How to live cheap in Stockholm – Part 1

As promised, here is the continuation from Part Zero of the same!

In India we have a saying that the 3 needs of a man are Roti (bread), Kapda (clothes) aur Makaan (house). This post will talk about how get all those three, relatively cheaply in Stockholm.

Roti – Mat – Food

Food, like everything else is expensive in Stockholm. Sweden is right at the top in the BigMac Index ↗️ (not a super accurate way of measuring expensiveness but kind of gives an idea) while India lavishes at the very bottom. So even Big Macs are expensive in Stockholm. Cooking on your own in pretty much the only way to eat cheaply in Stockholm. So better learn some recipes before coming to study here. Buying groceries can be expensive too. There are 3-4 main grocery chains in Sweden such as ICA, COOP and Hemköp. But there is only one cheapest store and its called Lidl. Lidl also has lesser options than the other stores, has no frills attached in terms of looks and doesnt have much for customer service. But you dont need any of that now do you? I love having lesser options, makes things much quicker. COOP even has kiosk for paying and checking out your purchase. That is SO fancy and quick. Anyway, other than this the only advice I can give you is that ensure you leave out a couple of hours on the weekends to cook for the entire week and kind of get a schedule going for that. Most of my classmates get pretty cute lunchboxes to school and so thats how its done here.

Another neat tip to sign up for company lunch and dinner presentations at your school, weather you like the company or not or weather you can understand the language or not! Free food generally tastes gooood!

Kapda – Kläder – Clothes

Surprisingly, very good quality clothing can be found for pretty cheap in Stockholm so yay! H&M is THE go to place for good, fashionable and new clothing. But Sweden has a supremely well supported second hand market for clothes. Stadsmission ↗️ and Myrorna ↗️ are both splendid second hand stores found in Sweden. Most of the clothes in very good condition and Standsmission discourages people from donating bad quality items to the store as they wont even be displayed and just add up to administration expenses. So, you can find great designer shirts, pants, scarfs, ties, shoes, winter clothing, books and even ice skates (!!) in these stores at a reasonable price. Some stores even have beautiful antique cameras and stuff. I have a very hard time resisting those temptations. Even after all this though, H&M offers prices that can actually compete with second hand stores. That’s just insane.

Makaan – Hus – House

Exterior of an apartment building.
Housing can be much cheaper in the suburbs

Well, if you have a single room in the city center, you might have to pay anything from 4500 SEK to 7000 SEK. But it maybe reduced by either sharing a room or by looking for housing in the suburbs. The beautiful thing about Stockholm is that you can travel to the city center from almost anywhere in around 30 mins, also the subway system runs all night on Fridays and Saturdays (rest of the nights we have night buses after 1 AM).

A yellow house.
A Dream home in the Suburb!

And you can get an SL travel card ↗️ for a month for about 560 SEK allowing you unlimited use of the public transport. The problem is that even if you live in the city center you will most probably land up spending 200-300 SEK a month on travelling anyway cuz single use tickets are actually quite steep. In the suburbs you can find a single room from about 3000 SEK to 4500 SEK, which is much cheaper than at the city center. And you can start using the travel time to read up before classes 😉

Another good things about the suburbs is that its much quieter and people feel more down to earth and real, at least to me. In a suburb you may find yourself near a forest or a lake which are just invaluable assets!

Apple tree beside a house.
Might just have your own apple tree in the yard!

In the next post we round up inexpensive ways to socialize, meet people and have a good time partyyyying!


Written by Raghuraman

23 Dec 2014