Monday, April 12, 2010

The cost of living in Sweden

When thinking about studying in Sweden, a very common question is: how much money do I need? Well, I have to say that, at least from my experience, living here it’s quite expensive. Still, since I think this is a very personal opinion, I believe it would be better to share some numbers with you. I took some numbers from the website but mostly I’m putting my comments.

Food: SEK 2000. I believe this is possible, but in my opinion it will actually be more expensive. Having lunch at Rullan, an on-campus restaurant in MIC, costs around SEK 80 and a regular meal at Burger King costs SEK 60. Of course cooking your own food is cheaper, but still you’ll find that 1 litter of milk costs SEK 10.90, 1 box of All Bran cereal costs 31.90 and 1 litter of juice costs around SEK 10. In my opinion the cost of food is at least SEK 3000.

Accomodation: SEK 3200. One thing that’s really nice about Sweden is that you’ll find a nice place to live for very little money. You can pay in less than SEK 3000 for a 19m2 room in Flogsta, with your own bathroom and shared kitchen. All services are included (Internet, water and electricity) and you don’t have to pay for July and August. If you’re renting an unfurnished room, don’t forget to check to get a pretty good idea about furniture prices. Still, you can find used furniture for half the price!

Local travel: SEK 500. This number is actually the maximum amount you’ll have to pay. If you buy a bike, like most of the students and Uppsala inhabitants, you will only have to pay for it and forget about public transportation. If you want to use the buses you’ll have to pay SEK 30 to the driver for a ticket that lasts 90 minutes. If you buy the ticket using your mobile phone (text message) you’ll only have to pay SEK 20. You can also buy a rechargeable card. You’ll have to pay a SEK 90 deposit (that you get back when you return the card) and you’ll pay only SEK 16 for each trip. All those tickets include all the busses you take on a 90 minutes period. Finally, you can buy a monthly card that will cost you SEK 500 each month and you can use the buses as much as you want!

Student Union Fee: SEK 400 – 600 each semester. There is no way around it. You can pick the cheapest one if you want and you’ll still be able to visit all nations.

Cinema: SEK 110 – 130. You can find cheaper tickets during the weekdays using the student discount.

Books: SEK 500 – 1000. Buying used books it’s always cheaper and not all courses require you to buy a book.

Train trip from Arlanda Airport: SEK 130. The bus costs SEK 100 but the trip is a little bit longer.

Everything else depends on you. I would like to add that here alcoholic drinks are pretty expensive too. If you’re interested in some other expenses in particular just let me know about it!


  1. I disagree on food, you can actually get as low as ~1000SEK if you cook all your food and do not eat out, which IS expensive.

    But then you need to learn how to shop effectively and look out for promotions.

    Student Union fee is non-mandatory since coming July.

    Correction: free months in Flogsta are July and June, not August.

    If you plan to travel a lot via arlanda you can buy 10 rides for 660 SEK, which is a real bargain.

  2. Hello Vasilij!

    Thank you for you comment, I believe everyone will find very useful a different point of view.

    I really wouldn't know if you can spend only 1000 SEK a month on food, but certainty it will require very smart shopping. It's also want to add that I'm talking about having a healthy diet. Eating just sandwiches and cheap frozen pizza is probably very cheap but not healthy at all. Nevertheless, food in Sweden is more expensive than in most countries and that's why I wanted to point out prices like cheap restaurants and Subway or Burger King: I'm not recommending to eat there, BUT I believe that comparing those prices to the prices of those same restaurants in other countries you can get a good idea about how much more expensive things might be in here.

    It's good to know that Student Union won't be mandatory! I didn't know that.

    Thank you again for sharing all that information here! :-)

  3. So nice, thank full to post valuable information, you done your best.
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  4. Hello!

    Thank you for this blog!! It's great!!

    I would like to ask you a few questions about moving in to Upssala, what is the best way to contact you? By e-mil? By blog comment?

    Thank you!
    porto, PORTUGAL

  5. Hello Rita!

    I'm glad you liked the blog! :-)

    If you want to contact me you can always do it with a blog comment. Nevertheless, I'm guessing you might have a lot of questions so you can use my email instead.

