Saturday, 16 February 2008

Living expenses in Sweden

SAFE HARBOR (Date: 2008-02-16): The estimates given here are based on personal past experiences and with some inputs from locals. Use it for estimation purposes only.

Details pertaining to Taxation and Living Expenses in Sweden

The Tax % varies depending upon where you stay in Sweden. Higher the population in the Kommune(area/city), lower the tax % and vice versa.

To illustrate, the average income tax in Northern Sweden is the highest, since the human population here is the lowest. Therefore, the Government has to invest more per head to provide the uniform conveniences, translating into higher taxes.

In southernmost part of Sweden, (Like Malmo, Lund) where the population density is higher, the tax percentage is moderate
In Stockholm (Central part of Sweden) its higher
In Lulea (northern Sweden) it’s the highest.
The % varies from 28%-55%
But the biggest factor determining the tax % is the person's Gross Salary figure itself.
Like in many countries, higher your salary, higher is your tax liability.
Tax % in Lund for a person getting 325000SEK/annum = 31% (approx)
Tax % in Stockholm for a person getting 296000SEK/annum = 30% (approx)
Tax % in Lund for a person getting 400000SEK/annum = 33% (approx)
So, for all practical purposes, it is ideal to consider 32% as the Tax Liability

(Note: This Tax % again has components within called State Tax and Municipality Tax. I suggest all newcomers not to break their head on this. In order to arrive at their TAKE-HOME 32% is the number they should summarily deduct from their gross)

Summary: If people are deputed to Sweden, then they get to take home 67%-70% of the gross salary offered by most companies having their R&D HQ in Bangalore.

Living Expenses

It’s not the money that’s an issue but getting a house itself for stay is the biggest challenge.
Sweden is an immigrant-friendly nation and there is a sizeable number of people coming here from all parts of the globe. Unfortunately, there are not enough houses/apartments available to sustain the demand.
Having said that, getting a place to stay in Lund is easier than getting one in Stockholm (voices from the locals here)

Average Furnished: An average apartment will be equipped with Bedding, Ordinary Sofa, sufficient lighting, heating/electricity, Microwave, potable water (water in Sweden is the sweetest; only Canadians can complain), heating pans/Gas connection ready, basic kitchen utensils/cutlery, other amenities like Cable television, Iron box/table, furnished bathrooms, WC, wardrobe, broadband internet, etc.

Good Furnished: Basic Furnished + More elaborate Wood work/Sofa, expensive glassware, Bar-counter, etc

Excellent Furnished: Good Furnished + Sky is the limit

All apartments will have common Washing area + dryer in the basement. One needs to book their slots to use the machines. Nobody charges extra for these basic services.

What decides the rent?
The area one lives in (whether in the heart of the city, excellent view or away from the city with maximum commute time)
The level of furnishing in an apartment (Average/Good/Excellent) will decide the pricing
The Size of the apartment

For a bachelor or a spinster, it is recommended that he/she takes up an apartment with one bedroom, one living room, kitchen & bathroom. The size of the apartment can be 35 sq.m. If they are unable to get one, then they should look for a Studio apartment, the average size is 25sq.m

For a person coming with his/her spouse and/or a kid, a larger apartment with one bedroom, one living room, kitchen & bathroom is recommended. Though it sounds like the same config as above, one can looks at apartments with carpet area greater than 50sqm. Note that, maintenance can be an overhead in Sweden and therefore people here like to live in such spaces which they can easily maintain. A very large house(in excess of 70sqm) is only recommended for a family comprising of family members in excess of 4.

Rents in Lund:

Range for Studio Apartment:
· 3500 SEK/month (average) – 5000 SEK/ month (good)
Range for 1 Bedroom+1living room+kitchen:
· 4500 SEK (average) – 7500 SEK/month (good)
Range for bigger Apartment:
· 7000 SEK(average) – 15000 SEK/month (super-luxurious)

For all calculation/estimation purposes, it is recommended that as expense towards house rent
· A bachelor/spinster considers 5000 SEK/month
· A married person moving with family(1+1+1/2) considers 8000 SEK/month

Rents in Stockholm:

I think one should be least worried about the rent and more concerned about getting an apartment to stay by itself. Latch on to every opportunity of getting an apartment. The pricing of rents are irrational here and you can get it for all sorts of prices. Once again, I recommend people to use the following estimation
· A bachelor/spinster considers 5000 SEK/month
· A married person moving with family(1+1+1/2) considers 8000 SEK/month

Food Expenses:

The assumption I make is that a techie is also a decent cook apart from the wonderful code he/she makes or breaks. Also, they may not be going out to eat more than 6-8 times a month, which will definitely cost him/her more.

The money spent on groceries is higher in the first couple of months as one is trying to settle in. Once a person reaches "steady-state", it will be lighter on the pocket.

