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How to have a fulfilling social life in Norway without breaking the bank

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How to have a fulfilling social life in Norway without breaking the bank
With our guide it shouldn't be a choice between making friends and affording to be able to afford the other essentials. Pictured are beach goers in Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

While everything in Norway is expensive, having an active social life and reasonable quality of life shouldn't break the bank.

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Tourists and residents alike find themselves exasperated with how much everything costs in Norway. Everything from a routine grocery shop to simple pleasures like a cup of coffee is more expensive than anywhere else in Europe.

A big part of feeling settled in new surroundings involves finding your feet socially and a new crowd to fit in with. For the most part, friends really do make everything better. However, given how pricey it is to go out to a restaurant or for a few drinks, the cost of making new memories and meeting new people can feel like an expensive barrier to a reasonable quality of life.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though, and we’ve laid out our tips for how you can still maintain a healthy social life without forcing yourself into bankruptcy.
Sacrificing nights out for nights in

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Sacrifice a night out for a night in

There are many countries across Europe and the wider world where eating out and sharing a bottle of wine a couple of times a week is affordable and a key cultural pillar when it comes to socialising.

Therefore, nationals from these countries can find it difficult if their habit of eating good food, drinking good wine and sharing laughs and discussions over dinner is suddenly out of their financial reach.

Eating out in Norway is either a weekly, fortnightly or monthly treat that requires more planning and consideration for your budget than in other places.

However, it is still possible to maintain this lifestyle, albeit with a bit of compromise. What you could do is switch one of the meals out for inviting friends over.

While groceries in Norway are expensive, it’s very common for guests to offer to split the shopping bill with their host or cover dinner at theirs another time.

This will allow you to have at least one (depending on your cooking skills) high-quality meal with the company to match a week.

Embracing the great outdoors

Even in Oslo, there are quite a few locals whose social life revolves entirely around being outdoors and making the most of the surrounding nature at all times of the year.

Learning to love nature and being willing to take the occasional step into the unknown or trying a new activity for the first time could be a real boost to your quality of life.

Numerous clubs and social media groups are dedicated to connecting like-minded people interested in the same activities. Still, you may also already know someone who wouldn’t mind the extra company on their next hike or cross-country ski trip.

Not only that but Norwegians are only too happy to show somebody from another country the ropes to a hobby or activity, and you may find them more open or chatty than in other social settings.

Banding together with a group of fellow newbies is also another idea. Everyone will share the common ground of being a beginner or novice, which should lead to some laughs and bonding along the way.

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However, we are sure you will be quick to point out that equipment in Norway costs an absolute fortune, but don’t worry, as we’ve got that covered.

Knowing where to get equipment for free or extremely cheap

Norwegians are often more proud of their sports or leisure equipment, be that a hammock, a bike, a set of skis, or a waterproof jacket, than they are gadgets and other trinkets.

Unfortunately, all this gear which most locals accumulate over a lifetime can cost eye-watering sums. Being fully equipped for alpine skiing can easily cost over 10,000 kroner before you even think about a lift pass.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of places where you can get cheap or completely free equipment. Most towns will have a BUA, a volunteer-run centre which rents out equipment for free or a small deposit to locals.

These centres will have everything from touring skis to tents and camping gear to crash helmets. These aren’t the only places to get some equipment on the lowdown. Listing sites like Finn.no often have good second-hand bargains, as do flea markets and Facebook buying and selling groups. With the flea markets, those run by sports clubs are best as the equipment being sold is often checked to make sure it is safe.

And finally, being able to borrow bits of kit from your growing list of friends and acquaintances should also help keep costs down.

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Keep things simple

To Norwegians’ credit, they have a knack for keeping things simple. Often the company is just as important as the activity or event itself.

Therefore there’s no need to overcomplicate things with grand plans or the hassle of securing a place in the hottest spots in the city. Sometimes all you need is a few hot dogs to throw on a disposable grill in one of Norway’s many parks, forests and fields (rules on open fires permitting).

The added benefit to this is that it also keeps costs down too.

Join a club or group

Social media has connected the world in a way never seen before. Making the most of clubs or small communities is a great way to spread your wings and cut costs.

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For example, suppose you are a member of a social media group for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. In that case, you could enquire whether anyone would be willing to split the cost of a bucket list activity, like a road trip or a famous hike like Trolltunga.

This will divide the costs and help you meet new friends or solidify existing relationships. However, when planning such activities with strangers, always remember to exercise caution for safety reasons and because you aren’t guaranteed to like each other.

Traditional groups and clubs, such as for sports, culture or the performing arts, are also a great way to join a small community of like-minded people. While membership fees can be expensive upfront, they can be a cheap way to ensure you are socialising with others while doing something you like regularly.

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