How to Save Money in Norway
Norway and Scandinavia are some of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. The standard of living in Oslo is 120% higher than in Bangkok. This is evident in all aspects of life. The air is clean, the roads are driven primarily by electric cars, the food is healthy, and nature is everywhere, well-preserved and beautiful. Despite the costs, here we are (for the second time), a frugal family of six living in Norway. People must think we are crazy, but honestly this country is not as expensive as everyone thinks. Here’s what we do to live on a budget.
Eat cheaply and shop smart
Eating out in Norway is beyond expensive. Trust me on this one. A pizza is $30, a beer $15, a normal meal is $25 dollars. Avoid that at all costs. Cooking at home is a must.
Grocery stores can also be expensive at first glance. If you look a little deeper you will find some very reasonably priced food. The brand First Price makes an inexpensive off brand version of almost everything, from toilet paper to roasted chickens. It’s usually 50-75% cheaper than the brand name. First price is also healthy and delicious. We matched up the ingredients on some of their products to the brand name equivalent, and they were near identical. The chain grocery store KIWI carries the most first price products, and has the lowest prices. Sometimes before the weekend, or at the end of the day grocery stores give out free bread that’s usually $4 a loaf.
Asian grocery stores or similar family run stores have the lowest prices for fruits, veggies, and bulk good such as flour, sugar, or rice.
We even foraged for food, which is obviously season dependant but can yield great results. Summer has blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries. Apples are plentiful in the fall , and many people will let you pick some from their trees if you ask nicely . Different mushrooms can be foraged every season.
Norway is pretty dry in terms of alcohol. Many Norwegians actually go to Sweden to get alcohol. Most cities will have one store which sells alcohol stronger than 4%. These end sales after 3pm, and are pricy… Beer and drinks under 4% are for sale at most grocery stores.
If you are in need of clothing definitely visit your local Fretex. Fretex is a chain of thrift stores that specialize in brand name (mostly H&M honestly) clothing at a VERY discounted price. It’s very similar to the Salvation Army or Goodwill in the States.
If you knows some locals, or are staying in a local area, ask about school sales. They are big sales at local schools of donated clothing, shoes, furniture, ect. These are even more inexpensive than thrift stores.
Do what you have to do, whether it be Couchserfing, Airbnb, Workaway, or WOOFing, to avoid staying at a hotel. You can even camp, this is free everywhere that isn’t private property. Libraries have free wifi, charging stations, and computers. Remember, the best thing about Norway is that all the best activities are completely, 100% free. Hint: Go for a hike 🙂
To read my 1st article on Norway on a budget click here. Happy travels XX – Izzy