Norway

Cost of Living in Norway in 2020 (Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim etc)

Norway is considered one of the best countries in the world to live in, but it definitely is not one of the cheapest. But what’s the actual cost of living in Norway? This is what I am going to tell you in today’s article.

We’re going to look at the general cost of living in Norway and the values presented in this article will apply to both the major cities like Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and so on, but also the smaller ones.

Even though in some countries, the cost of living is much smaller if you live away from the big cities, in Norway it’s not really that much of a difference. Sure, living in Oslo is more expensive than living in Flekkefjord, but even so the differences are not huge and generally related to rental prices only.

There are many aggregators out there trying to tell you the cost of living in Norway, but I believe that a bit of personal touch always does better at estimating the monthly costs in a country. And that’s exactly what I will do: I will use my own experience and living expenses calculations to estimate how much you should expect to pay.

Have in mind that your cost of living in Norway will be influenced a lot by some factors: if you’re single or a couple (and/or if you have children) or if you’re a student.

I will try to touch all bases in today’s article in order to help everybody estimate how much they’re probably going to spend in Norway, but I have in mind that my own experience is based on living together with my partner in a large city here (without a car).

In order to make this article as complete as possible, I will start by sharing the costs for the main expenses that you will have (accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment) and then round things up for a total amount that you’ll most likely spend here.

So if you don’t want to look at the estimated costs per category, scroll down toward the end to see my monthly estimated budget!

Also, I will share all costs in Euros and not NOK, Norway’s currency, in order to make it easier to follow by those who are not living in the country already.

Norway: Accommodation Costs

These will probably be your highest costs, no matter where you go. Larger cities have higher prices, while smaller towns can offer some surprisingly low rental options, but don’t expect to find a cheap place to rent here.

Fortunately, even though you will usually pay a lot on rent, the quality of the apartment will usually be really high. Also, co-living (sharing an apartment) is very common here, so you could consider that as well for reducing costs.

With these in mind, here are the amounts you should expect to pay monthly for rent in Norway:

  • for a shared room in an apartment/building: around 500 Euros
  • for a 1-bedroom apartment: anything between 1,000 – 1,300 Euros
  • for a 2-bedroom apartment: between 1,500 – 1,700 Euros

Norway: Cost of Utilities

Utilities are, like most things here, pretty expensive. Fortunately, some owners already include these costs (or at least some of them, generally heating and water) in the monthly rental costs. Make sure to ask before renting, because having or not having the costs included in your rent is important to know.

If you are to pay for everything, you will do so based on the amount you use – so it’s difficult to actually estimate how much water, electricity or heating you will end up using. But I am basing my estimates on personal experience and an average living style.

With these in mind, expect to pay the following amount on utilities (if they are not already included in the rent):

  • between 120 – 250 Euros per month, mostly influenced by the size of your home

Sim Card Plan: Around 40 Euros / Month (includes around 10GB of internet, unlimited calls and texts)

Internet: Around 50 Euros per month for a basic 75MB connection.

Norway: Food Costs

These costs are the most difficult to estimate, in my opinion. Food is expensive in Norway, while eating out is even more so. This means that if you cook your food at home you will pay a lot less than if you constantly eat out.

With these in mind, here are some of the prices you should expect to pay for food in Norway:

1 Liter of milk – 2 Eur
1 Loaf of bread – 2.3 Eur
12 eggs – 4.4 Eur
Local Cheese (1kg) – 12 Euros (although prices vary a lot)
Chicken breasts (1kg) – 9 Euros

Potatoes (1kg): 1.8 Eur
Tomatoes (1kg): 2.5 Eur
Apples (1kg): 2.5 Eur
Bananas (1kg): 2.3 Eur
Oranges (1kg): 2.4 Eur

Bottled water (1.5 liters): 2 Eur
Beer (store-brought): 2.5 Eur
Wine (store-brought): 10 Eur (prices vary a lot here as well)

Restaurant prices in Norway

Meal for 2 in regular restaurant, with a drink included: 35 – 40 Euros

Meal for 2 in a better restaurant, with drinks included: 90 Euros

Beer in a restaurant: 8 Euros

Bottle of juice: 3 Euros

Cappuccino or Latte: 4.1 Euros

Norway: Other Expenses

All the expenses listed above can be considered basic expenses, but there are still other things that you will spend money on, from entertainment to buying clothes, buying things for your home, health-related costs and transportation-related expenses.

