The cost of living in Finland is undeniably high, even by European standards. If you're from a country with a lower cost of living, you may find the higher prices a shock and difficult to adjust to. It's therefore worth considering the cost of goods before negotiating a suitable salary with prospective employers.

Prices in urban areas, especially in the capital, Helsinki, are much higher than in other areas of Finland, particularly in terms of accommodation costs. Helsinki ranked 34th out of 227 cities in Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey, making it pricier than cities such as Berlin and Perth but still more affordable than Seattle and Vienna.

With a job in place, you can plan and budget accordingly, and while many goods and services come with a hefty price tag, the excellent universal public education and healthcare systems make up for it. Have a look at the varied living expenses in Finland.

Cost of accommodation in Finland

Housing costs in Finland are high, especially in the capital, Helsinki. Rent can take up a sizeable portion of your income, although generally, rates are better further away from city centres. Of course, this is something you will have to weigh up – the time and financial cost of a daily commute into the city for lower rent versus the convenience and liveliness of city living.

Rent also depends on how furnished the living space is; when inspecting accommodation, you should keep this in mind. The cost of buying furniture adds up and may only be preferred by those staying long term.

Utilities are an extra expense. Water and heating are often included in the rent, but electricity and internet are not.

Cost of transport in Finland

Although public transport is efficient and useful in urban spaces and for reaching neighbourhoods outside the main cities, it's pretty expensive. We, therefore, recommend buying a monthly pass or a travel card for a discount – every little bit helps, especially if you will be commuting daily.

Helsinki itself is quite walkable and has extensive cycle paths, making walking and cycling feasible and healthy alternatives for getting around.

Cost of groceries and clothing in Finland

Food and drinks can be expensive in Finland. While clothing can be pricey, there are always more affordable options, seasonal sales and the opportunity to buy second-hand. How much you spend depends on your lifestyle choices, income level and budgeting decisions. Once you get more settled, you may find places that offer better deals, supermarkets, and stores to which you can go for the best prices and discounts.

Supermarkets such as Lidl, Sale and K-Market are known for offering sizeable discounts and loyalty programme benefits. Some products with orange labels may have discounts of up to 70 percent, but these will be close to their sell-by date, so this is something you should be aware of.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Finland

When it comes to entertainment in Finland, you may find that the costs are on the higher side. In Helsinki, cinema tickets, theatre performances and live music events can be considerably pricier than in other European countries. Alternative options include attending free or low-cost events at cultural centres, art galleries, and local festivals. Finland's beautiful outdoors offers many enjoyable and affordable activities like hiking, cycling and kayaking.

The cost of eating out in Finland can also be rather steep, particularly in trendy or fine-dining establishments. More budget-friendly options are available, such as local markets, which offer reasonably priced fresh produce and ready-made dishes. Affordable eateries and street food vendors serve a variety of Finnish cuisine, allowing you to sample traditional dishes, like Karelian pasties or Finnish-style fish and chips.

Additionally, embracing the Finnish tradition of kahvila, or coffee shops, is an excellent way to enjoy a light meal and immerse yourself in the local culture without breaking the bank.

Cost of education in Finland

Although Finland has a high cost of living, it has a comprehensive social system, favouring education and healthcare. Not only is there free universal daycare for children aged 8 months to 6 years, but some areas may give financial support to caregivers who care for their children at home for the first three years.

Public schooling remains free, including free school healthcare, daily lunch, books and materials. Upper secondary school students from around age 15 are required to buy their own materials.

For many expats, the issue may be the language. The language of instruction in public schools is mainly Finnish or Swedish, so if you're only staying for a short while or with older children, the better route may be to enrol your youngsters in a private or international school. These options can be pricey though.

Tertiary education is free to students from the EU and Switzerland, while other international students are required to pay tuition. Still, all tertiary programmes taught in Swedish or Finnish are free to everyone, including international students.

Cost of healthcare in Finland

Finland has universal healthcare funded by tax, meaning everyone is entitled to health services regardless of income level. While Finland has a universal healthcare system, it is not free but is rather heavily subsidised. This means patients are still required to make a small co-payment when accessing healthcare services.

Private healthcare centre expenses may vary. While employers must arrange health insurance for their workers, this only covers incidents in the workplace itself. We strongly advise taking out private insurance.

Cost of living in Finland chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows the average prices for Helsinki in April 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 1,805
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 1,305
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 1,010
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 820
Food and drink
Dozen eggsEUR 4.45
Milk (1 litre)EUR 1.55
Rice (1kg)EUR 2.65
Loaf of white breadEUR 2.90
Chicken breasts (1kg)EUR 7.15
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)EUR 10.35
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantEUR 95
Big Mac MealEUR 10.25
Coca-Cola (330ml)EUR 2.80
CappuccinoEUR 4.65
Bottle of beer (local)EUR 2.70
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)EUR 0.10
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)EUR 16.25
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)EUR 85
Taxi rate/kmEUR 1.25
City-centre public transport fareEUR 3.20
Gasoline (per litre)EUR 2.05

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