Cost Of Living In Stockholm

What’s the cost of living in Stockholm? A complete guide

Sweden’s capital city is a fantastic place to live with a high quality of life; it’s a peaceful mix of urban and nature, old and new. It’s not the cheapest place to live, though – so read on for the definitive guide to the cost of living in Stockholm.

Are you about to move to Stockholm? Congratulations — you’re in for quite the adventure! You’ll also have a public transport system that makes getting around easy, plus excellent healthcare and straightforward access to the rest of Scandinavia.

While Scandinavia’s largest city offers an enjoyable living experience once you’ve settled down, the early phases can be difficult. You’ll need to deal with a notoriously tough housing market and various expenses that you might not have expected.

Moreover, you’ll probably need to alter your lifestyle a little.

If you’re not sure whether your salary will cover you in Stockholm (hint: it probably will), we’re here to help. In this guide, you’ll discover a complete overview of whether the city is really such an expensive place – including rental prices, food costs, and more.

How much does it cost to live in Stockholm as a whole?

Once you’ve got your residence permit, which differs depending on whether you’re from the EEA countries and Switzerland or elsewhere, you’re ready to learn about how much you should consider budgeting for monthly costs in Stockholm.

According to Nomadlist, you can expect your monthly expenses to total $2,285 as an expat. The cost of living for a local is $1,400 per month, and much of that price difference will likely include accommodation prices (it’s *much* easier to find somewhere if you’ve got a network).

If you look at Numbeo, the prices differ slightly. Without rent, the average cost of living for you will amount to roughly $969 per month.

In Stockholm, the cost of living will probably depend largely on your lifestyle choices. If you go out and drink every weekend, or you frequently visit restaurants, you can expect to pay much more than you otherwise would.

Of course, you’ll also need to keep Sweden’s high taxes in mind. The percentage varies between 29.08% and 35% in the country for local tax; if you earn over 540,700 Swedish Kronor ($55,383.31) per year, you’ll also need to pay an additional 20% in state tax.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

The cost of accommodation in Stockholm

Like in many major cities, accommodation will probably eat up the largest chunk of your monthly expenses. Renting is popular in Stockholm, but you might find that buying an apartment costs you less.

Below, we’ll talk about how much you can expect to pay for accommodation in Stockholm.

Rental prices in Stockholm

Once you’ve obtained your work permit, you’re ready to tackle the beast that is Stockholm’s rental apartment market. Your monthly rent will depend largely on where you live; the closer to the city center you are, the larger your costs will be.

If you want to rent a one-room apartment in the main parts of the city, Numbeo reports that the average rent in Stockholm is 14,611.62 SEK (just under $1,500) per month. Your costs should be slightly lower for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center at 10,282.61 SEK ($1,053.14) monthly.

As a single person moving to the Swedish capital, you can save money by moving into a shared apartment.

If you’re moving to Stockholm with a family, you’ll probably want a little more space. The average monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment in central Stockholm is 24,166.67 SEK (just over $2,470); outside the center is 16,868.42 SEK ($1,725.90).

Stockholm apartment prices: is it cheaper to buy an apartment than rent?

As you can see, renting an apartment in Stockholm isn’t budget-friendly. But even worse than that is the market itself, which is — to say things diplomatically — a mess. You will probably have a difficult time finding a place to live, and you might have to deal with short-term rental contracts for a while.

The good thing, however, is that buying an apartment of your own isn’t too complicated in terms of paperwork. Sweden allows foreigners to buy property in the country, even if they aren’t permanent residents.

So, what are Stockholm apartment prices like if you’re looking to buy?

If we look at the same Numbeo report already mentioned in this article, buying an apartment in the center of Sweden’s largest city costs 113,124.71 SEK ($11,587) per month per square meter. Outside of the city center, you can expect to pay 64,233.59 ($6,579) for each square meter.

