Confessions of a second-hand shopaholic in Sweden


Written by Yen

21 Nov 2018

Many future students have reached out to us with one question: How much money is enough to live in Sweden? As cliché as this may sound to you, it really depends on your expectation and habits. However, I decided to leave here some of my own tips on how you can live happily as a student in Sweden without going bankrupt by the end of the month. Of course, everyone’ preference differs greatly, so this article, followed by a series which will provide several ways to live cheaply in Uppsala, Sweden so you can choose what suits you the most, will summarize how I manage to enjoy my shopping habit and utilize it as a way to “save” money.

I love shopping, but I’m not a billionaire!

I have to admit that I love shopping, it’s in my blood. That habit, however, can be very costly in a place like Sweden. If you’re a student like me, be prepared to do a lot of window shopping only to end up walking away from all those fancy stores you may find. However, I am so grateful that’s there’s a thriving scene of second-hand stores in Sweden that carry so many interesting and cheap items. The infographic below lists several excuses so you can do your guilt-free second-hand shopping spree on a weekly basis.

Credit: Yen

I fell in love with Swedish second-hand stores from the very first time visiting them. Whether you’re looking for a lovely pottery mug, or an expensive kitchenware, or just don’t know what to do on a lovely weekend morning, I would recommend an adventure at a secondhand store.

My favourite secondhand store in town – Erikshjälpen. Credit: Yen

Don’t be limited to physical stores, go online for secondhand shopping!

We live digitally, there’s no reason why we couldn’t shop digitally, even when it comes to secondhand shopping. When you move to a new city in Sweden, it can be beneficial to join Facebook groups for exchanging, buying and selling stuff within that city as well. For my city Uppsala, I would suggest the two groups: “Uppsala – Buy and Sell Items” and “Upsala University – Buy and Sell”. That’s where I found myself a weighing scale with a surprisingly good price. Thanks to Facebook’s marketplace feature, you can just sit at home, and waiting for something you may need pop up in your notification. How easy and seamless!

Dealing with the Swedish cold winter in a budget-friendly way

Scandinavian winter sounds scary and it really is, especially for someone who lived 25 years in a tropical country like me. Against all the advice, I brought some of my favourite jackets from Vietnam to Sweden, just to realized soon that they are totally useless over here. I was almost frozen when the temperature suddenly dropped below 0 degree one October morning in Uppsala. Therefore, I was determined to find myself a proper winter set. My old clothes that can handle the occasional cold during my equatorial winters are far from being adequate in protecting me in the Swedish winter. Here we really need big jackets and good quality products, but I also need student prices. Second-hand shops become my solution to get the best of both worlds.

My 275 SEK winter set – Credit: Yen

Shop wisely, live sustainably

For the above reasons, I’m quite happy with my second-hand shopping experience in Sweden despite being called as a “shopaholic” by my friend sometimes. As I’m living in one of the most sustainable countries in the world, I find that learning good habits and knowledge about sustainable living from local people is as valuable as any lesson from college. Do you also enjoy second-hand shopping? Feel free to share your experience below so we can all become wise shoppers in Sweden.

Happy Shopping, everyone! 


Written by Yen

21 Nov 2018