    Have a nice day!

  6. and you can also contact me on twitter!

  7. hi
    I am an int student (2010). How can I get a room in Flogsta? do i need to wait in a queue?

  8. Hi! You should read this post:

    If you have any more questions just ask :-)

  9. Dear Andry,

    I have a big doubt. Please reply me as soon as possible when you are free.

    I am Arunraj Dhamodaran from India. I got admitted to Uppsala University. After 3 months I and my friends got a big flat for 15000 SEK/Month. Fully Furnished present in Auroragatan 1, Uppsala. We 7(boys) are going to stay in it. We are going to share the rent. But now my question is,

    The landlord hasn't included Electricity, Water charges, Internet Broadband, District heating and Sewage Cleaning in the rent/Month.

    Now could you please sort it out and tell us, how much it would cost per month in SEK for Water, Electricity and District Heating?

    Please reply as soon as possible, So that we will sign the contract.

  10. Dear Vetri,

    I'm sorry to say that I don't have an answer. I know that you might pay around 30-50 SEK/Month (each). I really don't know about the other expenses because you don't have to pay them in the students' appartments. I do think the rent is reasonable and it's very close to the city centre.

    I wish you a great time in Uppsala!

  11. Hi guys.
    Has any of you who have been in Uppsala worked and studied? and if yes, did you speak swedish?


  12. Hello!

    I have to say that I've concentrated in my studies since I arrived to Uppsala and I haven't been working during that time. Anyway, I know some students have manage to find a part time job without speaking Swedish but it's really hard... You should start learning Swedish as soon as you arrived if you want to improve your chances!

    Anyway, finding a part time job is hard anyway (with or without speaking Swedish) because there are many students in Uppsala and few jobs available.

    Best regards,

  13. Hi!! I'll be moving to Uppsala for a semester for a study abroad program and I was wondering if I'll be able to get around and do ok in my classes even though I don't speak any swedish. Thank you :)

  14. Don't worry! You'll be perfectly fine. Almost every single Swedish speaks perfect English and the rest speaks enough in order to do understand you. It's always useful to know a little bit of Swedish like for reading some menus (most menus are in English too) or the news paper.

    Best regards,

  15. Just so you know, I don't speak Swedish either...

  16. Have you tried the WiFi Internet access at MAX Hamburgare?

  17. Thanks for this useful blog , I just have a question , me and my girl are planning to move to Stockholm by November, how easy is it to fetch a small flat for rent ? Are there realestate rental offices to do that maybe?

  18. Hi!
    I will be studying in Uppsala early next year for 1 semester. I'm trying to work out the housing options at the moment but am a bit confused... if you're able to help that would be great.

    I think it's easiest to find accomodation through the university housing office but don't want to be somewhere that is too noisy. I like places that are medium-sized and have lots of activities (sports, functions etc) but am not a fan of excessive alcohol consumption and people screaming...

    Also are there many greengrocer/health food shops in uppsala?

    All help appreciated :-) Thanks!

  19. Hi Andry,
    There is a possibility that I may move to Uppsala for PhD. However I have no idea what is the net salary for a PhD student. Besides, I am married and probably I can not bring my wife with me for a few months. I must send her probably around 6000 SEK per month to make her live in comfort in my native country. Is it possible for me to live with PhD salary minus 6000 SEK in Uppsala? By the way, I have to arrange a house in which I must live alone, what is the cost of a small house or room to stay in alone in Uppsala? If you can enlighten me about these subjects, I will owe you one :))
    By the way, super blog...

  20. Hej everyone!

    I'm sorry I haven't been writing lately (I'll write a new post about it). As for all your questions goes, here are my answers:

    @bluegnu: I haven't try their WIFI. Is it any good? You can find non-free WIFI in a lot of places too, but of course it's not the same. You can find Internet in most of the nations and university buildings.

    @Sherif: yes, there are real state offices and stuff like that to help you find a flat... Sadly it's anything but easy to find a place to live in Sweden. Start looking as soon as you can and don't be too picky. Most places have a really high standard.

