Cost of Living in Norway

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The cost of living in Norway is expensiveThe cost of living in Norway is known to be one of the highest in the world. Oslo is specifically recognised in a variety of surveys as being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2015 ranks Oslo as the 38th most expensive city in the world, out of 207 cities, ranking higher than Paris, Melbourne and Washington D.C.  

High salaries offset some of these costs, as well as the public services offered by Norway's welfare state. It is a good idea for expats to recalculate 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. Expats may find that, due to the tax structure, they won’t have much more disposable income than someone working in a trade such as plumbing. 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 into the country and there is a 14 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 20 percent 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 in Norway

Housing is expensive in Oslo, but gets cheaper the further one travels from the city. Housing is 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 March 2016.


One-bedroom apartment in the city  NOK 12,000
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


Eggs (dozen) NOK 33
Milk (1 litre) NOK 16
Rice (1kg) NOK 27
Loaf of white bread NOK 26
Chicken breasts (1kg) NOK 105
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) NOK 110

Eating out

Big Mac Meal NOK 100
Coca-Cola (330ml) NOK 30 
Cappuccino  NOK 38
Bottle of beer (local) NOK 75
Three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant  NOK 800


Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute) NOK 0.76
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)  NOK 320
Basic utilities (per month for small apartment) NOK 2,000


Taxi rate (per kilometre) NOK 16
Bus/train fare in the city centre  NOK 34
Petrol/gasoline (per litre) NOK 15

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