Buying an apartment is a better option if you’ve already got the money and plan to stay in Stockholm for the long term. You might also want to make the purchase if you’re staying short-term, but you feel like it has a good sell-on value.

Utility prices in Stockholm

Some apartment rental contracts include utility prices as part of your rent, but this isn’t universal. In many cases, you’ll need to pay for water, gas, electricity, and Wi-Fi on top of your monthly apartment rent.

Average energy prices for an 85 square meter apartment, which includes things like electricity, heating, and water, costs 822.62 SEK (c.$82) per month. Considering that it’s both very cold and dark from November to early March, your costs are probably going to be higher in the winter than in the summer.

For an internet subscription, you can expect to pay an average of ($36.59) per month. Sweden has a good variety of network providers.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

What is the cost of food in Stockholm?

Besides accommodation, groceries will probably account for the second-largest percentage of your monthly cost of living in Stockholm. Sweden has a broad range of supermarkets, and the selection of food is much better than in pretty much all of the other Nordic countries.

Upon entering a Swedish supermarket, you’ll quickly notice that meat prices are quite high. Fortunately, the quality is also very good; Sweden has strict animal welfare regulations.

For a kilogram of filet chicken breasts, you’ll pay 108.29 SEK (c.$11). Meanwhile, 12 eggs cost 33.14 SEK ($3.39) on average. As for beef, you’ll typically pay 191.54 SEK ($19.60).

Other average grocery prices to keep in mind are:

  • 1 liter of milk: 11.76 SEK ($1.20)
  • A 500g loaf of white bread: 26.40 SEK ($2.70)
  • 1 kilogram of white rice: 27.62 SEK ($2.82)

If you’re looking for discount groceries, Lidl is a good option. ICA is a popular chain throughout the country, and prices are reasonable; Hemköp is pretty expensive, but you have an excellent selection to choose from.

How much is a beer in Stockholm?

The stereotype about Swedish people being pretty reserved when you meet them is somewhat true. However, many lose that outer shell after a couple of beers. So, what are beer prices in Stockholm like?

Going out in Stockholm sometimes means that you have to deal with pretty irritating bouncers, but it’s also a good way to meet the locals, and the nightlife scene is pretty good on weekends. Most locals drink before going out, and you’re about to find out why.

Sweden’s government regulates alcohol and slaps a heavy tax on alcohol purchases, which makes the beer prices quite high — especially in the inner city of Stockholm.

A 50cl glass of Swedish draught beer at a restaurant costs 70 SEK on average, which is roughly $7.16. You’ll pay roughly the same for a 33cl bottle of imported beer.

Comparatively, a 0.5 liter bottle of domestic beer costs around 19.36 SEK ($1.98) from a market. A 33cl bottle of foreign beer will set you back around 22.37 SEK ($2.28).

If you want to buy beer outside of a pub, bar, or nightclub, you’ll typically need to go to one of Stockholm’s many Systembolaget stores. Here, you can purchase a wide selection of booze from around the world.

You can also buy hard liquor and wines from Systembolaget. Remember that opening hours vary, and they close early on Saturdays and certain holidays.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

How expensive is transportation in Stockholm?

If you’re used to driving, you’ll probably find Stockholm a breath of fresh air — both figuratively and literally. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere (though we certainly wouldn’t blame you for picking a cabin next to a lake), you’re unlikely to need a car.

The Swedish capital’s public transport network is excellent and reaches almost every corner of Stockholm’s suburbs.

You can access buses, ferries, the metro, and commuter trains from a single ticket — and you’re able to use a combination in one trip (as long as you travel in the opposite direction of where you started).

The cost of transport in Stockholm is reasonable, and it runs from 5am to 1am on weekdays (weekends are different). Single tickets cost 39 SEK ($3.99), and tickets are valid for an hour and 15 minutes.

Since you’re staying in Sweden’s largest city for longer, you’ll probably want to get an SL card — which costs 20 SEK and is reloadable. Alternatively, you can use the SL smartphone app. Getting an SL card also gives you discounts for single trips (the price is 26 SEK), making the cost of transport in Stockholm lower.

