Managing your cost of living in Sweden


Cost of living, by some distance, leads the list of concerns while moving abroad. When I was planning my move to Chalmers, I could sense a unique blend of emotions with in me; the excitement of landing into drastically different  culture and people, was blended with the stress of keeping the finances under check. But now that I am through that phase and have managed to create a life style that suits my social, acadamic and financial needs, I guess it is time now to pass the expereince on to the new students.

Eating out in Pakistan is very common, a major chunk of your student life is spent hanging out in cafes and restaurants with your freinds, since it is very cheap. To be honest, I was also too spoilt to cook for myself, but that is not the point here. In Sweden, my first visit to a restaurant was enought to keep me at bay from eating out for a good six months! It is relatively very cheap and therefore advisable for students to cook for themselves. Even most of the Swedish students, bring their own lunch boxes to school. Yes you will have to conquer the laziness and part ways from the comfort of your cozy bed, to prepare food every day, but that is the way to cut down on your expenses in Sweden. Those students who are terrible at cooking like me, should not start sweating after reading this because there are easy-to-cook alternates that you can use, like pasta, so do not worry. Once the semester starts and the schedule gets really tight, you might have to buy food from campus. Using the student union card to pay is very useful; you get reasonable discounts at bars and restaurant on campus (like J.A Pripps) and you can buy cheap take-away lunch from inside the union.

Student-Money-image-zimmytws-Shutterstock

Managing your expenses while studying abroad is a challenge!

I strongly recommend, out of my personal experince, using a shared accomodation in Sweden. Your rent eats away a major chunk of your budget, so sharing a room or an apartment eases that pressure on your wallet. Also, if you have a considerable amount of understanding with your roomate you can split the cost of groceries, which would save you even more money on food. As far as travelling is concerned, taking a 3-month vastraffik card is the cheapest alternate if you are going to use the public transport. Ofcourse, if you are up for it and like to flex your thigh muscles then using a bicycle perhaps would suit you the best since Gothenburg has an extensive network of cycling tracks around the city.

Always keep a look out on blocket.se and the reklam that is dropped in your mail box for cheap deals on items of every day use like electronics, food and clothing. Even if you do not need something desperately, it is useful to keep an eye on discount offers and deals in the city. In Gothenburg, you will find many second hand stores, they are usually very cheap and cover almost all items of daily use. I ,at times, had a hard time browsing through many stores to find exactly what I was looking for, but if you can put in the time and effort then it is worth the trouble, since prices there are very low and quality of goods is usually accpetable.

A rise in cost of living can get stressful

A rise in cost of living can get stressful

To sum-up, you would have to put in some extra bit to manage your expenses in Sweden, since it is not the cheapest place for students. The most common question that I hear from new students, is about part time jobs. It is not impossible but you need your social network and truck loads of good luck to find one, if you do not speak Swedish. I strongly recommend to put all your weight into searching for work both on and on campus, if you want to breathe a little more easy financially. I wish all the new students the very best, and hope they have a joyful learning experience at Chalmers and in Sweden!