It is well-known that living in Sweden can be a little more expensive than other cities. For a student on a tight budget this isn’t always optimal. And, keeping an eye on your finances is not always the easiest thing to do.
While the difference might not be enormous, the small costs certainly add up. Going to a movie, eating out at a restaurant and shopping tend to be the areas which cost a little more. This simply means students need to keep a close watch on their budgets and keep the eating out and shopping to a minimum.
However, the life of a student involves scoping out the major bargains and sacrificing the finer things in life (which we dream of when we get a grown-up job).
When I was in school in Canada I always had a part-time job. This left me with some extra money to be able to do some shopping and go out for drinks or dinners. Adopting to a lifestyle with much less of these luxuries has been difficult; yet, I rely on some key bargain shopping techniques to save some extra cash.
First of all, there are many second-hand stores in Sweden where you can buy everything from clothes to books and even furniture. The key is to be in the mood for a hunt and you will likely find something exciting and for very low price. It is also very handy if you, for some reason, didn’t realize that Sweden is deathly cold in the winter and didn’t pack enough knitted sweaters, hats and mitts (which has happened to a few international students)!
I love going out to eat. The candle lit atmosphere along with great food, wine and friends/family is always tempting me. In Sweden this is just something I cannot afford to do as often as I would like. The solution: head to a restaurant for their lunch specials! The prices are nearly 50% less than the dinner costs and the food is just as tasty.
The costs also add up by frequenting the grocery store. I have all of the weekly flyers (erbjudanden in Swedish) bookmarked on my computer to ensure that I don’t miss any of the really good deals. Also, if you do your grocery shopping around lunch time or early afternoon during the week there are many sample stands. This means one less meal you have to buy!
Of course don’t forget the are many fruit trees around. During the right season you can stock up on free apples.
Getting all of your course literature can also add stress to your budget. The good news is most libraries have all of the class books you need. If you prefer to own the book and read at home there are many good online Swedish used books stores.
Living on a student budget doesn’t have to be painful. You may have to lose some of the luxuries in life, but if you keep a look out for the bargains and make sure you’re a smart shopper, saving some extra cash will be easy.