It's time again for some information that can be useful to everyone planning a potential move to Sweden. There's been quite a few already:
Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden - The Weather
Moving to Sweden - Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden - Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden - Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden - Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden - Making Friends
But now it's time for a Moving to Sweden post that delves into the nitty gritty. Stockholm is usually listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Sweden as a whole is usually listed as one of the most expensive countries in the world by all kinds of different standards. If you’re planning on moving to Sweden it is something you’ll need to accept and be prepared for.
I have managed to live a pretty inexpensive lifestyle here in Sweden, mostly because I am dirt cheap and put my money to travel instead of dinner out in Stockholm. Lately though, I’ve been receiving quite a few questions about the cost of living in Sweden.
Instead of actually doing some sort of research, I just saved all of my receipts for one week. Sunday to Sunday. It’s a pretty normal week for me. I did go out a bit more than I might in a usual week which included a couple of dinners, but take this for what it is. I’ve separated my expenditures into different categories and then added rent, which didn’t actually get paid this week but tends to be a necessity.
And so, a look at my week. First, the fun stuff.
703 SEK in bars and booze. This includes drinks for a couple of buddies and all those delicious chili nuts that I eat every time I go out. I can’t help myself.
149 SEK in books. Akademibokhandeln has a three pocket books for 149 SEK deal right now. I can’t help myself.
77 SEK for fika. I am not good at the whole fika thing. Mostly because I don’t drink coffee or tea, but I make exceptions. The sun was shining and it was a chance to sit outside for the first time this year in a t-shirt.
All in all, I had fun for 929 SEK.
Now, food. Because I need to eat.
75 SEK for dagens lunch. It was a Thursday so I enjoyed pea soup and pancakes.
237 SEK for dinner out. One nice dinner, one hamburger dinner before drinking.
613.41 SEK for groceries. I usually end up at the grocery store once or twice a week. Mostly because my fridge is too small to handle anything more than that. This week was one of the big shopping trips.
Total for food then was 925.41 SEK. And all of it delicious. Except for maybe the hamburger.
Next were a few miscellaneous purchases.
50 SEK worth of birthday cards. None of which showed up on time.
36 SEK worth of stamps for said birthday cards.
100 SEK for a refill on my SIM card.
That’s a total of 186 SEK. The kind of things that I tend to forget about, but always pop up.
Next come some expenditures that didn’t actually happen this week but are pretty important nonetheless.
Transportation. Kind of. I pay 300 SEK for a parking space for my car. I don’t drive very often so I did not fill up my tank this week. Or for the past few weeks actually so you’ll get no gas costs information from me.
Because I don’t drive all that much, I use public transportation. 690 SEK for a 30 day card with SL. It will get you on the busses, trains, subways, and trams in Stockholm. It does good work.
And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Rent. It’s the big expense in all of our lives. Since living here in Sweden, I have been in three different apartments. I have paid between 3500 SEK to 4200 SEK. They have been small, but because of that, I’ve managed to live very inexpensively. Right now, 3600 SEK includes my rent and internet access every month.
So those costs that are important, but that I haven’t actually paid this week, add up to 4590 SEK. For the sake of argument, we’ll file those away under monthly costs, seeing as how they cover me for one month.
My weekly costs for having fun, eating, and trying to be brotherly by sending birthday cards resulted in about 2040 SEK.
My monthly costs for having a roof over my head, and a way to get myself from point a to point b cost me 4590 SEK.
Four weeks every month, plus my monthly costs, we’ll call it a cool 12750 SEK per month. Assuming a 7.2 conversion rate for SEK to USD, I’m living comfortably, for about 1770 USD per month.
I have two caveats to all of this. One was already mentioned. I am cheap. Seriously. I buy cheap food. I buy cheap beer. I don’t eat dinner out on a regular basis. I don’t fika on a regular basis. I’m cheap. I cannot stress this enough. And, as always, ladies, I am single.
Also, I would like to point out that I was on a business trip on Friday and so my expenditures there were covered by work. Although, I usually bring my lunch four times a week (see the delicious pea soup and pancakes above) so it shouldn’t skew my average week too much.
Currently, Migrationsverket requires you to prove that you are able to support yourself if you plan to study here in Sweden. They assume you can support yourself for 7300 SEK per month for 10 months out of the year. Just about 1000 USD per month for ten months. My experiences lead me to respectfully disagree.
Having now revealed far more than even I think necessary, I hope that this brief look at my wallet helps when you plan your move to Sweden.
Welcome to Sweden. And cost of living.
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