If you want to buy longer-term transport passes, you can get a 30-day pass for 970 SEK ($99.34), a 90-day ticket for 2,810 SEK ($287.81), and a 365-day ticket for 10,190 SEK (1,043.74).

To buy a single ticket, you can also tap your contactless card — just like you would do on the London Underground. However, you might have issues if you use a foreign bank card — so it’s best to wait until you’ve set up a Swedish bank account.

Once you’ve bought a public transport pass, you can use all forms of transport within Stockholm. However, additional fares will apply if you travel to Arlanda Airport and Uppsala on the pendeltåg (commuter train).

If you’re thinking about trying your luck by fare-dodging, all we can say is a) we don’t recommend it and b) good luck — you’re going to need it. Most stations have personnel, and ticket inspectors operate throughout the network.

The fine for not buying a ticket is not worth it. You’ll have to pay 1,500 SEK ($153.93) plus a single ticket as an extra insult to injury.

Sweden is very child-friendly, and you can see that in its policy toward people with strollers. If you have one, you can ride on buses in the city for free. You can also get discounted tickets for senior citizens and those aged below 20. The same goes for if you’re a student.

The cost of healthcare in Stockholm

As you’ve probably gathered by now, living expenses in Stockholm are higher than in many big cities. However, we’ve got some good news for you: those high taxes aren’t in vain. Sweden has an excellent healthcare system that is universal.

However, unlike in Denmark, healthcare in Sweden is not entirely free. Nonetheless, costs are pretty low; you shouldn’t pay more than 300 SEK for a doctor’s visit, and most of the time, you’ll pay less than that.

One nice thing about living in Sweden is that healthcare costs are capped. You can only pay 1,100 SEK within 12 months, but this policy doesn’t cover aspects like prices for daily hospital stays. Prescription drugs also aren’t covered, and they’re pretty expensive.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

How much does a gym membership cost in Stockholm?

After arriving in Stockholm, you’ll quickly notice that the locals are in very good shape. Keeping active is an important part of many Swedes’ lifestyle, and the capital has several gym chains for you to pump some iron or go for a jog when it’s too cold outside.

Prices for gyms vary depending on where you go. The best chain in Stockholm is SATS, and prices range from 209 SEK (c.$21) per month upwards; the cost of your membership will depend on whether you choose all hours or just off-peak ones along with your center.

SATS also has gyms in Norway and Denmark; it’s known as ELIXIA in Finland.

If you plan to travel across the Nordics regularly, you can purchase a membership that gives you access to every gym throughout the region.

Nordic Wellness is another popular gym chain in Sweden, and you’ll find numerous centers in Stockholm. You can buy a single-club membership for 349 SEK per month and one that covers every gym in Sweden for 449 SEK.

You can also purchase annual memberships if you’d rather pay upfront.

Fitness24Seven is another gym chain with several training centers in the Nordic region. Prices start at 269 SEK per month.

You can find several other gym chains in the Stockholm area. Note that to sign up for a gym in Sweden, you’ll typically need to obtain your personnummer first.

The cost of going out for food in Stockholm

While Stockholm has plenty of things to do for free, treating yourself once in a while is a good idea. The city has several interesting places to dine in, ranging from standard Swedish cuisine to foods from all over the world.

The average price of a meal out in Stockholm will depend on where you go. In a standard restaurant, your meal will probably cost you between 120 SEK and 200 SEK ($12.25-$20.42). If you go somewhere fancier, you’ll pay 250 SEK and upwards ($25.53+).

How much does cinema and theater cost in Stockholm?

The Swedes are cultured, and you can see this in Stockholm’s vibrant music and museum scenes. Throughout the city, you’ll also find various museums and theaters.

