It may come as no surprise that Scandinavia is home to some of the most expensive countries in the world and Sweden is of no exception. Known as ‘The Capital of Scandinavia,’ many individuals assume that Stockholm is quite expensive. However, smart budgeting and knowing when and where you can save money can go a long way.
The cost of an apartment in Stockholm will change drastically depending on where you want to live. With a housing crisis throughout the major cities in Sweden, it can be extremely difficult to find a place to live. Want an apartment in fancy Östermalm? Expect to pay a high ticket price for your own flat, around 12,581 SEK ($1,389) for a studio, which can go up to 19,317 SEK ($2,132) per month for a flat that’s double the size. If you are wanting to get more for your money, more space, but slightly outside of the city – try Solna, which has more affordable prices. A price for a studio in a normal neighborhood is about 8,914 SEK($984) but can go up to 13,936 SEK ($1,538) per month. What does this mean? If you want more bang for your buck, it’s advised to move more outside of the city.
Bills, bills, bills
There’s no getting away from paying bills that are associated with your living situation. Just one person’s average utility bill is 724 SEK ($79) in a 45m2 studio apartment, whereas if there were two of you in an 85m2 flat, your utilities would be more like 1,055 SEK ($116). Therefore, living in a bigger apartment with a roommate could be the way to go. Internet? Expect to pay 252 SEK ($28) per month, which is typically the norm when it comes to internet prices. If you are wanting a little extra help around your flat, plan on spending 303 SEK ($33) an hour for hired cleaning help. It is quite common for individuals in Stockholm to have their houses cleaned if they live in the suburbs of Stockholm, however with apartments it’s not as often.
Putting food on the table
Purchasing food at a grocery store in Sweden has comparable prices to that of areas in the United States and neighboring countries. As usual, purchasing food at the store is cheaper than going out to eat, so if you’re looking to save money, going grocery shopping is the way to go. Eggs, for example, can be super expensive at 37 SEK ($4.05) but can go down to as little as 15 SEK ($1.67) or less. Potatoes are extremely cheap, averaging at around 10 SEK ($1.13) for two pounds, and a basic bottle of red wine can go for 97 SEK ($11). Therefore, if you’re looking at planning a date night, picking up a bottle of wine, some potatoes, and fish can make for a delicious yet economically-efficient evening!
Dude, where’s my car?
Chances are if you live in the city, you won’t have a car to take you around everywhere. Therefore, many residents of the Stockholm metropolitan area tend to walk, bike, or take public transportation. To purchase an SL card for unlimited rides on the metro per month, you’re looking at spending 860 SEK ($94). On the weekends, however, public transportation won’t be the fastest or most convenient mode of transportation, so many Stockholmers opt to take a taxi or Uber. Plan to spend around 205 SEK ($23) on a trip, depending on how far you’re going and whether or not it’s during ‘prime time.’ Otherwise, find your closest Max Hamburgare and wait out the clock for your ride to be a bit less expensive.
Going out is expensive
If you’re planning on going out to dinner, or even just going out to a nightclub, lounge or bar, plan on spending quite a bit of money. The liquor stores in Sweden are called Systembolaget, and they are government-run establishments. It’s cheaper to buy alcohol at Systembolaget, but if you’re planning on going out for a few drinks, expect to pay around 129 SEK ($15) for a cocktail and 61 SEK ($7) for a beer. If you’re interested in date night, expect to pay a minimum of 748 SEK ($82) for a full dinner. Lunch, however, is a lot cheaper and many people in the city go out for lunch, which is around 111 SEK ($12). So if you’re looking to get take-out, lunch is definitely the way to go!
Shopping ‘till you (maybe don’t) drop
One of the toughest things to do when in Stockholm is to save money and not spend! The clothes, furniture and all things fun are quite pricey depending on what you like. Never fear, for there is practically an H&M on every block and a new UNIQLO in Norrmalmstorg. A summer dress in Sweden can go for about 369 SEK ($40) from a store like H&M or Zara, whereas a pair of jeans for a ‘middle of the road’ brand can go for about 932 SEK ($102). Finding reasonably priced clothes can be done, but it all depends on where you end up shopping.
Entertain me, please
Living in a big city comes with the perks of having great entertainment and awesome nightlife; however, it does come with a cost. Going to the cinema can set you back around 261 SEK ($28) for just two tickets, excluding snacks. What happens if you want to visit the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern to see a show? Expect to spend around 990 SEK ($108) for a ticket to one of those shows. Football, or soccer as it’s known in the United States, is king in Sweden, and going to a game will cost about 400 SEK ($44). Now when you compare it to an average United States sporting event, the cost seems to be quite low.
There are definitely certain perks to living in a large city and with having more options when it comes to transportation, shops, entertainment and much more. Therefore, it makes sense that certain luxuries will be more expensive. So in the grand scheme of things, does Stockholm really seem that expensive?
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