I know of a lot of people who want to live in Norway because it is a ‘rich’ country. They figure that if the country is rich then working there would make them rich too. But, being a rich country also means it is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Therefore ‘richness’ is basically evened out. Everything is relative.
Oslo, is usually the most expensive place to live for expats in the world. Only in the last six months Caracus, Venezuela took over. Now Oslo is second in the world, but has kept its first place in Europe. Also, it is expected that Oslo will regain its position when there is a ‘devaluation of the bolivar‘ in Venezuela, which is expected but hasn’t hit yet.
I’ve seen a dramatic price raise with everything over the last year, especially with food. A regular can of b-grade baked beans that I could usually get for about 5 kroner is now 15 (abt $1 to $3). Heinz Baked Beans are just too expensive to sell – no one will buy it here. Tine Yoghurt has been hard pressed in the papers for their tricks. They made their containers smaller and hiked up their prices meaning we are now paying around 40% more. A bottle of coke at Rema (the cheapest supermarket chain in Norway) used to be around 15 kroner, now it’s pushing 25 (abt $3 to $5). Cherries have been 100 kroner for a kilo (abt $20 per kilo). These prices are from a little city above the Arctic Circle, Alta, but Oslo is more expensive.
Our family now pays around twice as much for food as we did a year ago. It is very expensive to live on fresh, healthy food and sometimes the shops don’t even bother to get in certain foods for the week because they are just too expensive for people to buy. The cheapest food is in boxes, cans or frozen. Stats Norway has just released new information reveling that 50% of Norway is now overweight.
It is much cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent, if you have a spare 500,000 kroner for a deposit (abt $100,000). But the problem for many Norwegians nowadays, as the papers keep telling us, especially those living in smaller cities, is that they are in too much debt to get home loans.
If Norwegians are feeling the pinch, expats must be getting the punch!
Two years back I remember Norway in the papers boasting about not being affected by the world financial crisis. Southern Europeans were flocking up north to get away from their own country’s financial issues. Now it looks like Norway has to eat its words and there are likely a whole bunch of immigrated people struggling to survive in Norway.
If you are financially stable and have a good job in Norway, things are likely still good, yes. But if you have limited funds and are moving to Norway only on the hope you will get a job, there will be very tough times ahead.
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