    Finding student apartments (which are a lot cheaper and can be of any size) is hard, and finding regular apartments is not easy either. I tried to move from a very small apartment to a bigger one in Uppsala and I spent many months trying to get student apartments on EVERY SINGLE website and NOTHING! I realize at some point that I had very little queue days and I just gave up. A friend tried to get a regular apartment and I have to say she and her boyfriend ended up buying one.

    @Anonymous: I'm not sure about the net salary for a PhD student (but I would love to!) but I think you will be fine :-D For a small room you can pay around 3000 SEK more or less and I don't think you'll be able to save extra money but I do think you can send that money to your wife. I've heard the PhD salary is pretty good!

  21. Hello Alfie!

    I regret to say that there is no University Housing Office in Uppsala. You have to find a place to leave by yourself. Furthermore, it is really hard to find a place to live! I think you must be an exchange student and the university might be offering you a room and in that case I would say: TAKE IT!

    Flogsta is an area with many many international students and it's a very nice place to live. Most places are really quiet because people in Sweden is very polite and respectful and it starts by not being not making too much noise.

    About the food I can say that Swedish food is very healthy and you can find healthy food everywhere :-)

  22. This is all really great information. I am looking forward to attending Uppsala and, like most students, the costs associated with school (apart from tuition/fees) are a major concern for me. Any advice for an international student from the US?

  23. Hi!

    What kind of advice do you need? Like the tuition costs, scholarships, tips... I would like to help, but I don't know what you need.

    Let me know!

  24. Hi Andry! I'm nicolas from Italy.
    I'm living in London now, but would like to relocate in sweden to study at uni.

    I have some questions about sweden. Hope you can help me!

    I'm a musician, and i would like to study arts or music..I also would like to live in a small city, not stockholm for example..
    An important city, lot's of swedish, artistic and cultural centre.
    In which city can i find this? forget the north..

    Another question.
    As an eu resident, do i have to pay tuition fees?
    Does the course has to be in swedish? (i speak just a little..) Can i study in english?
    If i go there, will the uni accept me if i'm not a swedish speaker?

    I have many questions, hope you can give me some advise.

    Thanks very much, Nico

  25. Ciao Nico!

    I can tell you that Uppsala is a lovely city. It is quite small and you can always here/see cultural events, specially musical ones. Also, it is quite close to Stockholm where, of course, you can find a lot more activities of the sort. I guess you can look for the programs you like and then read/ask more about those specific cities.

    Luckily for you, since you're Italian you don't have to pay tuition fees. There are also many programs taught in English and since most programs are quite flexible maybe you can take a couple of courses taught in Swedish (but I really don't know for sure...). On the other hand, if you want to study a program taught in Swedish you will require proof of your Swedish knowledge so I guess a little won't be enough...

    If you have more questions don't hesitate to ask!

    Andry :-)

    1. Hi everybody,good day, Andry,and everyone, i am going to Uppsala in feb-2013 in cardiac medicine, i am native from Pakistan but graduated as M.B.B.S.from China,please, would you inform me about part time job ? is it easier to get some good part time job for a medical student ? and is it possible for a medical student to get some job in some hospital/private practitioner associate or assistant ? i have heard it is too hard to survive their, if you wanna study, anybody can guide me and send me mail on I'll be really grateful to you guys............. Thanks.

    2. Hi!

      I don't think it's easy to find a job in Sweden without speaking the language. This is a fact that is not exclusive to Sweden, and I actually think it's more feasible to find a job in Sweden without speaking the local language than in most countries. Moreover, I guess medicine is a field where you should really be able to communicate with patients, being able to read labels and stuff... I mean, most of the time (if not all), when I buy even the most basic allergy medicine I have to ask someone to translate or use google translate because it's definitely out of my really basic Swedish proficiency. Anyway, none of these means it's completely impossible for you to find a job in a hospital or somewhere! It just means that you'll need to be such a strong candidate for the job that they can overlook all the extra help you'll need. I also don't know if it is legal... I mean, I have friends who studied medicine and I know that when they went to study in other countries they could not practice because it's not legal and you need to take a test first (then again it might not be the case in Sweden).

