Fellow blogger Kazem recently wrote a really nice blog on the cost of living in Sweden. He did a great job of outlining all of the essential expenditures for a student in Sweden, and I’ll try to pick up where he left off by providing some tips on how to stretch your krona (or preferred currency) as far as possible. So in a somewhat random, yet itemized list:
Food & Drink
- You’re going to want avoid eating in restaurants as much as possible if money is a big concern for you. I’ve found Swedish restaurants to be expensive. There are many great restaurants in Sweden, but higher quality comes at a price. Learn to cook instead! If you have to eat out for a meal, choose lunch over dinner because a lot of restaurants have lunch specials that offer huge savings over the dinner prices.
- Since we’ve already established that you probably won’t be eating at restaurants as much as you might be accustomed to, familiarize yourself with the weekly ads from grocery stores (i.e. ICA, Lidl, Hemköp, Coop, etc.). These fliers are easily accessible on each of their respective websites, and I’ve found some great specials on various types of meat. Also, it is advisable to buy your groceries in the suburbs or away from the city center if possible. Unfortunately, the most convenient stores are typically the most expensive.
- Alcohol is more expensive in Sweden than in most other countries in the world. If you’re planning on going out to a bar and having more than a couple of drinks in a night, it would be a good idea to have a pre-party somewhere. This will save you a ton of money over the course of time because the prices at Systembolaget are much more affordable than any bar.
- Many museums are either free or have a reduced entrance fee for students and/or youth. In Gothenburg, the Konstmuseum (art museum), Röhsska Museum (design museum), Natural History Museum, and the City Museum are completely free for people who are under the age of 26!
Entrance to the Gothenburg Art Museum. Photo: B. Seward
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Last month I found myself sitting in class and minding my own business when all of a sudden I started to have an incredible toothache in the back of my jaw. It was my wisdom tooth pressing in as it usually would once a month or so. I had stopped being surprised by the pain and started learning the best way to endure it. However, this time was especially painful. I felt that I had to see a dentist.
The dental system in Sweden differs a little bit compared to the States. Back home if I had an emergency with my tooth (that was not bad enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room) I would make an “emergency appointment” with my local dentist and they would usually move their schedule around a bit to fit me in right away. That is not possible in Sweden. Though there may be exceptions, the appointments set by the local dentist are rigid. I cannot simply walk in and demand to by seen right away. Instead I had to go to an “Akut tandvård”.
When I arrived I went up to the welcome window to present my information, and they gave me a number and pointed to the waiting room. I sat down and waited along with about 5 people ahead of me in the queue and I was to wait until my number was called. Waiting took 2 hours, though I have heard when the clinic is busy you can be waiting for up to 4+ hours, so make sure to bring something to do if you ever find yourself in that situation. The trick is to come early. The earlier you show up, the less waiting time you will have. When it was my turn to see one of the dentists, I told him about my pain and he took an x-ray. This showed us that my wisdom teeth were impacted and I had to take them out sooner rather than later. Though there was not anything he could do for the pain (I guess Sweden is much stricter about handing out pain medication compared to the States), we made an appointment for me to come back and extract my wisdom teeth once and for all. For anyone’s reference, the full price for the extraction range’s between 1000-2500 SEK depending on the complexity of the extraction.
The quality of dental work here is similar to the States. It really will depend on the dentist him/herself and how much effort is put into the work. I was lucky to have a very skilled and engaging dentist.
After a month I am happy to say I have taken out the trouble makers and never have to worry about the random pain events again.
If you are interested in making an appointment or visiting a dentist I recommend you start here: https://www.folktandvardenstockholm.se/
The akut tandvård by St Eriks sjukhus – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani
Being in Sweden is one of the most satisfying experiences to have. There are plenty of attractions throughout the country and an abundance of culture to take part in. However, as a student, staying in Sweden can be challenging. Coming from the US everyone was under the impression that Sweden was a “more expensive” country than a America. To a degree that is true. So for anyone out there who is thinking of moving to Sweden for whatever reason I would like to go over the monthly costs that you will have to face:
- Accommodation: 3000+ SEK. Accommodation is the hardest thing to find when coming to Sweden because it requires you being in a queue for some time and may be the reason that some people won’t come. So if you are able to find a place to stay consider yourself lucky. On the low end you can be paying about 3000 however you will probably will be sharing a flat or a corridor. The more you are able to pay, the better your accommodation will be.
- Transportation: 560 SEK (student price). Getting around Stockholm is very easy with the public transportation system. You are able to buy a monthly SL pass that will give you unlimited access to that system for the month. For anyone new to Stockholm I recommend getting it so that you have a good chance to explore. If you are looking to save money though you might not have to get this pass if you live close to school and perhaps a grocery store. Some people also buy bikes a ride those around during the warm months and only buy a pass for a month or two in the winter.
- Food: 1200 SEK. This amount will depend on what exactly you eat and will vary. 1200 is the value that I spend on average a month for food.
- Insurance. Remember you have to get insurance, both home and health/dental. If you are a student find out what insurance you can get abroad.
- Phone: 150 SEK. I have a smartphone and use Google Maps a lot to get around so I had to make sure I got a plan with data on it. There are plenty of companies to choose from. The most popular one for students is Comviq. I have a prepaid plan from Telenor. I pay 150 SEK for 3000 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500 MB of data for 30 days. I have never reached any of those limits so I though this was the best plan for me.
Putting everything together, at the very least you will be spending about 5000 SEK per month living here. That does not include things such as: eating out, buying books, or any extra expenditures that you have. I hope this information is useful for anyone considering on coming over to Sweden.
Photo of an ice cream cone and Mehsum Rupani at Kista Centrum – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani
When I was a little younger, I used to wake up bright and early on Saturday mornings, rush down the stairs, dash into the lounge, where my Mum and Dad would be sitting enjoying a hot cup of Indian masala chai on our very comfy brown sofas. I would perch myself next to my Dad and a few minutes later we’d be watching “my programmes”. When I say “my programmes” I mean children’s Saturday morning TV! And what fun it was! One of my favourite cartoons was The Little Mermaid! I don’t know exactly what it was about The Little Mermaid, in fact I could certainly watch it now on Saturday morning’s with my own cup of tea! It just let my imagination run free!
Nyhavn in Copenhagen. Hans Christian Andersen author of The Little Mermaid lived in a number of these houses during his lifetime. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.
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