SIFO is a non-bias governmental institute that conducts consumer research and testing. The board of directors is appointed by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion which also provides the basic funding. SIFO currently has a staff of 55. The scientific staff is comprised of researchers and other highly qualified personnel from social and natural sciences. SIFO’s projects are organized into four categories: household economy, consumer culture, environment, market and politics.
SIFO is the only institute in Norway solely concerned with consumer research, and as such is responsible for developing expertise on the relevant fields. Importance is placed on research as well as the dissemination of information to various authorities, consumer-oriented institutions, research and scientific institutions, and in private industry.
Since the cost of living is one of the most important factors, if not the most, of one’s decision to live in Norway or not, here are 2 articles that may help: Standard Budget 2015 (in English) and Standard Budget 2016 (only available in Norwegian).
The Standard Budget shows ordinary consumer expenditures for different types of households. Based on households of varying sizes with differences in age and gender, this budget calculates the cost of maintaining a reasonable level of consumption. The budget contains both current expenses such as food, clothing, toiletries, etc. and expenses for less frequent purchases such as furniture and electrical appliances.
You can also use the online budget calculator to calculate your family’s projected expenses based on the number of people in your household and their ages.
This is in Norwegian only but it is fairly easy to use:
- Velg kjønn (Choose sex)
- Kvinne (Female), Mann (Male)
- Velg alder (Choose age)
- Antall gravide (mer enn 3 måneder) i husholdet (Number of pregnant women (> 3 months) in the household)
- Antall barn i barnehage (Number of children in kindergarten)
- Hvis du har barn i barnehage, må også husholdets samlede brutto årsinntekt oppgis (if you have children in kindergarten, you need to give the household’s total gross annual income)
- Har husstanden bil? (Does your household have a car?).
Please note that this budget calculates the cost of maintaining a reasonable level of consumption.
Cost of Living by Category
The cost of living in Norway is always a topic that comes up frequently on the minds of expatriates and in forums. This article aims to give you a brief overview of the costs of everything here in Norway.
Latest Overall Cost of Living Index Rank (2016) (according to The Economist)
For 2016, Oslo has been displaced from the top ten list of most expensive cities in the world. This is due in part to the weak Norwegian krone. As for Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim, the standard of living is more or less on par with Oslo. Smaller cities tend to have a slightly lower cost of living. The cost of living overview for each of the 13 Basket Groups is as follows:
Alcohol and Tobacco
Costs for alcoholic beverages such as alcohol at bar, beer, locally produced spirit, whiskey, and wine as well as tobacco products such as cigarettes is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Beer can cost 26NOK per can/bottle in the supermarkets but anywhere from 60 to 112NOK per glass in the pubs.
Wine is not available in the supermarkets. It is available in Vinmonopolet – specialized stores which sell alcohol. One bottle of wine can cost from 90NOK to 500NOK.
A pack of cigarettes (20) costs around 90 to 120NOK.
A box of Snuz, a moist powder tobacco product consumed by placing it under the lip for extended periods of time, costs around 80 to 100NOK.
Costs for clothing and footwear products such as business suits, casual clothing, childrens clothing and footwear, coats and hats, evening wear, shoe repairs, and underwear is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Clothes can range from being pretty cheap : 149NOK for a top to over 4000 NOK for an evening dress.
Shoes range from 199NOK to 3000NOK per pair.
For various communication costs such as home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider fees, mobile / cellular phone contract and calls is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Mobile charges (based on a pre-paid card)
Call – 0.39 to 0.69NOK per minute
SMS – 0.29 to 0.39NOK
MMS – 0.89 to 1.89 NOK
Subscriptions generally give you better deals than the above. The current best deal on the market is 98 NOK a month for unlimited SMS, MMS, calls to local numbers and 1000 MB of data.
Internet – costs from 400 to 1500 NOK a month depending on speed (don’t forget you may need to pay start-up and connection costs too)
Education costs such as creche / pre-school fees, high school / college fees, primary school fees, and tertiary study fees is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Pre-school fees : 30030 NOK per annum (full time) + 2400 to 9600 NOK per annum for food (variable cost)
Primary and secondary school – Free for Norwegian schools. You would need to pay for before and after school care should you choose to use the service for your children. This costs approximately 32000 NOK per annum.
International schools usually demand high fees.
Tuition fees for university are not very expensive. The costs come from having to pay living expenses. Many university students work part-time to supplement their income.