These can also add up, but you can adjust them based on your needs in most cases. And while it’s really difficult to estimate what you’ll be spending in these areas, here are some of the more common expenses:

  • 1 ticket for public transportation: 3.5 Euros
  • monthly public transport pass: 70 Euros
  • Gasoline: 1.5 Eur / liter
  • Movie ticket: 10 Eur
  • Gym Membership (1 month): 35 Euros

Do you need a car when living in Norway?

If you don’t have to commute to another city, most likely you won’t really feel the need of owning a car here. Even if you have to commute, you will have trains and buses to choose from, so the car won’t be a necessity.

All cities and towns here in Norway are very pedestrian-friendly and the public transportation network works like a charm. Plus, you can also ride bikes here, but have in mind that it’s pretty chilly and during the colder months (which are more than the other way around) it will be really difficult to ride your bike.

All in all, I would say that most people shouldn’t really worry about them owning a car: you can definitely live a good life without one and the cost savings are huge!

Estimated monthly costs in Norway

It’s difficult to add up all the prices above and estimate a budget for living in Norway. I will try to do that for you, based on my experience.

IMPORTANT: Please have in mind that costs could vary greatly from person to person. Remember that a beer in a pub or restaurant in Norway can be as much as 10 Euros, so cost of living estimates can really skyrocket if you like to go out a lot.

I am basing my calculations below for a monthly budget for one person living a simple life, but without missing any important stuff. So you’ll live in a good house (not shared) in a good area and even go out 3-4 times a month.

So consider my recommended amount below (or cost of living estimation – whatever you want to call it) closer to the minimum amount required to live a decent life here in Norway.

Rent & Utilities (internet & TV included): 1,500 Euros / month
Food & Eating out: 475 Euros / month
Other expenses: 400 Euros / month
____________________
TOTAL: 2375 Euros / month

I think that most people living in Norway could live a comfortable life on this budget. You might even be able to live on a bit less – although having close to 2,500 Euros / month would probably give you more room to play and eat better.

Also, have in mind that I have considered you living alone, in your own place. If you have nothing against sharing an apartment with another person, you could cut around 500 Euros off your monthly bills.

The important thing to note is that under similar conditions, if you would live here with your partner or spouse, the cost of living won’t double. On the contrary, because you would still spend about the same amount on Rent (unless you really want more rooms, which for a couple are not necessary).

This means that if you are to bring your soulmate with you, you should only budget around 800 – 1,000 Euros more, bringing the total cost of living per person at around 1,650 Euros per month.

I have to repeat: these costs and the monthly budget shared for one or two persons above can be considered close to the minimum. While not at the bottom, based on my own experience, it doesn’t really offer you a lot to play with. But you will live a decent, although a bit modest life!

Things could change a bit more if you have a kid or more. While I don’t have a personal experience to relate to here, I would anticipate that the costs would increased greatly, because of the added costs from:

1 – the rent (you will probably need more rooms), so at least a few hundred Euros extra will be spent here
2 – the food (although costs here won’t increase by a ton, you would still pay 100-200 Euros more)
3 – education, as tuition fees vary from a few hundred Euros per month to a couple thousand. Plus, you would have other activities and costs to cover.

Conclusion

Don’t forget to read our guide to Norwegian Women, now that you’re planning to move here.

While Norway is definitely not one of the cheapest places to live in – no matter if you compare it with the rest of Europe or the rest of the world – the truth is that the standard of living is actually high and salaries are up there to help people afford these seemingly insane prices.

I would say that even though costs are still increasing (with the accommodation costs exploding), the increase has slowed down in the past couple of years and I don’t think that things will become much more expensive in the future.

So if you come here with the prospect of being hired – or you already have a job lined up – it will most likely cover your living expenses and allow you to live a decent life here.

Remember that there is no minimum salary in Norway (at least not set by law), the earnings here are more than decent, so you should expect to be paid around 200 NOK (20 Eur) per hour in most cases, unless you do unskilled work.

This means that even if you’re not scoring a top paying job in Norway, you’re still going to afford the monthly budget I have estimated above. So yes, even though things might seem expensive at first, when you look at your potential earnings, you realize that things are not that bad.

Over to you now: do you have any comments to make regarding the costs and estimations here? Maybe extra questions to ask about today’s topic? If you do, don’t hesitate to let us all know by commenting below!

Arlen Tanner

Arlen is your regular geek-turned-blogger who left the traditional 9 to 5 in the US behind for location independent lifestyle and constant travel. After exploring Eastern Europe first (mainly Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia), he settled in the much colder but even more beautiful Scandinavia area since 2016. And he's now here to share with you all the good things about living in the magical 5.

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