How Should I Budget for Stockholm?
How Much is an Apartment in Stockholm?
Finding property in Stockholm is difficult, as the renting market demand outweighs the supply - however, it can be done, and not at huge cost. Subletting from homeowners is relatively common, and ends up being the way many expats stay in Stockholm. The price of rentals is also regulated in a unique way in Sweden, with negotiations for rents being made between the Stockholm Housing Service, tenant organizations, and private landlord organizations.
Considering how long it can take to be approved for an apartment rental in Stockholm, many opt to rent from private landlords instead. When renting from a private landlord your rent can vary: follow the guideline that a well connected 1 bedroom apartment will cost about 13000 SEK (£1045) a month. A single room in the city of Stockholm will generally cost about 4500 SEK (£361) per month.
Utilities average about 700 SEK or £56 a month for a single-or-couple accommodation, with these bills increasing as more people live in a home due to higher usage.
The standard of accommodation in Stockholm is high; apartments are modern and very well-equipped with top quality amenities. While most apartments are unfurnished the bathroom & kitchen fixtures are all of high standard, and furniture in Sweden is quite easy to come by - Sweden is after all, the homeland of IKEA.
Cost of Travel in Stockholm
Stockholm is serviced by an underground train service, buses, and suburban railways. Underground stations are represented by a large blue ‘T’ on a white background.
The best way to save money while travelling in Stockholm on public transportation is purchasing a SL Travel Card, which costs 790 SEK (£63) for 30 days worth of travel.
The very best way to save money in Stockholm for travelling, however, is to bring a bike. Stockholm is a very cycle friendly city. Scenic bike paths & urban bike lanes on roads make it easy for commuters to get to and from the office, and relaxing & fun for weekend explorers to get out and explore their new home in Stockholm.
If you can’t bring a bike with you when you relocate, that’s fine - you can rent one easily in Stockholm. Register to rent a bike in places like 7/11 and other shops. There is an app called City Bikes Stockholm that can be downloaded prior to arrival in Sweden - this app will show the nearby available bikes for rent. For 3 days worth of access to bike rentals for one person, it costs about 185 SEK (£15). It is cheaper in the long run to purchase a bike - however, it is an option if you’d like to test out Sweden’s bike lanes.
Cars in Stockholm do face a congestion charge when driving in or out of the city, however it’s not that expensive at about 20 SEK or £1 per drive in or out. Petrol is more expensive than in the USA, but equivalent to the cost for mainland Europe. Swedish driving laws do vary quite a bit from North American & European laws, so make sure that you understand them properly.
Average Food Costs in Stockholm
Food in Stockholm varies in price - rule of thumb states sticking to staple foods will keep your budget in check. Groceries you should be looking for include fruits & vegetables grown in Sweden, grain products, and other things from within the country. Dairy products & meat can both be very costly, so try & have those products last as long as you can. An average monthly grocery shop for one adult is about SEK 1500, or £120.
Eating out in restaurants is generally more expensive than in similar European cities. For example, eating in at a mid-range restaurant in Stockholm will cost 300 SEK, or £25 per person.
There are cheaper options for dining out, and Yelp’s Stockholm restaurant list will help you find something that will suit your budget.While you’re in Stockholm you ought to take advantage of the Swedish tradition of fika - a coffee break with a bit of a sweet edge in the afternoon. There are many lovely places to have a fika in Stockholm, and you can expect to pay about 100 SEK or £8 for a coffee & delicious hand-crafted pastry.
Internet & Phone Costs in Stockholm
Sweden has one of the highest concentrations of internet users in the world - 94% of the Swedish population uses the internet. Free wifi is relatively common in Stockholm as well: it can be found in the airport, Central Station Stockholm, and in many cafes for the price of a drink. It’s decent and reliable - ask staff for details like how to connect and if their is a usage limit.
You can get a broadband connection, telephone service, and 4G on your mobile for about 400 SEK, or £32 a month from bredbandsbolaget; a good price to have all these things together. Your broadband speed will depend on where you live in Sweden - but Stockholm speeds should be normal-to-high.
Unlocked phones are slightly more expensive in Sweden than elsewhere in Europe, so it’s recommended if possible to purchase your unlocked phone elsewhere such as the UK. Once you have an unlocked phone, however, it is easy to get a SIM card & start topping up your pay as you go minutes. Convenience shops like 7/11 sell mobile top-ups, and you can find more info on SIMs & top-ups in Sweden on Kontantkort.se, which is Swedish for ‘pay as you go’, by the way.
Cost of Enterainment in Stockholm
Alcohol is fairly expensive in Stockholm, as it is taxed quite heavily. As a matter of fact, there is only one liquor store chain in Sweden, and it’s owned by the government - although you can purchase alcohol readily in restaurants & bars. Expect to pay about 75 SEK or £6 at a local bar for a pint, and about 150 SEK or £12 for a cocktail in a popular nightclub.
Due to this expense, most Swedish people enjoy alcohol in moderation on occasions after work and with friends. You may find Swedish co-workers socializing more during a fika (coffee & snack break) than at the local pub.
The rates to visit a museum varies, but 80 SEK or around £6 is a good guideline for general admission.
Many people in Stockholm take their weekends as an opportunity to go out in nature, or otherwise do something outdoorsy. Parks in Sweden are beautifully maintained & all people in Sweden may walk about freely in them, as even private property is given public access due to the Swedish ‘allemensrätten’.