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‘Shop in Sweden’: Your tips on the best ways to save money in Norway 

Norway is an expensive country to live in. Luckily, The Local’s readers have offered up their top thrifty tips for saving a bit of cash in the pricey Scandinavian country. 

'Shop in Sweden': Your tips on the best ways to save money in Norway 
Here are readers top tips for saving a bit of cash. Photo by Aslak Raanes on Flickr.

It’s no secret that Norway is an expensive country to live in. The Nordic country, famous for its notoriously high alcohol prices, is the 3rd most expensive country in the world to call home, according to Business Insider

In addition, it’s also the third costliest place to live in Western Europe too, with the cost of living being higher than 95% of other countries around the world. 

With that being said, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to save money, find a discount, or grab a bargain in order to save a pretty penny. In fact, The Local’s readers have offered up their advice, top tips, and life hacks to make life in Norway that little more affordable. 

When asked by The Local what their most expensive outgoing was, the overwhelming majority of readers told us that food was their most significant expenditure.

“For an equivalent amount of money to what I spend in Norway, I can fill a food trolley in the UK, while I’m only able to fill a smaller basket on wheels in Norway,” one reader responded. 

Food was generally combined with transport and rent as readers’ most considerable outlay. 

Thankfully, readers had a number of tips they could offer up to help you shave a few kroner off of your food bill. 

For those living in east Norway, plenty on Facebook said they should look to shop in Sweden, otherwise known as going on a harrytur. 

Almost anything you can think of is cheaper in Sweden than in Norway, and shops offer a much greater variety of products. However, there are some rules to harryhandel trips which you should know about if you aren’t aware already, so be sure to check out our guide

Previously readers have told us that they travel to other countries for bargains on other things too. 

“I get my hair coloured and cut in Denmark. Then, for beauty, spa treatments, dental needs, cosmetics and electronics, I go to Denmark or the continent,” one reader informed us. 

Fortunately, travelling to another county to do the weekly shop or get your hair chopped isn’t the only way to save a bit of cash. 

Using local greengrocers (frukt og grønt) and shopping from international food markets can be cheaper than supermarkets, one reader said via our survey.

If you don’t have any of those near you, then there are still ways of saving a bit of cash at the supermarkets.

Buying in bulk, making the most of sales and looking in the reduced section are all things you can do to save money. In addition, there are plenty of supermarket loyalty schemes that offer rewards such as cashback on your shopping. Click here to find out more about those.   

There was also plenty of tips for online shopping, and while many readers pointed to sites such as FINN, Zalando, Outnorth and Fjellsport as great places to spot a bargain, one savvy reader had their own lifehack for when you want to order with Amazon, though. 

“Shop non-food items such as electronics, books, and also batteries and so on Amazon.de . They have an English website and precalculate taxes and tolls. One does not need to pay additional tolls and taxes in Norway when ordering on Amazon.de. Many things are cheaper there despite toll, tax and shipping (calculated by and paid to Amazon when ordering). And often, things arrive even faster than they would when ordering in Norway. One must only be careful to order only items that are sold and shipped by Amazon itself and not by a third-party shop,” Michael, who lives in Trondheim, explained in our survey. 

Others pointed out that to save, it may be necessary to cut down on some expenses such as eating out often. 

“Make food at home. Invite friends over, so you can eat & drink there. Have an allocated driver for the evening if you go out on the town, as even with public transport, the final bill for four people on a round trip is quite an amount,” Bob, who has lived in Norway for 36 years, advised. 

Another reader joked on Facebook to “not eat until you are dizzy and feel like fainting”.

We probably wouldn’t recommend you take your cost-cutting that far, though. 

Did we miss any good tips, do you have any you’d like to share, or are there any other subjects you’d like to hear readers offer advice on? You can get in touch with us at [email protected] 

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MONEY

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Norway but have income in pound sterling?

The value of the British pound has fallen steeply against the dollar in recent days but also against the Euro – and the krone. So what should you do if you live in Norway but have income – such as a pension, rental income or a salary – in pound sterling?

Exchange rate: What are your options if you live in Norway but have income in pound sterling?

Exchange rates might sound like a spectacularly dull topic, but if you live in Norway (where, naturally, your day-to-day living expenses are paid in kroner) but have income from the UK in pounds, then the movement of the international currency markets will have a major impact on the money that ends up in your pocket.

This is not an uncommon situation – Norway-based Brits may work remotely as freelancers from British companies and be paid for invoices in pounds, while retired Brits might be receiving a British pension.

Others might have income from rental properties or investments.

So a big loss in the value of the pound against the euro – and by extension, the krone – can have a major impact on Brits in Norway.

The most recent fall in the value of the pound was sparked by the UK government’s new mini budget and has already seen a relative recovery. 

But while this one-time fall is spectacular, it’s also part of a longer-term trend in the fall of the value of the pound, especially since Brexit, that has seen people such as foreign-based pensioners lose a big chunk of their income.

So if you have income in pounds, what are your options?

Income in kroner – obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone, especially pensioners, but the best way to protect against currency exchange shocks is to make sure that you’re paid in the same currency that you spend in.

While the krone is traditionally weak against the pound, it is known as a safe and stable currency as Norway has no net debt, and the Norwegian krone isn’t pegged to another currency. 

Alternatively, income in euros: the advantage of the euro is that for those being paid from abroad, billing in euros means you could work in any EU country – including the anglophone ones like Ireland – and get your salary in euros.

Depending on your employer, it might also be possible for you to ask to bill in euros. 

Work in Norway – if you’re currently not working or want to switch to local currency income, then an obvious option is to take up some work in Norway.

Depending on your work and residency status, as well as the field you work, the practicality of this option ranges wildly from one person to the next.

READ ALSO: What is Norway’s job market like for foreigners at the moment?

Exchange rate – if your income can only be paid in pounds, it’s crucial to ensure that you get the best exchange rate possible and that you don’t waste money on international transfer fees.

The best options here are online banks or money transfer services, which compete on the rates that they offer, so usually have the most advantageous rate.

Some online banks also have the option to set up accounts in both pounds and kroner, so that you can receive money in pounds and spend it in kroner without having to make bank transfers, which can attract fees.

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