Friday, November 5, 2010

Is Oslo expensive!!!

Since arriving in Norway the quality of life here has really surprised me (even compared to the US). Public services are great and no complaints so far (well, except for some bureaucracy in the system, but as A. reminded me, it's nothing compared to India or Brazil. I just have a low tolerance for lines and forms). But one thing that is really scary here is the price of almost anything!

To get an idea:
Cup of coffee at 7 Eleven (cheapest you can find): NOK 20 = USD 3.50 = EUR 2,50
Bus ticket: NOK 26 = USD 4.60 = EUR 3,20 (And this if you buy the ticket before you board the bus/ tram! Otherwise it is NOK 40!!!)
Cheapest sandwich you can find (i.e. at university cafeteria): NOK 50 = USD 10 = EUR 6,50
Sandwich at a bakery (take out, just sandwich, no drinks etc): NOK 120 = USD 21 = EUR 15
This had already made me decide to cook at home most of the time!

Then I had a work dinner this week at a fancy restaurant... And I really learned how painful this can be (I wasn't paying, but just the thought of it was painful).
Main dish: NOK 395 = USD 70 = EUR 77,50
Dessert: NOK 150 = USD26 = EUR 18,50
Beer (500ml=1pint): NOK 80 = USD 14 = EUR 10
This was definitely not the most expensive place in town and the food wasn't all that great either!

On my first trip to Paris to visit A. I went grocery shopping there and quickly realized that importing anything to Oslo is a good deal. This means that my bag always comes back filled with cheese (10% of the Norwegian price for the exact same cheese!!) and wine (based on the price of the beer above you can have an idea on the cost of any alcohol...). But the moment of realization came when I saw the exact same H&M ad as in Oslo, with the same model wearing the same sweater but less than half price!!!

This is what is called the "Norway cost". Everything is expensive here, which means that people also get paid well. But coming from abroad these prices are very very scary! (As A. likes to point out: Imagine how many thalis you could eat in India for this price!!) The good side is that wherever in the world I go from here, things will be cheap!!


  1. what you will find about germanic europe is everything is very expensive and no aftersales service at all. people dont work late and many establishments/stores remain closed in weekends. doctors dont prescribe medicines and rely on 'nature care and cure'.and they dont have any hesitation on saying "NO" to anything thats even slightly difficult or dont meet their timeframe.their way of speaking is very straighforward and honest even borderline rude.not too refined, considerate, and well-mannered. a bit stingy kind of people and they dont splurge too much.

  2. I remember visiting Denmark while living in Germany, and being shocked at the price of food. I feel like that, as nice as the Nordic countries are in other aspects, the cost of food (and other items) would really bring down my utility if I lived there - I love eating out. Well, that & the long winter nights...

  3. Hi Andy,
    I don't know about the rest of Germanic Europe (I don't like to generalize and I'm half German too :P) but your description is very accurate for life here in Norway. Being Brazilian and having lived in the US I definitely appreciate the work/personal life division. Overall most of the Norwegians I've met are quite nice and friendly, but yes, very reserved.
    Have you lived here?
    Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Gori,
    Thanks for your comment!
    Just to give you an extra perspective, I've met Norwegians that go to Sweden to go shopping since the prices there are considerably cheaper than here!
    Overall I think the utility of consumption is not very affected (at least once you get over converting prices to other currencies) since wages are also a lot higher (minimum wage is USD15 an hour for example!). But the darkness of the Winter is definitely something I worry about. Let's see how it goes!

  5. ...and more, watch out for taxes and the utility bills and municipal levies. they'v some queer calculations n they bill u once a year, so u perfectly loose track and dont put check on consumption

    west europe cities r safe, only next to tokyo. no violent crime of any sort even during nights. relaxed drugs and sex laws mean its a haven for male tourists.iv 2 see brazil someday home of soccer gods hehe, just that i hate travel n going out of india.