Norway is one of the best countries in the world to live in, but it definitely is not one of the cheapest. What’s the actual cost of living in Norway? This is what I am going share with you in today’s article.
We’re going to look at the general cost of living in Norway – so expect the amount shared today to be average for all cities here, valid for Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and so on.
Even though in most countries, the cost of living is lower the farther away you are 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 so expect to pay similar amounts throughout the country. Rent is the only exception here – larger cities come with higher rent prices.
I know that there are many aggregators out there claiming to share 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 for living an average life. So not anything extreme on either side: the costs for a regular, normal life.
Have in mind that your actual 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 likely 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 owning 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 each category, scroll down to 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 generally speaking, Norway is not a cheap place when it comes to accommodation costs and the prices keep going up year after year.
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 if your situation allows it.
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 1,100 – 1,350 Euros
- for a 2-bedroom apartment: between 1,500 – 1,700 Euros
Generally speaking, Oslo has the highest cost of rent in Norway, so expect to pay some 50 to 100 Euros more here than in other cities.
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 do – usually heating and water) in the monthly rental costs.
Make sure to ask before renting, because knowing if you have these costs included in the rent is really important, as it can have a big impact over your monthly living expenses.
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 15GB of internet, unlimited calls and texts)
Internet: Around 50 Euros per month for a decent, 100 Mbps connection.
Norway: Food Costs
These costs are the most difficult to estimate, in my opinion. Food is expensive in Norway, but 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. So depending on your eating habits, your allocated budget for food in Norway will vary.
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
As I said, it’s difficult to estimate the actual monthly costs. But I have to – because this is the point of this article. I will consider that you won’t always eat out, but will go out at least once or maybe twice a week.
This means that you should expect to pay anything between 400 – 475 Euros per month for food in Norway.
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 isn’t a must.
During our stay here, we didn’t own a car and did everything using public transportation, biking and walking. It was a pleasant experience and even though a car does bring some comfort, we never really missed one.
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.
But all in all, I would say that most people shouldn’t really worry about owning a car: you can definitely live a good life without one and the cost savings are huge!
Estimated monthly costs in Norway
The cost of living in Norway will vary a bit from person to person, based on their habits and expectations. If you like to eat out and party a lot, the expenses can skyrocket pretty fast.
Having in mind that a beer here can cost as much as 10 Euros a bottle, and eating out is equally expensive, the more you will do it, the higher the cost of living will be.
I am basing my calculations and estimates 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.
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 – the more you have for it, the better
Rent & Utilities (internet & TV included): 1,500 Euros / month
Food & Eating out: 475 Euros / month
Other expenses: 450 Euros / month
TOTAL: 2,425 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 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 anything between 500 to 1,000 Euros off your monthly bills from the reduced rent alone.
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 1,000 Euros more, bringing the total cost of living per person at around 1,700 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.
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!