For members


‘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 . 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 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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For members


Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

Have you ever wondered what to do with your private pension plan when moving to another European country?

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you're moving country

This question will probably have caused some headaches. Fortunately a new private pension product meant to make things easier should soon become available under a new EU regulation that came into effect this week. 

The new pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will allow savers to take their private pension with them if they move within the European Union.

EU rules so far allowed the aggregation of state pensions and the possibility to carry across borders occupational pensions, which are paid by employers. But the market of private pensions remained fragmented.

The new product is expected to benefit especially young people, who tend to move more frequently across borders, and the self-employed, who might not be covered by other pension schemes. 

According to a survey conducted in 16 countries by Insurance Europe, the organisation representing insurers in Brussels, 38 percent of Europeans do not save for retirement, with a proportion as high as 60 percent in Finland, 57 percent in Spain, 56 percent in France and 55 percent in Italy. 

The groups least likely to have a pension plan are women (42% versus 34% of men), unemployed people (67%), self-employed and part-time workers in the private sector (38%), divorced and singles (44% and 43% respectively), and 18-35 year olds (40%).

“As a complement to public pensions, PEPP caters for the needs of today’s younger generation and allows people to better plan and make provisions for the future,” EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness said on March 22nd, when new EU rules came into effect. 

The scheme will also allow savers to sign up to a personal pension plan offered by a provider based in another EU country.

Who can sign up?

Under the EU regulation, anyone can sign up to a pan-European personal pension, regardless of their nationality or employment status. 

The scheme is open to people who are employed part-time or full-time, self-employed, in any form of “modern employment”, unemployed or in education. 

The condition is that they are resident in a country of the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area). The PEPP will not be available outside these countries, for instance in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

PEPP providers can offer a maximum of six investment options, including a basic one that is low-risk and safeguards the amount invested. The basic PEPP is the default option. Its fees are capped at 1 percent of the accumulated capital per year.

People who move to another EU country can continue to contribute to the same PEPP. Whenever a consumer changes the country of residence, the provider will open a new sub-account for that country. If the provider cannot offer such option, savers have the right to switch provider free of charge.  

As pension products are taxed differently in each state, the applicable taxation will be that of the country of residence and possible tax incentives will only apply to the relevant sub-account. 

Savers who move residence outside the EU cannot continue saving on their PEPP, but they can resume contributions if they return. They would also need to ask advice about the consequences of the move on the way their savings are taxed. 

Pensions can then be paid out in a different location from where the product was purchased. 

Where to start?

Pan-European personal pension products can be offered by authorised banks, insurance companies, pension funds and wealth management firms. 

They are regulated products that can be sold to consumers only after being approved by supervisory authorities. 

As the legislation came into effect this week, only now eligible providers can submit the application for the authorisation of their products. National authorities have then three months to make a decision. So it will still take some time before PEPPs become available on the market. 

When this will happen, the products and their features will be listed in the public register of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). 

For more information: 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.