      I would recommend you to start applying as soon as possible and not to move here thinking that you'll be able to find a job soon after you arrived unless you're quite lucky!

      I wish you have a great time in Uppsala and that you're able to find a job! And please, if anyone has more information about this topic please share it!

  26. Thanks very much Andry!
    It is great that there's nice people like you!
    I'll do some more research, and continue with more questions.

    In the meantime..

    I'll search for courses in Uppsala and other towns..

    When you say it's free for EU citizens. That's great! So..

    What is that amount you have to pay in

    Do you know when is the next term? I need to achieve a good IELTS result, so i can't apply for this term..besides the deadline is in 2 weeks time..

    Undergraduate course are thought in English?
    Because i need to start from the beginning.

    Thanks again!
    Cheers, Nico

  27. Hi Nico!

    I think that as a EU citizen you don't have to pay anything in

    Next year will start in September and I think the application process is about to close. Most (if not all) programs start in September only.

    I know that in Uppsala there are only master programs taught in English and all the undergrad programs are taught in Swedish... Maybe you'll find some English programs in another University... You could also go to Sweden and study Swedish first...

    Best regards and Good luck! :-)


  28. Hi Andry,

    Great Blog, I've found it very useful, if you don't mind me asking how have you found the CS Masters so far? what was your background before this ? i'm currently looking into an application and this pathway interests me.


  29. Hi Neil!

    I'm finally done with all the courses and I can tell you that I really enjoyed them. I'm part of the Sino-Swedish master and I believe that both Universities (Uppsala and Tongji) offer courses that compliment each other very well.

    In Uppsala I took courses a little bit more theoretical but that I believe give you a good background and separate you from a simple programmer. I took AI, User Interface Programming, Constraint Technology, Computer Graphics, Data Mining... Then in Tongji the courses have a more practical focus. I took Data Warehouse (taught by the eBay data warehousing team), large scale data bases, Mainframe Programing Languages (COBOL), Project Management... All those courses were extra focused on a companies, job stories and latest technology.

    Oh, I almost forgot. I have a bachelor in Computer Engineering.

    What is your background? Why are you interested in this area?

    Write whenever you want! I'm happy to talk about CS!

  30. Hi Andry!

    Im planning to do my master's (organic chemistry) in Uppsala University. (Autumn 2013) Im an Indian student.Any advice for me on applying for scholarships?

    ( When to apply , and under which scholarship).
    Thank you for the helpful blog!!

    1. Hi Priyanka! I honestly don't know much about scholarships... I know nations have scholarships but most of them are for Swedish students (still it doesn't hurt to check them out).

      Also, I know you can find here the most popular scholarships: and maybe you can check out in your own country, like government websites and stuff like that.

      Good luck with the applications! :)

    2. Hi Andry!
      Thanks a lot of replying.. I will check out them out! Good day! :-)

  31. Hi Andry, I'm planning to do my Masters in Politics and International Relations from Uppsala. Currently I'm also considering the Uni of Amsterdam for a similar program but, Amsterdam (i hear) is extremely expensive and to a certain extent over crowded.

    So, 1. Is Uppsala mainly based in an urban or a semi-urban setting, or a rural one?
    2. More importantly, how tough is the admission criteria? It would really help me out if you have any idea at all about how tough it is to get into a masters program at Uppsala straight after bachelors without any work experience.

    Thanks in advance :)

    P.S. you mentioned finding a place to live is easy around here. thats a major plus too compared to amsterdam-it was one of my major worries-thanks for mentioning that.

    1. Hi!

      I wouldn't consider Uppsala a rural area, but even though it's the 4th biggest city in Sweden that's not saying much. It's pretty much a university city, full of students and quite small. I think it is really nice though :-)

      I think most master programs are intended for people with a bachelor degree with/without work experience. I think your previous studies (grades, courses, university...) will be much more important than your work experience, but then I still think that really depends on the program. I would still encourage you to apply.

      One thing that you should really know is that Uppsala is not overcrowded (or at least you don't get that feeling in the streets) but it's hard to find a place to live. Also, Sweden is quite expensive! Specially now that the euro is not as strong compared to the Swedish Kronor.

