Cost of Living

A report was recently released, ranking the world’s most expensive cities to live in. And Oslo – our country’s capital (just north of where we live) – comes in at number four.

Read the report HERE

When we moved to Vancouver, we experienced sticker shock. Everything seemed so expensive. Vancouver is North America’s most expensive city. But after a month or so, we learned where to shop, which brands were the most affordable, and how to join customer reward programs.

And then we arrived in Norway. Sticker shock all over again.

But there are a few things to keep in mind..

  1. Our cost of living was low in the states.
  2. I was a coupon queen. I spent a couple of hours each week with my binder of coupons, scissors, sale ads, and a couple of really good websites. I’ve found some discount programs here, but not the same.
  3. A different currency can throw your brain for a loop! Currently, the exchange rate is about 5.95 Norwegian kroner (nok) to 1 US dollar (USD). So just looking at the prices initially was a bit shocking. Imagine a pack of pasta that might cost the equivalent of $1.80 – but you see 10.90.
  4. Import products are strictly regulated in Norway, and heavily taxed. Most things in the stores are local products, and most are also a very high quality.
  5. Restaurants seem especially expensive. But this is not an eat-out/restaurant culture like our home culture was.
  6. Prices are all-inclusive: the price you see already includes tax.
  7. Prices are higher, but wages are higher as well.
And again, after a while you learn where to shop, what the locals buy, and how to find discounts. You stop converting every price to US dollars, and begin recognizing a good deal when you see one.

EXTREME EXAMPLES

Of course we get funny and interesting reactions every time someone comes to visit us. Here are some extreme examples, things we like to show visitors just for shock value.
  • 79 nok ($13 usd) for a small box of pop-tarts [And no, we don’t buy those!]
  • $4 – 5 usd for a loaf of bread [But it is good, fresh bread, without junk in it] [And this is one reason why I make my own bread!]
  • 4000 nok ($725 usd) for a KitchenA!d stand mixer [Wish I could have brought mine with me]
  • $27 for a large cheese pizza [Yes, we buy these sometimes – and they are so good!]
  • Is that basic bicycle almost $500?” [You learn to take care of your things like these and make them last a long time.]

And just for fun, here is an interesting table from that report, showing some commonly purchased items, and what they cost in US dollars. How do prices in your city stack up to these?

Source: Worldwide Cost of Living 2013

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