Furniture and Appliances
Costs for furniture, household equipment and household appliances such as dvd player, fridge freezer, iron, kettle, toaster, microwave, light bulbs, television, vacuum cleaner, and washing machine is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
DVD player (BluRay) – 995NOK to 3995NOK
Microwave – 299NOK to 1000NOK
Laptops – 2495 – 18990NOK
Digital cameras – 599 to 7995 NOK
DSLR cameras – 2695(Olympus E 450) to 56 895 (Nikon D3x)
Surround sound system – 1190 to 4000 NOK
Washing machines – 3995 to 11 995 NOK
For food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning material items such as baby consumables, baked goods, baking, canned foods, cheese, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, meat, oil and vinegars, pet food, pre-prepared meals, sauces, seafood, snacks, soft drinks, spices and herbs is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
1.5L of milk: 20 NOK
1.5L of apple juice: 12 to 24 NOK
A loaf of bread: 16 to 36 NOK
4 bananas: 12 to 16 NOK
12 eggs: 36 NOK
1.5L bottle of Coke: 20 NOK
A bag of potato chips: 18 to 30 NOK
Pre-prepared meals (1 portion) – 45 to 89 NOK
For general healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner consultation rates, hospital private ward daily rate, non-prescription medicine, and private medical insurance / medical aid contributions is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Medication – generally costs slightly more than the USA or the UK.
General healthcare – it costs around 130 to 180 NOK to see your general practitioner. He will then write you a prescription should you need medication and you’ll have to buy that from the pharmacy yourself. However, if you are a member of the Norwegian Social Insurance Scheme, you will have free healthcare if you have spent more than a certain amount in the calendar year.
Pregnancy and delivery – consultations for a normal pregnancy and delivery care are free.
For housing, water, electricity, household gas, household fuels, local rates and residential taxes such as house / flat mortgage, house / flat rental, household electricity consumption, household gas / fuel consumption, household water consumption, and local property rates / taxes / levies is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Apartment rental (70 to 89 m2) – 9 000 to 15 000 NOK a month
Apartment rental (90 to 129 m2) – 9 500 to 28 000 NOK a month
Electricity (apt of 70 – 90 m2, family of 3) – 500 NOK a month (in the summer) to 2500 NOK a month (in the winter)
Costs related to stationary, linen and general goods and services such as domestic help, dry cleaning, linen, office supplies, newspapers and magazines, and postage stamps is relatively more expensive compared to other cities with a rank of 3 out of 282.
Newspapers – Stavanger Aftenblad: 27 NOK
Magazines – anywhere from 27 NOK to 99 NOK (and you can get UK and US editions of magazines here so you won’t be without your monthly magazine fix)
Animals – food and equipment for your pets are very much more expensive here.
Costs for personal care products and services such as cosmetics, hair care, moisturizer / sun block, nappies, pain relief tablets, toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap / shampoo / conditioner is equally expensive on average compared to other cities.
Cosmetics: Generally more expensive.
Shampoo and conditioner: From 20 NOK (when they go on sale) to 40 NOK per bottle
Hairdresser : 400 NOK and above (haircut for ladies), 200 NOK and above (haircut for men). Ladies, expect to spend more than 1000 NOK if you wish to get the whole works : wash, cut, colour, etc.
Recreation and Culture
Costs such as books, camera film, cinema ticket, DVD and CDs, sports goods, and theatre tickets is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Books: Anywhere from 79NOK to over 500NOK
Cinema ticket: 100 NOK for one
DVDs: 99NOK to 200NOK for one
Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotel
Costs such as business dinner, dinner at a restaurant (non fast food), hotel rates, take away drinks and snacks (fast food) is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
MacDonald’s value meal, medium: 80-90NOK
Takeaway Chinese food: 70 NOK to 200NOK
Dinner at a nice restaurant: Anywhere from 250NOK to 1500NOK (per person)
Costs for public transport, vehicle costs, vehicle fuel, vehicle insurance and vehicle maintenance such as hire purchase / lease of vehicle, petrol / diesel, public transport service maintenance, tires, vehicle Insurance, and vehicle purchase is relatively more expensive compared to other cities.
Bus, for children: 15 – 20 NOK
Bus, zone 1: 34 – 40 NOK
Bus pass for 30 days: 600 – 800 NOK
Petrol: 13 to 15 NOK per litre
Diesel: 12 to 14 NOK per litre
Taxis : It generally costs 100 to 120NOK for a short 5 minute ride.
Owning your own wheels
Vehicle insurance – From 200 NOK a month and above.
Vehicle purchase – Anywhere from 8000 NOK and above.
Of course, the salary that you get will, more often than not, be more than sufficient for you to live comfortably. Many expats in Norway are also used to going on many holidays – when you do that, be sure to stock up on all you need, i.e. cosmetics, personal care, etc and get the services you require abroad: hairdresser, spa, pedicures, manicures, etc