It’s no news that Copenhagen is an expensive city to live in. Despite prices being a bit lower compared to other Scandinavian cities, the Danish capital still ranks high on the list of the most expensive cities in Europe. But if you take a closer look you’ll find that a well-calculated budget management can go a long way.
Finding an affordable place to live in Copenhagen is one of the biggest challenges locals and newcomers face. Not only are there limited houses available for rent but even if you manage to find one, a costly two or even three months of deposit is required in order to move in. Prices vary based on neighbourhoods, and as with most cities the further away from the city centre you move, the lower the prices. If you’re dreaming to live in one of Copenhagen’s hippest neighbourhoods such as Nørrebro or Vesterbro, be prepared to pay no less than 4000 DKK (480£) for a single room. For a medium-sized apartment in neighbourhoods relatively close to the city centre, prices start from 12,000 DKK (£1,442).
Grocery shopping isn’t cheap either but if you choose the right supermarket, it’s possible to fill your fridge at little cost. Fakta, Netto and Lidl are the cheapest supermarkets in Copenhagen; SuperBrugsen and Føtex cover a great variety of products with prices varying depending on the brand; and Irma is for those who don’t mind spending a bit extra for premium quality. Fruits and vegetables are, as in any other Northern European country, the most expensive products. A kilo of tomatoes, for example, can cost up to 30 DKK (£3.61), a small package of grapes is priced at around 25 DKK (£3) while a bowl of fresh-cut salad costs no less than 20 DKK (£2.40). Dairy products are reasonably affordable since most of them are produced in Denmark. The price for a package of cheese or a yoghurt starts from 15 DKK (£1.80)and for a bottle of fresh milk from 8 DKK (£0.96).
When it comes to meat, the price for a kilo of packaged chicken breast fillets will cost you no less than 30 DKK (£3.61) while a kilo of pork mince is around 50 DKK (£6). Finally, if you want to taste a fresh loaf of Denmark’s popular rye bread, you’ll have to spend at least 25 DKK (£3), but it’s only 10DKK (£1.20) for a plain baguette.
Copenhagen has a zone system (that even Danes haven’t managed to fully comprehend yet) and ticket prices range based on the area (zone) you’re at and the one you’re heading to. A two-zone ticket covers most areas around the city centre and is the one you’ll probably going to need while you’re living in Copenhagen. Most foreigners moving to Copenhagen find public transport a bit pricey, but once they realise how well-set up the system is, and that the metro and several buses run all day and all night, 395 DKK (£47.50) for a two-zone monthly ticket (pendlekort) begins to seem like a fair deal. A single two-zone ticket costs 24 DKK (£2.89), while a three-zone ticket, which is the one you’ll need going from the airport to the city centre, costs 36 DKK (£4.33). There are different kinds of tickets for tourists that plan to stay just a few days in Copenhagen (e.g. CityPASS), as well as for locals who prefer not to part with their beloved two-wheeled vehicle yet still have the alternative to choose the metro or the train once in a while (rejsekort).
With so many stylish shops scattered all over Copenhagen, it’s difficult to resist the urge to go on a shopping spree for Scandinavian-style garments. Unless you’re well-heeled, however, you’ll soon realise that you’ll have to avoid designers’ boutiques in favour of the city’s second-hand shops and flea markets. At flea markets, you can find blouses from 50 DKK (£6), while in second-hand shops prices rarely fall under 200 DKK(£24) for a dress. At chain stores such as H&M and New Yorker, the minimum price for a blouse would be around 80 DKK (£9.62).
Personal care products’ prices vary depending on the brand and the store but a hair shampoo won’t cost less than 25 DKK (£3) and a face cream no less than 100 DKK (£12) in any supermarket. A haircut at an average hair salon would cost around 500 DKK (£60) for women and around 300 DKK (£36) for men.
As you’ll have guessed by now, nothing is really cheap in Copenhagen with leisure activities not being an exception to the rule. A cinema ticket costs around 90 DKK (£10.82) and a theatre ticket rarely cost less than 160 DKK (£19.24). For a bottle of beer at a regular bar, you’d pay around 40-80 DKK (£4.81-9.62 ), while for drinks and cocktails prices start from 60 DKK (£7.20). Fitness lovers will have to spend a bit extra if they want to sweat it out elsewhere than the city’s gyms. For example, the monthly price at a yoga studio for two classes per week is around 600 DKK (£72) while for the same hours of training at a Crossfit centre you’ll have to pay 400 DKK (£48).