  32. Hi, I am planning to go exchange in Uppsala, and the institute said that I will be arranged an accommodation
    would it be cheaper or more expensive than I find by myself

    Other, if I study here, may be 1 year I'm saying, and I find that this could be a good choice to go on. is it possible I keep studying here and how about the tuition fee?
    is it hard to find a scholarship?

    1. Hi! Finding accommodation here in Uppsala is quite hard, so if I were you I would take what they offer! I don't think that it should be more expensive. Student rooms are not owned by the university so they would be simply helping you without making any money. Moreover, student rooms are as "cheap" as it gets in Sweden, unless you find a house or something that you share with tons of students and that might be quite hard to find anyway.

      You can find more information about the fees here:

      About scholarships I know there are some, but I don't think they are easy to get because there aren't many. I would still encourage you to try! :-) I think Sweden in a great place to live!

  33. Hi there!

    Thanks for the blog, find it very useful./ I am thinking about studying social work in Uppsala. Can you help me where to start finding a living space? Or does any of you know anyone/anything where I could live?

    Does any of you happen to have experience with the socionomprogram?


    1. Hi Andry,
      Thank you for the wonderful and informative blog.
      I'm going to Uppsala University this autumn for an exchanging program at Department of Information Technology. So I'd love to discuss CS with you.

      @Saskia: you can have a look at Andry's post on housing in Uppsala here


    2. Hi Saskia! I have no experience with socionomprogrammet... and for the housing situation I guess I don't have any more tips than those in my post. Sometimes a department or just the master program people can give you some information or extra help. I know that in the CS master program there are always some old students helping the new ones to find accommodation.

  34. Dear Andry,

    This is a really nice blog, with vital ans useful info.
    I am planning to start a PhD in Uppsala at the local university.
    The salary will be the first year around 16K and after the second around 17.5K.
    Do you think that I will be able to make ends meet?

    In addition, where can I find a place to live?
    I would prefer a place near the university(although I don't really mind taking the bus) with bedroom, bathroom and kitchen;not shared.
    How much do you think an appartment like that would cost?

    Thank's in advance dear!

  35. Hi,

    Does the Accommodation for 3000 SEK , on a single or shared basis? If shared, possibly 4 to 5??


    1. Hi Ram!

      The kind of accommodation that I mean is intended for one person only. Some people share it with their couples, but they are intended for one person only, as otherwise the common areas get too crowded. The price has increased since I lived there so you can get more info here:

      When they say the kitchen is shared between 12 people is because there are 12 rooms in the corridor.

      You can also see some pictures of how the rooms look like in here:

      Hope this helps!

  36. This is very useful. How difficult is it for African students to find part time jobs

    1. Hej!

      I don't think finding part-time jobs has anything to do with your nationality. That being said, I think odds are against you unless you speak Swedish. Even though most Swedes speak English, if you're working with costumers, you will be expected to speak Sweden. The same applies for small companies that conduct their business in Swedish.

      You can still try! I know of people working at the student nations (you don't earn much) and people doing internships, as well as projects at the university, but it's not something you'll find in a week or two.

  37. Hi. I would like to know why the services are free during July and August? Thanks for the reply

    1. Hi! I don't know if it's still free and if it's free in all student apartments. My guess is it's cheaper to let students keep their rooms over the summer for free instead of moving out in June and moving back in August. It would be a lot of work for the renting companies and probably the rooms would be empty anyway.

  38. Hi!

    By end of this july I am going to Uppsala University as a PhD student.

    I am moving with my wife and two daughters(4 years old).

    I have some questions,
    1. I am going to get 27000SKR/PM before tax, would that be sufficient to survive?


  39. Hi! Congratulations! :-)

    1. It is perfectly possible to survive with a PhD salary. Given that you're 4 people I don't think you'll be able to save much, but you can cover living expenses (in my opinion).

    2. Check out and you'll need to figure out how queue days work schools work.

    3. Luckily Spring is coming! :-)

    1. Hi Andry!!

      Thank you very much :-)