Cost of Living in Stockholm

It’s pretty obvious that Stockholm is an expensive city. It’s the capital, the largest city in the country and the nordic region, and the “capital of Scandinavia.”

View over Slussen

But if you, like 24% of Swedes live in Stockholm county, you’re in for some serious spending and judicious savings.

I thought I would break down my cost per month, which maybe helpful for those moving to the city for their Swedish dream. Even moving from Göteborg or a small town would mean a big sticker shock. Since I live with someone (thus saving on the fixed costs), I marked our joint total expenses with an **.

  • Apartment rental per month: 9500** (YMWV from 7000-15000 a month on Stockholm rentals)
  • Gas, & electricity per month: 300-600**
  • Cable internet: 300**
  • SL monthly ticket: 690
  • Food: 4000**
  • Total – 15000 for two people, 7500SEK for one person, per month

Variable costs:

  • After work (AW) Beer: 60 kronor per beer; 80-120 kronor for a 4cl mixed drink
  • Outside lunch: 70-130 kronor per lunch
  • Health: 0-200 depending on the need for doctor’s visitors, medicine, etc
  • Clubbing: 120-150SEK entrance fee plus drinks which can vary from 60 kronor for a beer to 150 kronor for a mixed drink
  • Dinner: 250 kronor for entrée and one drink
  • SATS gym membership: 550 includes gym and unlimited entry to classes
  • Shopping: 0-?
  • System Bolaget: 700** for booze shopping of beer and wine; spirits will add 200SEK per 70ml bottle (at minimum)

Even though I can be a cheap bastard, I eat out one or two times a week just because cooking every night of the week is impossible. I do not club anymore since I hate going out in Stockholm so I ‘save’ a lot there. SATS gym club is a whooping 550SEK a month but the gyms tend to be really nice and not as crowded as Friskis & Svettis, which is cheaper.  If you’re working, you should be getting a health reimbursement of 2000-4000SEK annually. This can help offset gym memberships, massages (for real!), swimming hall, and sports/yoga classes.

Last, I eat dinner out two to three times a month with friends and spend at least 400 kronor for myself.   If I buy anything like socks and underwear or a book, that adds another 500-1000 kronor.   Sadly, there’s no bunny to shop for.

And the dreaded loans.  I have student loans that amount to 2000 kronor per month. Your mileage may vary on this greatly.

With the variable costs, I spend 4910 (160+550+1200+1000+ 2000) on the mid-high end.   At lowest amount, I spend 4000SEK and adding in shoes or gift shopping, the cost per month jumps to 6000 kronor.

In all, my costs are:
7500 on fixed costs
+ 4910 on variable costs
= 12410 Total kronor per month

Now, let’s factor in that you make 20000SEK after taxes in Stockholm, a solid, average salary. At a savings rate of 12% of your disposable income, at minimum you should save 2400 SEK a month. In reality, it’s good to prepare for a rainy day or a trip you have planned; save more.

Accounting for post tax salary and costs per month, I’m left with 7590 kronor, more than enough to save and take an awesome trip later on.

Yes, it costs a lot of month to live in Stockholm, but there’s no reason for you to be one of the broke-on-the-24th-of-the-month people.

14 thoughts on “Cost of Living in Stockholm”

  1. Wow. I’d say those are pretty conservative numbers.

    Myself, this is how I break down for a month

    – Rent: 11,000kr
    – Internet: 400kr
    – Mobile: 200kr
    – Gym: 600kr
    – Groceries: 3,000kr
    – SL Card: 650kr
    – Savings: 2,000kr
    TOTAL: 17,850kr

    Now let’s add in some extras for a month:

    – Outside Lunchs: 500kr
    – Dinners Out: 1,500kr
    – Systembolaget: 1,000kr
    – Bars/Concerts: 3,000kr
    TOTAL: 6,000kr

    GRAND TOTAL: 23,850

    Even by myself, as a single male living in DT Stockholm, I’m paying an insane amount each month to survive and live a decent life. I’m definitely not as social as some of my friends. I could cut back more, but I don’t want to sacrifice having a social life on the weekends, as since most Swedes only get social drinking at the bars.