The average expenses (Lund and Stockholm) on food for
· A bachelor/spinster can be 1500 SEK/month
· A married Person moving with family(1+1+1/2) can be 2500 SEK/month

The average meal for a person going out to a restaurant in Lund can cost 85SEK while the same in Stockholm can cost 110 SEK (based on personal experience). A dinner for 2 in Stockholm can cost around 400 SEK-500 SEK (Excluding alcohol).

Alcohol: They are expensive in this part of the world. Always buy them from Systembolaget (fair price shops) or go out with your friends and treat yourself.
Couple of glasses of beer in a Bar may cast you 104 SEK.

At systembolaget: A bottle of Famous Grouse can cost you 299 SEK.

Misc (mandatory) expenses:

Costs incurred due to purchase of items, that are more like one-time investments (decorative, non-electronic devices) can cost you anywhere between 200 SEK/month-500 SEK/month.

Getting a pre-paid mobile connection is easy and cost-effective. I recommend using calling cards, which are cheaper.

Commute Expenses:

Average expenses in Lund: 350 SEK/month
Average expenses in Stockholm: 680 SEK/month

One can always consider an additional 500 SEK/month for all calculation purposes going towards some unplanned/unexpected expenses.

Summary: After considering all this, I feel
A bachelor/Spinster in Lund should take 7500SEK/month as his monthly outgo
A bachelor/Spinster in Stockholm should take 8000SEK/month as his monthly outgo
A person moving with family to Lund should take 10000SEK/month as his monthly outgo
A person moving with family to Stockholm should take 11500SEK/month as his monthly outgo

FINAL NOTE: All expense considerations are on the higher side. There is a good probability that the expat can actually incur costs less than what is quoted here.
Traditionally, most companies have discouraged sharing of rooms amongst friends (which is healthy) and the above mentioned configurations were explained keeping that in mind. Sharing apartments would definitely bring down the expenses by 40%-50%.

PS: Under the social security in Sweden, education (crèche, schooling, etc) is free.


Anonymous said...

Really good article.

manojavm said...

Hey, I am very thankful for ur post regarding cost of living and taxes in
Sweden. Its very useful. I would like to be in touch with you as I am currently getting offers from sweden..!

Please guide me. I can be reached at

manojavm said...

I got an offer in sweden from a consultant as a contract employee. When enquired about taxation, he said that tax will be around 20% as the position is not permanent. I would like to hear from you regarding this.

And what would be the medical insurance per month for husband, wife and 2 yrs kid.

sudipa said...

Hi I am moving to Sweden soon along with family.i am going on temporary visa for 6 months which is probation period & then i'll get permanent i wnt to know how much tax will i have to pay for the first 6 months & then later on.I will be living in Lulea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rajesh,

Thanks for a nice insight on Sweden.

I am planning to move to Goteborg, sweden. What do you think is the cost of living there for a family of 4 with a resonably good quality of life.

Would you be able to help with correct income tax calculation. I heard that taxes are very high ( 25% to local + 30% of national tax) that correct ?...please explain with some illustration ..say taking a yearly income of 4,00,000 SEK. I am coming there on a permanent employment offer by a swedish company.

looking forward for your response


Rajesh K S said...

Hi Sandy,
Cost of living for a family of 4(2 adults+2 kids) in order to live a decent/good life should be around 22k. Normally, in Sweden we have more double income earning families.
The tax break up is correct but it is not on the entire gross component:-). U see, there are slabs, based on which the Municipality and State Tax components get decided.
Its not really complicated, but I recommend you go thru the Tax website for the complete picture. For a 400k gross package in Gotenburg, I feel the total tax % should be in the region of 30%-31%.

sudipa said...

Hi Rajesh,
Can you provide the link for taxation in Sweden.Some of my friends in lulea say the tax is 30%some say 35%.I am a little confused.

Rajesh K S said...

Hi Sudipa,
for details

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rajesh !

Great input again. I was wondering about the cost of living, because based on your earlier explanition i was estimating a cost of living to be aroung 13 - 15 K per month for a family of 4. but you indicated to be 22K ... do you see high cost of living beause o house rental etc ?

Would you be able to guide me what would be the schooling cost or the kid going to std 1 ..i am sorry to ask you so many queries, but your experience is really very valuable for me.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rajesh,

Thanks for the Information.
How is the job prospects for IT Professionals in sweden? Currently i am workinng in India and is now looking for better jobs abroad. Can you please guide me?



praveen said...

hi rajesh i am praveen from hyderabad andhra pradesh india. i am a masters aspirent and i want to have an idea of how much per month i have to plan for my living as the other expence such as studies is free there so i just want the figure which a non drinker like me must manage PLZ HELP ME OUT DOST. is my email id plzz i will be waiting for ur mail

Bhupesh said...

Hi Rajesh
Thanks for information.

I will be intially moving alone to sweden not yet known exactly which part of it.
later on my family will join me.

on average how much should be monthly salary to have good saving which I can send back to India.?

