Cost of Living in Norway?
Cost of Life in Norway: Further Expenses
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, a Norwegian household spends around 4,285 NOK a month on food and non-alcoholic drinks and additionally nearly 1,000 NOK on tobacco and alcohol, 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, et cetera. 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 800 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 75 NOK, while you can get the same for around 28 NOK at a supermarket.
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 30 NOK for a single, one zone ride and go up to 17,400 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 30 NOK plus around 20 NOK per km, with higher prices for nights, weekends and holidays.
Intercity travel by bus averages at around 165 NOK per 100 km, but make sure to shop around to get the best deal. Buy your ticket online for typically cheaper prices and don’t forget to check whether or not 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.
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. 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. However, should you decide to send your kids to an international school, be prepared for high tuition fees.
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.