    Now if I bought a car… the numbers only get worse!

  2. I have a couple of questions in case anyone would care to reply:

    Is SEK20k after tax realistic these days? Or is that a conservative quote for padding?

    It’s nice that that you can put away some money for a rainy day, but what about saving for retirment? Are you satisfied that Pensionsmyndigheten will be enough?

    Also, what does old age look like (>65yrs old) in Stockholm? Living in a small apt in the suburbs? Maybe a bussresa here and there?

    Will anyone own there houses/appartments outright?

    In the US, most people will need > $1.5mm to be able to retire at 65 (not including social security), you should probably have $500k or more in a 401k or IRA by the time you’re 40-45 or the amount you have to save in your 50s will be very high. This assumes a lifestyle at 60-70% of your previous income for age 65-85.

    Just curious how people living in Stockholm view retirement planning, it seems to me that they are not concerned (maybe they don’t need to be).

  3. Is SEK20k after tax realistic these days? Or is that a conservative quote for padding? – That’s the average. I know plenty of people who make far more.

    It’s nice that that you can put away some money for a rainy day, but what about saving for retirment? Are you satisfied that Pensionsmyndigheten will be enough? – I save for retirement, not sure about the rest of the Swedes.

    Will anyone own there houses/appartments outright? – I doubt people in American own their house outright in the first years. Considering the average house is 200,000 and in major markets near 500,000, I have yet to meet a person that had $500K in their bank account.

    This post is more about living in Stockholm rather than retiring in Stockholm, two very different things.

    I sure as hell don’t plan on retiring in this city.

    @Andrew – I forgot to include mobile costs, 300SEK a month. Yes, this is a bit conservative but I don’t go out very often either. I’m adding in a buffer though to bring the costs up a bit.

  4. Increasing prices in Stockholm:
    SL-kortets pris höjs med 100 kronor. I dag kostar det 690 kronor, men från och med 1 september kommer det kosta 790.
    –> SL monthly card pass will increase by 100 kronor to be 790SEK from September 1st, 2011.

    Avgiften för läkarbesök på vårdcentral höjs med 50 kronor från 150 till 200 kronor.
    –> Doctor visits will increase 50 kronor to 200 kronor.

    Mammografi och screening av bråck på kroppspulsådern blir gratis. I dag kostar det 140 kronor.
    –> Mammography screening will be free instead of 140 kronor that it costs today.

  5. Meanwhile in Småland

    Income: ~6600:- (unemployed)
    Rent: 2200:- (small one room apartment)
    Food: 1600:-
    Electricity: 140:-
    Bus card: 880:-
    Internet: 220:-
    Phone: 90:-
    Various expenses: 500:-
    Health, clubbing and dinner: unknown, don’t use them
    Saving: 1000:-

    Yet another reason not to live in Stockholm. :)

  6. Nothing wrong with living in Stockholm, it’s not for everyone though. I know I love it, regardless of the cost.

  7. I don’t blame you. Just trying to show that you don’t necessarily need to earn 20000:- or more + tax to live in this relatively expensive country.

    And yes, not for everyone. If I had the money I’d pay as much as you do to not live in Stockholm. :)

  8. Hi,

    I realize i’m little bit late, but is there anyone who could help me with renting a flat: for example: what are the best agencies, or how long do I have to wait and etc?

    TNX very much

  9. Hey Daniel, you want to rent an apartment not buy right?

    There’s which is free to use and is a swedish version of craigslist. charges you $100 and maybe worth it. Check out my other post and perhaps you can find someone to split the cost.

    I would buffer in 1-2 months to find a place and be on top of checking ads on blocket. Call within 5-10 minutes of the ad posting and you will have a good chance of getting a place.

