The most frequent question we get asked is how much it costs to live in Sweden. The biggest worry of every incoming student is that the country is known for being very expensive. I thought I’d finally set the record straight. Here is an idea of what kind of monthly budget you need to prepare.
I’m an average spender. I try to budget where I can but I have a tendency to indulge in good food. 😁 In total I spent about SEK 7000 this month. This cake shows a summary of my monthly spending but let us dive deeper into that:
How much does accommodation cost?
The price of accommodation really depends on where you live. Rent in smaller cities is usually lower than in larger ones (especially compared to Stockholm). It also reflects your living situation. Whether you’re sharing a kitchen with students on your floor in the dorms, whether you live in dorms or in a shared apartment, etc. The prices can range from approximately SEK 3000 to SEK 6500 depending on what you are looking for.
I share an apartment with my boyfriend in a small town, Skövde. Each of us pays SEK 4000/month. The rent includes electricity, internet, TV, water, and heating, even a laundry room. We got lucky though. My friend, who lives in the cheaper student dorms, pays the same amount but shares the kitchen and common room with 8 other people. To get an idea of what the different types of accommodations look like and how to find them, make sure to read Tips you NEED to find accommodation in Sweden.
How much does the food cost?
After rent, most of the money flows into groceries. I usually spend from SEK 1500 – SEK 2500 monthly on food. My limit is SEK 2000 but it happens that I go over it. Most of my diet is plant-based but two times a week, I have fish or meat.
We try to buy all our groceries from Lidl every week since it is the cheapest store. It helps to plan your meals for the week in advance so you don’t overspend. ICA is however the shop closest to our apartment, so when we need something specific fast, we’ll get it there. If you need help navigating the stores in Sweden, make sure to check out the post about Shopping for groceries by Brooke.
Clothes and cosmetics
I definitely try to avoid buying clothes in Sweden. Ever since I found out that the exact same piece of clothing from the same clothing store can cost double the price in Sweden compared to my country, I stopped even looking for clothes here. If you really need to buy something, I suggest ordering online. I bought my winter jacket this way, it took 2 days to deliver and it fit me perfectly. I don’t think I’d be able to get it for under SEK 500 in the clothing stores.
But there is always the option to buy second-hand in Sweden. If you want to learn more about it, make sure to read a post by Raeed: Sweden: A second-hand paradise.
In the case of cosmetics, shopping for hygiene products you probably should not avoid. 😂 Read my post on how to shop for personal care products on a budget!
Can you afford to go to the restaurant?
Honestly, we get food from restaurants once or twice per month. It’d be good to avoid it completely but sometimes we are too lazy to cook or there is no time. We have our university restaurant where lunch costs SEK 90. You can find similar prices in the city during lunchtime if you know where to look. So, for a student in Sweden, going to a restaurant occasionally can be alright.
Fun fact: Most Swedes that I know go to restaurants quite frequently! It’s motivating to think that if you’ll get a job in this country and live here for a longer time, you might actually be able to afford this lifestyle. 🤣 Although I will always believe that spending large amounts of finances on restaurants is a waste. A home-cooked meal is irreplaceable.
The rest of the expenses consist of some travel costs, social activities, or occasional cups of coffee – hard to live in Sweden without.
To conclude, with a budget between SEK 7000 to SEK 10000, you should be able to survive in Sweden while maintaining a good standard of living. It largely differs though, from person to person and from one city to another city.
Share your experience or concerns in the comments below.
Hope this helps,