and home wares again is where I struggled finding affordable items that I actually liked, the quality in places like H&M can be so bad it puts me off, I hate to waste money. Maybe Germany is rubbing off on me? but I also can’t afford to pay 80 euro for crappy quality jeans, so when I need something essential I tend to look to my old favourite shops back home. And I’m not saying German shops are awful or anything, I do buy stuff here (Erlangen has a Zara now), support your local economy and all that, but sometimes I want a bargain that will last the summer at least!

Debenhams, GapM&S, Boden, Lakeland, New Look, ASOSTopshop, Dorothy Perkins all have German or EU sites which you can order from and pay in Euros and save on international postage.

Top marks to Topshop, Gap, M&S, ASOS, Dorothy Perkins and New Look, they give you the option to shop as a German customer in Euros but also in English language. Boden, please understand that just because I speak English does not mean I want to pay in Sterling! Debenhams site also only runs in German, in both these cases I find it useful to locate what I want and check the details first on the English website and then find the items on the German site (both of which are identical) and order on there. It’s a little bit of a faff but it works for me.

Tesco Clothing (F&F) offer delivery to Germany for £4.95.

ASDA does not deliver to Germany yet, it does however deliver to the surrounding companies and promises to add Germany soon, feel free to email them and ask, pump up the pressure a little 😉

If there is something that you are totally desperate for that can only be delivered to the UK (I’m assuming your parents/friends will take delivery) you will need an efficient parcel delivery method to get your parcel from A to B (or rather UK to DE). InterparcelMyparceldelivery, Parcel2go and of course Parcelforce are all good places to look for competitive prices.

And for those times when you just need a taste of home there are shops completely willing to take advantage of this. Beware the prices is all I’m going to say! Foodfromhome, if you are ever in Dusseldorf you could always pop in and save yourself the postage, BritishfoodstoreonlineAsia shops are also worth checking out, no postage! There is also the British Empire (it’s a shop) in Nürnberg, which stocks a limited but varied supply of goodies (food not available online), some great British brands like New Balance and Dr Martens and some American ones too.

So whether you love shopping in Germany or loathe it with a passion I hope that you too find your own personal shopping groove, happy shopping!

PS. I know I didn’t mention Amazon, I’m not their biggest fan, but that’s a story for another time 😉

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4 Responses to “Online Shopping Essentials”

  1. Frau Dietz (Eating Wiesbaden) June 8, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    The shops here where I am are properly crap. I don’t really enjoy going shopping for clothes anyway, so am quite happy to do that online, but it’s frustrating when you suddenly really need a something-or-other (and shopping online for shoes is rubbish) and have to scour the internet for it instead of just running into town. I’d managed to boycott H&M for years till I got here, and am really frustrated I had to turn to them for maternity wear last year because they were the only affordable shop in town that ruddy sold any!

    Boden tip: if you order in Sterling from the UK site it’s actually cheaper than ordering from the German site, even including postage.

    • The Erlangen Expat June 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      Ooo now that’s a fab tip for Boden, can I still use my German card though?

      • Frau Dietz (Eating Wiesbaden) June 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

        Ah… but I wouldn’t have thought so. I still have an English credit card 😉

      • The Erlangen Expat June 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Hmmm I have got one somewhere, might have to look it out, the Boden sale is usually pretty good

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