  10. Hi

    I may be moving to Stockholm soon from Tokyo, and need to start negotiating a salary. I wont have an ex pat deal so I need to make sure I have a decent amount of money to live on.
    I have been living in Tokyo for about 10 years now and each month I take away about 480,000yen after taxes to pay for rent, and other living expense. From that amount I can save about 100,000 yen each month.
    I would like to be on a similar level if not better, and would like to live in a 1LDK – 2LDK apartment. I am a single male. I plan to stay in Stockholm for 2 years or so, which means I will be renting, not buying.
    I know taxes are high so I want to make sure I have a clear overview before money negotiation.
    All advice are much appreciated!

  11. Hi. I’m an exchange student and I’m going to Stockholm at the beginning of 2012. I’ve found out that I can rent a room even for 400 euro. All of the sums you post are pretty high and I don’t plan to live large and spend money on gym or concerts. If you could tell me how much does non-posh groceries cost monthly I’d be very grateful. I have friends in Marsta- woould it be cheaper to buy food there than in the centre of Stockholm? Also, is SL monthly ticket work for buses, trams and trains or only one of those? And do you know if there are any student discounts for those? I’d appreciate every answer, thank you very much! :)

  12. hej…
    i ‘ll be back to Stockholm for stay more than 5 years. I visit many times in past the city and the last is Sept 2010. I live to town from 1994 to 1997 but is old story this.
    Now because i want to rest to my favorite city (i’m Greek man) i sell everything and i hope that i have about 60-80.000 euro. I have also a monthly income 1.500 euro so i make some test to cost in Stockholm.
    Prices to big Super Markets (INCA, Konsum, etc) is about 150 euro for one person for have a good food programm and cook in my house (appartment). That programm have chicken, fish, spaggeti, fruits, eggs, milk, bread, etc for 3 normal meal…
    Mobile phone with prepaid card is 0,09 euro for 1 min so i think 30-50 euro is ok for talking with my loved persons normally
    Monthly card for all transports (t-bana, bus, etc, no taxi) is about 790SEK (82 euro) from Sept 2011.
    I found ads for rent appartment with private kitchen and bathroom NOT SHARED from 3200 to 6000 SEK (so is 330-620 euro) depand from the city area (for example Gamla Stan or Kungsholmen is more expensive, Broma is beautiful) and some have inside the price all the facilities like furniture, gas, heating, garbage, water and the 50% have also tv and broadband. Must search carefully and not in time that student come in the city. I talk only for 1 bedroom and area of appartment about 20-40 m2
    So all the expences is about 280 + rent (500 euro) = 780 euro very very large
    I add 220 euro for insurance (if i need, i think is not required) so all come to 1000 euro for one person (1 euro = 9,61 Kr today)
    if you have in bank 500 euro per motnh in 1 year is 6.000 euro and about (2-2,9%) interest 120-150 euro. Also with a deposit 20-30.000 euro in some bank of Sweden you win 600 euro (after the taxes) so this is a travel back to my country once per year…!!!

    I think that if anyone try can live in Stockholm…Must be ok with himself and without expensive dreams. The city give other things and other life that any other country.
    I just thing that is the same level as Edinburgh (second favorite city of my life) but a little more complete…

    Only one thing i don’t know…If you have income from another country and deposit in Sweden bank you pay taxes but must make tax returns? The same if you rent some appartment?
    Is the only query’s that i can have answer till now…

    Hope from June 2012 stay for the next 5-6 years in the city, i want to be Swedish citizen !!!

  13. hey guys come and live in Mongolia ! You guys will wonder to see the all costs of living expenses. Its like a round 500$ you will pay to everything. Sounds like crazy hun?

  14. The same life cost in Hungary/Budapest. 1 person alone(myself in the example)

    income: 2400kr
    Rent: 1200:- (small one room apartment)
    Food: 600:-
    Electricity: 240:-
    Gas: 360:-
    Bus card: 300:-
    Internet/tv/phone: 440:-
    Various expenses:
    Health, clubbing and dinner: unknown, don’t use them
    Total: 3140:-
    Saving: -740kr/month

    No gym/social life/concerts/cinema or any other extra spendings. Dont have a car.

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