According to Numbeo, the cinema ticket price for an international film release costs you 150 SEK (just over $15) on average. If you want to watch a play at the Royal Swedish Opera, you can pay 240-1,650 SEK for a seat with a view; listening-only ones cost less.

Prices will vary depending on the day of the week you choose.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

Café prices in Stockholm

If you work with a Swedish employer, you’ll quickly notice that coffee is a big deal among your colleagues — ditto for cinnamon buns. Fika is, apart from “Lagom” (everything in equal amounts), perhaps the most important word in the Swedish dictionary for foreigners to learn.

Stockholm has several fantastic cafés, and you could easily keep yourself occupied for a year or two trying them all.

If you’re interested in grabbing a coffee in the capital, expect to pay around 25 SEK (c.$2.55) for one. Cinnamon buns cost in the region of 25 and 28 SEK ($2.55 – 2.86), with fancier bakeries and cafés priced a little higher.

Mobile tariff costs in Stockholm

If you’re staying in Stockholm for more than a couple of months, you’ll want to get yourself a Swedish SIM card. Like much of the Nordic region, mobile plans are pretty affordable in Sweden — and you’ve got a few options to choose from.

Telia is one of the most popular mobile network providers in Sweden, and 3GB of internet costs roughly 229 SEK (just over $23) per month. Meanwhile, a 4GB mobile subscription plan with Telenor costs 219 SEK ($22.40) monthly.

You can also use providers such as Sim Options, which are much cheaper but will still give you a good service.

If you have a Swedish SIM card, you can travel within the EU without incurring data charges in most cases. You might have to deal with limits; check with your provider before traveling.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

How can you save money living in Stockholm?

Now that we’ve covered the cost of living in Stockholm for several areas, we figured it would be good to offer tips on saving money during your time in the city. Below are a couple of tips to get you started.

Look outside of the city center if you want to rent or buy

You can reduce much of your stress finding accommodation in Stockholm by broadening your horizon a little. Everyone wants to live in districts like Södermalm and Östermalm, and not having a network will place you at a huge disadvantage.

Stockholm has several outer areas that are worth exploring for apartments.

Districts worth looking at include:

  • Solna
  • Sundbyberg
  • Svedmyra

Most places in Stockholm County are within 30 minutes of the city center. If you want something bigger, you can also find houses — many of which are not far away from stunning nature.

Exercise outdoors

Gyms in Stockholm aren’t particularly expensive, but you can chop a bit off your monthly expenses if you’re not overly fussed about weightlifting. The city has several outdoor gyms, which enable you to do calisthenics workouts for free.

Stockholm also has plenty of great running routes, along with plenty of cycling opportunities during the summer months.

Make eating at a restaurant a treat

If you’re from a culture where you eat out for most meals, you’ll need to alter your lifestyle to adjust to the cost of living in Stockholm. Most Swedes eat out as a treat or for a major occasion, and you should consider following in their footsteps.

Try to limit your dining to a few times per month. You can use your extra time eating at home as an opportunity to try various cool new recipes and have a bit of fun.

Think twice about international schools

International schools are useful if you’re moving to Stockholm with kids, but their fees are pricey. Sweden has a very good public school system; it’s an opportunity for your children to learn a new language and make friends with the locals.

Cost Of Living In Stockholm

The cost of living in Stockholm is high – but so is the quality of life

Once you’re settled, Scandinavia’s largest city is a great place to live — regardless of whether you’re coming here on your own or with someone else.

The cost of living in Stockholm is high, but you’ll get an even higher quality of life, and your monthly salary will probably offset the price.

If you ask us, that’s a pretty good trade-off.

Having read this guide, you should now have a good idea of how much your monthly fees will amount to during your time in Stockholm. As such, you’ve got plenty of information to base your budgets on and enjoy living without stressing about the financial side of things.

Money is only one factor when moving to a new country. Living in Sweden has plenty of pros and cons, and it’s worth learning about as many of them as possible before you move. Luckily for you, we’ve got an article outlining everything.

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