Getting thrifty: How to buy second-hand and save money in Norway
The cost of living crisis that has squeezed the personal finances of many Norwegian households in 2022 has spilt over into 2023. The Local has prepared a short guide on how to save money by buying second-hand in Norway.
As is the case in all of Europe, prices in Norway have been soaring for months. From energy to food, all daily expenses have increased, and an increasing number of people living in Norway are looking for ways to save money.
A solution many are flocking to is buying second-hand items.
Buying second-hand comes with a number of benefits attached. Second-hand items tend to be less expensive than brand-new ones, and you also help reduce waste by opting to buy second-hand.
Also, if you decide to buy something second-hand from a local thrift store or online marketplace, you can support small businesses and help to strengthen the local community.
In this article, we will go through some of the most popular options for buying second-hand in Norway.
We’re starting off with the most important online marketplace website and app in Norway, Finn.no. Although it’s more known for real estate listings, it also has a huge second-hand market.
The Finn.no website is among the most popular in Norway in terms of page views (on average, it had around 181 million page views per week in 2010).
On a typical day, there are around 300,000 listings and ads available on Finn.no at any given time, and the platform is used by people from all over the country who wish to sell both products and services.
You can start buying and selling on Finn.no after a short registration process.
Keep in mind that, as is the case with most marketplace platforms on the internet, there are also shady individuals using the platform. Exercise common sense and be cautious before you commit to buying or selling online. As is the case with most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups
Another option often used by Norwegians looking to buy or sell second-hand items is Facebook Marketplace.
The platform offers a broad range of item categories for you to browse, from clothing and electronics to musical instruments and office supplies - to name just a few.
Aside from the Marketplace, a lot of people also use various Facebook groups to sell and buy stuff second-hand.
You will usually be able to identify the Facebook groups that fit your needs by searching for your keyword of interest and adding the name of the city or region in which you reside (for example, if you’re into books and live in the Oslo area, a good search would likely entail something like kjøp/salg av bøker i Oslo.
Take some time to examine the Groups suggested based on your Facebook search and join a few of them.
Make sure to familiarise yourself with group rules and etiquette before you start posting and buying/selling.
eBay and Amazon
The English version of eBay is quite popular with both buyers and sellers in Norway, and you can often find great deals on second-hand items.
It has quite a few useful functionalities, including prices displayed in Norwegian kroner (NOK) if you’re browsing the site from Norway.
Furthermore, while there is no country-specific Amazon store in Norway, Norwegians tend to use Amazon – with the Amazon UK store being the most popular option.
Keep in mind that Norway has strict import duty rules on foreign products, which means you might get charged Norwegian VAT plus processing fees if customs officers stop your parcel.
You can find more information on the fees that apply to purchases from abroad on the website of the Tax Administration here.
Thrift shops and flea markets
The thrifting landscape in Norway is on the rise. Most big cities have both thrift shops and flea markets (there’s the Birkelunded Marked and the Ekeberg Marked in Oslo, Bergensmarkedet in Bergen, and many others!), and Norwegians aren’t shy of taking advantage of the benefits associated with buying second-hand.
Note that spring and autumn are usually the seasons for flea markets and yard sales in Norway.
Fretex, a social enterprise established by The Salvation Army, is the largest second-hand chain store in Norway, and you can find Fretex shops in most Norwegian counties.
There are a total of 40 second-hand stores and one online store operated by Fretex in Norway, and the enterprise also collects used clothes, textiles, and other goods for resale.
You can access the Fretex online shop here.