Norway

Cost of Living in Norway?

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Cost of Life in Norway: Further Expenses

Norway is infamous for being one of the most expensive places in Europe. So what sort of costs can expats moving to this country expect? The InterNations Expat Guide on the cost of living in Norway gives you a first insight into the expenses of typical budget items, from rent to transportation.
You can save money by sticking to local goods, such as fresh fish, instead of imported ones.

Buying Groceries and Dining Out

Groceries in Norway are typically more expensive than in most other European countries, in part due to the 15% VAT on non-alcoholic drinks and foodstuff. On average in 2015, a Norwegian household spent around 8,030 NOK a month on food and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as sometimes 100 NOK on a pack of cigarettes and around 35 NOK on a bottle of imported beer, both of which are taxed at higher rates.

Of course, these are only some average numbers, and your own expenditures for groceries may well deviate quite a bit from these, depending on where in Norway you live, the size of your household, your style of living, etc. If you are on a budget, supermarkets such as Coop, Rema 1000, Kiwi, and Rimi typically offer the cheapest prices. Meny and ICA, on the other hand, as well as convenience stores such as Narvesen and Mix, are more expensive.

You can expect to pay around 450 NOK for a mid-range meal for two, but exact prices of course depend on the restaurant and what you order. If you’d like half a liter of domestic beer to complement your dinner, it’ll cost you an additional 78 NOK, while you can get the same for around 30 NOK at a supermarket.

Transportation Expenditures

Public Transportation

Depending on your mode of transportation in Norway, costs can, and will, vary a lot. Tickets for Oslo’s public transportation, for example, start from 33 NOK for a single, one-zone ride and go up to 18,040 NOK for a 365-day pass for all zones in the Oslo-Akershus area. If you are in need of a taxi, fares in Oslo for instance start at around 10-12 NOK per km, with higher prices for nights, weekends, and holidays.

Intercity travel by bus can be expensive due to the long distances travelled, so make sure to shop around to get the best deal. A standard single journey from Oslo to Bergen costs around 700 NOK, when bought in advance. Buy your ticket online for typically cheaper prices and don’t forget to check whether any ferry journeys are already included in the price. Trains, on the other hand, are often more expensive, sometimes even making flying the less costly option.

Owning a Car

Owning a car may well be a necessity when living in one of the more rural areas of Norway. However, expats who are thinking of importing their own car or buying one in Norway have to be prepared for steep costs.

In regard to importing, you will not only have to cover the costs of shipping, but also need to be prepared for a VAT of 25% on the customs value of your car, no matter how long you’ve already had it and regardless of its private use, plus greenhouse and insurance taxes. The Norwegian Tax Administration offers an online service to help calculate your car’s individual tax costs.

Buying a car — whether new or used — may then well be less expensive or at least less of a hassle. However, expatriates should not underestimate prices for cars in Norway, which can easily be double or triple of what you’d be used to from other parts of Europe or the US for example.

Similarly, with around 15–16 NOK for a liter of unleaded petrol, Norway is currently one of the most expensive countries when it comes to fuel prices; yet with higher incomes the average Norwegian spent only 8% of their monthly disposable income on fuel in 2015. In addition to the purchase and petrol, you are also obliged to take out insurance for your automobile. You can get a first estimation at the website of the Norwegian Consumer Council.

Paying for Healthcare and Education

The public healthcare system in Norway is both financed by the national insurance scheme and tax revenues as well as considered to be of a high standard. As such, expats working in Norway only have to pay a nominal fee of around 140 NOK when going to the doctor. Emergency services are typically free, while prescription drugs are either free or subsidized.

The education system in Norway is similarly free and considered by many to be excellent, with compulsory schooling from ages 6 to 16. However, should you decide to send your kids to an international school, be prepared for high tuition fees. The standard fee (tuition plus facility) for the academic year 2017 to 2018 at Oslo International School is 219,000 NOK for pupils in years 1 to 13.

The cost of living in Norway is of course not limited to expenses for the services and items that we have covered in this article. Depending on your individual lifestyle and hobbies, the size of your household, your exact location in Norway, and many other factors, you may well face various additional expenses.

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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