Cost of Living in Norway

The cost of living in Norway is high and Oslo, in particular, is recognised in a variety of surveys as being one of the most expensive cities for expats. As an example, Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2018 ranked Oslo as the 47th most expensive city in the world (out of 209 cities surveyed), ranking higher than other European cities such as Munich, Madrid and Brussels. 

There is some consolation for expats in that high salaries offset some of these costs, as do the public services offered by Norway's welfare state. It is a good idea for expats to carefully calculate their budget for Norway, and to look at a cost of living index in order to gain a better idea of comparative costs of specific goods and services.

Due to the egalitarian social system in Norway, the margin between low and high salaries is narrow. Executive-level expats may find that, due to the tax structure, they won’t have much more disposable income than someone working in a trade. Making more money is not necessarily as advantageous when someone ends up paying higher taxes on that income. It is also challenging to save money in the short-term, and unless they have secured a good expat relocation package, new arrivals may find that they will need two incomes to survive.


Cost of food in Norway 

There is very little that is considered “cheap” in Norway when compared to European prices. Fresh fish and shrimp is reasonable, but most food is imported and there is a 15 percent VAT on food items. That is why many Norwegians drive over the border to Sweden on a harrytur, which is basically a shopping trip to stock up on food staples at a much lower cost. This cross-border industry is so big that several shopping centres have been built just over the border to accommodate Norwegian consumers.


Cost of housing and transport in Norway

Housing is expensive in Oslo, but gets cheaper the further one travels from the city. Housing is more affordable outside of the capital, if that is any consolation. Owning a home provides several tax benefits, so if someone can afford it and they plan to stay in Norway long-term, this is the way to go.

Cars are very expensive as well, as is entertainment, eating out and travel inside the country. However, it can be very cheap to fly out of Norway on charter trips, so Norwegians take advantage of this opportunity and can be found at any sunny and warm destination in the world, especially during the cold months from October through to April.


Cost of living in Norway chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for January 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city 

NOK 14,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city

NOK 9,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city

NOK 20,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city

NOK 15,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

NOK 38

Milk (1 litre)

NOK 20

Rice (1kg)

NOK 23

Loaf of white bread

NOK 28

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NOK 110

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NOK 120

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NOK 113

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NOK 30 

Cappuccino 

NOK 39

Bottle of beer (local)

NOK 80

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

NOK 820

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NOK 0.90

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

NOK 350

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NOK 1,400

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NOK 16

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

NOK 35

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

NOK 16

Evelyn Perrin-Sand Our Expat Expert

I come from rural Kentucky, USA to suburban, coastal Norway to be with my husband. Long story short, we met as international pen pals, but he was different and I've never stopped talking to him since I've met him. We quickly became friends, then after meeting up we definitely decided we couldn't stop there. We made the decision to marry and I moved to Norway. Now that I'm living in Norway I'm experiencing new things, writing about personal musings, cultural differences, language triumphs and challenges, and basically all things Norway! I haven't regretted making the decision to move to the beautiful country of Norway and even more so I'm happy to have done it for my best friend - my husband!

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