(I joined an IT firm here in india
and I am suppose to be sweden in about 2months but they have not disclosed how much they will pay me in sweden.)

Pls guide me.
pls revert back ar revert back at

Tan said...

Hey Rajesh,

Thanks for the good guide.
Im planning to go for a student exchange in sweden.

May I know the standard of living in Linkoping and Jonkoping?

Thanks alot!

Tan said...


Its me again...
U can reply to my email:


bahakal said...

Thanks man, this is really helpful!

Anonymous said...

Very good article for expats!!


evision said...

Wen-Xin said...

Hi Rajesh!

I have to thank you for your very helpful details about the living expenses in Sweden.

I am currently in Melbourne, but going on exchange to Sweden next semester.

I am just wondering if you would know the better choices that I have if I want to get a bike there. Is it really expensive to own a bike? Or as I will only be there 6 months, would you recommend me to actually get a 2nd hand bike instead?

Do advice. I can be reached at

Thank you so much Rajesh!

xx said...

dear rajesh,

i got an research position in lund university. they are offering 21400 sek per month. the amount is tax free, i will also get all health benefits. is the amount sufficient? presently i am alone, but have a plan for marriage in nearest future. please inform me about the climate in lund also.

waiting for your mail id is

thank you

laky said...

Well done!
I am very grateful for the info on your blog.
Great posting. Very informative too.

Visit also

ajith said...

I want to do masters in sweden.
Can you please tell about the tuition fee and living expenses.

am i allowed to work in campus only.if so, what kind of work

Anonymous said...

Hi Rajesh,
Very good article. please let me know where we need to search for 1 bedroom apartments & studios in stockholm. can you post local website names, how to search.



Anonymous said...

Thanks Rajesh. Could u pls suggest some sites for searching appartments. We are coming as a family (1+1+baby) for around 6months.


shwetu said...

Hey rajesh it seems that u know much of sweden. We are husband & wife looking for a house in stockholm can u please hel us out?
email id:-

Anonymous said...

Thanks man.. very helpful...!

sai said...

hey, i am planning to do masters in halmstad university....i am from india, andhra pradesh.... and i would like to know about cost of living per month in medium range and how about part time jobs..... and after is there job offers for Information technology people... and what about pr after doing ms how can i extenend my visa...... please give me the information....,

Anonymous said...

Hi Rajesh,

Could you please tell me the expenses that you have mentioned in year 2008, in your article are they still in 2013 the same or changed. If they have changed could you please tell me the updated prices for things mentioned in this article.

Thanks in advance. Any one can please reply urgently.

Anonymous said...

hi rajesh

very nice blog.

I am from spain and I have Long term Resident Card-UE (5 Years). Can I work and live permanent in sweden. and Where should I search for work.



Anonymous said...

Hi Rajesh,
Thanks for the great article and information. I was wondering whether all the information has remained unchanged in 2014, since I have got a postdoc position at Lund university at 34,700 sek per month.


vimal sarathi said...

Hi Rajesh,

I'm Vimal from Chennai India. Planning to come Sweden for 8 months of business travel with my wife. 25SEK is my pay per month and it is nearly 2.25L INR. Can I save 1L INR per month? with 1.25L INR I can able to accommodate all my needs over there. Please tell me.


vimal sarathi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prasenjit Ray said...

Hi Rajesh,
I'm Prasenjit & will be in Stockholm from October 14 for 2 months.My office is near Gulmarsplan.I would like to take an apartment near my office.I can travel by metro all lines except blue line.My budget would be 6000-7000 SEK/Month.I do not want to pay broker fees.Can you guide me which web sites I would surf or any genuine channel?
Please write me at

Sanjay Jain said...

In one or two months I am moving to Gothenburg with my husband. I am a Computer Science Engineering graduate having 5 years of experience in PL/SQL. Please advice me the possibilities of getting a Software Engineer job in Gothenburg or nearby areas for me. If I try as soon as reach Sweden how much time it will take to get a suitable software engineer job there.

LK Bhat

Anonymous said...

Very Helpfull.. can any one update their salary..

Chandra Sekhar Ujji said...

Hi Rajesh,
I got an offer in Stockholm,i have around 9 years of experience in software programming (ERP, they have offered me around 44000SEK per month (before tax), considering the location, can you please let me know how much will be the cost of living for myself, my wife and 3 year old son. What will be the taxes etc. thanks for your reply in advance.

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian and looking for an information that I am moving to Helsingborg, Sweden for a year. I have a seven years old children. What are the options and cost for schooling? Is it difficult to get admission in school in the month of September or January?

Sara said...

Great post! (although I realize I'm late to the party :)

I'd say the prices are about 20-30% higher compared to in 2008. T and are two great places to check out rooms in Sthlm without the massive competition that is on Blocket


Hi Rajesh, Thank you for the info, is it possible to get the info on Gothenburg..Prasad