Although Sweden is considered somewhat expensive, your cost of living will in many ways depend on your individual lifestyle. A number of commodities are more costly than the European mean, while others might be cheaper. However, by planning a monthly budget most newcomers find it easy to adjust.
Accommodation in Gothenburg
The cost of accommodation can vary widely throughout Gothenburg. A good way to find housing with a lower rent is being flexible regarding the location and the type of accommodation you are looking for. Kitchens are almost always furnished (with kitchen appliances like fridge, freezer, and stove), but electricity and internet are not normally included in the rent.
The company that is responsible for public transport services in and around Gothenburg is called Västtrafik. A monthly Västtrafik pass costs SEK 815. With the pass, you can travel by bus, tram, and ferry within the city limits. There are also affordable passes available if you live outside of Gothenburg and are commuting.
If you are a student (or under 20 years old), a monthly pass for public transportation within Gothenburg costs SEK 610 (815 SEK full price).
Gothenburg is a bicycle-friendly city. Riding a bicycle will not only save money but, in some cases, get you faster from one place to another. If you do not want to buy a bicycle, Styr & Ställ is a service which lets you subscribe to bicycles. With a subscription you can borrow bicycles that are placed around the city for a small fee.
Dining out at restaurants can be somewhat expensive in Sweden. Lunch at a campus restaurant, café, or lunch place can cost SEK 65–115. Dinner starts at about SEK 130, not including drinks. At most restaurants and bars, an inexpensive beer or glass of wine will cost about SEK 60.
If you are a student, many cafés and restaurants offer a student discount, and prices can be significantly lower at events arranged by student unions.
A common practice in Sweden, regardless of whether you work or are a student, is bringing your own boxed lunch from home, as this is a good way to save some money. Almost every break room has at least a couple of microwave ovens available for reheating food.
Being a new consumer in Sweden
Online shopping, signing agreements, and paying bills can be tricky in a new country. "Hallå konsument" is a national service with information in many languages about rights and obligations as a consumer in Sweden.
In many ways, Gothenburg is at the forefront of sustainable consumption and effective use of resources. In the last decade, a huge number of second hand boutiques and initiatives based in lending, borrowing, and giving things have sprung up throughout the city landscape.
One of the many tools resulting from the convergence of innovation and circular economy is Smarta kartan, or the smart map. This interactive map shows a steadily increasing number of places in the city where you can get, rent, borrow, or give things or services.
If you are coming to Gothenburg to study and want to calculate your approximate monthly living expenses, here is a guide to help you. Please note that this is an estimate, not an exact number for all students in Gothenburg or Sweden.
When you are a student, it is important to keep a close eye on your monthly expenses. The following estimate can hopefully prove useful and help you get an idea about what you can expect.
This will most likely be your biggest expense. The cost of rent can vary a lot and generally, the more central an apartment or a room is, the pricier it will be. Renting a fully furnished or unfurnished accommodation can also influence the rent. The following estimate can hopefully prove useful and help you get an idea about what you can expect:
student housing, single household 4000-7000 SEK
student housing and private accommodation, small apartments 6000-10 000 SEK
Telephone and internet
The charge for telephone service and internet can vary greatly but count on a monthly cost of at least SEK 300. Usually when you rent an apartment in Sweden, internet access is not included.
Monthly food expenses will naturally depend a lot on how often you eat out, how often you cook your own meals, and so on. Around SEK 3000–4000 would not be unreasonable. The lower estimate assumes you do most of the cooking yourself. Read more under the heading “Dining out and food” above.
A monthly pass for public transportation within Gothenburg costs SEK 610 for students. With the pass, you can travel by bus, tram and ferry within the city limits. Read more under the heading “Transportation” above.
Course literature is, of course, not something you buy every month, but spread out over a year it is not unreasonable to budget for SEK 500 per month. A good suggestion to reduce your costs on course literature is to borrow the books you need from one of the University’s libraries whenever possible.
Clothing, leisure, insurance, care and any other expenses
This cost can differ but expect it to total at least SEK 2,000.
This brings you monthly total to roughly SEK 10,000–14,000, but do not forget that this is only an estimation.
Move to Gothenburg has developed a tool that will help you understand your possible cost of living in Sweden. The costs benefit calculator will give you an estimate based on your profession and family situation, calculate daily living costs and showcase your disposable income and benefits.
NB:The calculator is intended for PhD students and people with employment (monthly salary) in Sweden. It is not intended to calculate a student budget.