Written by Kjetil Leknes
Norway is a very attractive country to study in. Universities are free or inexpensive for international students, and at a high quality.
While a degree itself might be cheap, the cost of living in Norway can be quite high.
However, it’s easy to save a considerable amount of money while living here. In this article, I will go through the ways I saved on food, shopping, and transportation, while studying in Bergen.
Most of these tips also apply to the rest of the country. So, yeii!
Download the app Mattilbud
The app gathers offers from all major grocery store chains in Norway.
The cheapest grocery stores in Norway tend to be:
- COOP Extra.
If you live near a REMA1000, consider downloading the app Æ, which gives you 10% off the 10 products you buy the most, as well as a 10% discount on all fruits and vegetables.
Kiwi has a free bonus card named Trumf, and all COOP stores have membership cards available for purchase. Many stores also have a clearance section for food near its expiration date.
As most grocery stores are closed on Sundays in Norway, check out these sections on Monday mornings, when the clearance sections tend to have the best selection.
Also, most drink bottles and cans in Norway can be recycled at grocery stores. Small cans (0.5L or less) are 1 NOK (or ~0.1 EUR) each, while cans over 0.5L are 2.50 NOK (~0.3 EUR), so make sure to have a recycling bag to throw bottles in the next time you arrange a party.
Check out Asian or international grocery stores
These stores tend to stock cheaper and better quality fruits and vegetables than many chain grocery stores. In Bergen, Global Food is a good option.
MatSmart is an online grocery store which lets you order nearly expired food. It usually pays off to stock up when you shop, as shipping is somewhat expensive (89 NOK or 9.5 EUR)
Download the app Too Good to Go
This app lets you buy excess food from restaurants and grocery stores. Only a certain number of take-away doggy bags are made available each day, so make sure to be ready to buy food from your favourite restaurant at midnight, when food is made available for purchase.
Go to restaurants during lunchtime
If you decide to check out a restaurant, a good tip is to go during lunch, when there can be considerable discounts on certain menu items. There’s also no need to buy bottled water, as tap water tastes the same way and is completely safe.
Finn.no is Norway’s answer to Craigslist, eBay, or Leboncoin. It’s a classified advertisement site and a portal for jobs, housing, travel or services, as well as for second-hand shopping.
Surf Let’s Deal
For coupons, Let’s Deal is the most used coupon website, and is similar to Groupon.
Online shopping from abroad
Shopping from foreign websites is possible, but be aware that it might incur VAT and tolls. Still, all goods that cost less than 350 NOK (~37.5 EUR), including shipping and insurance, can be shipped toll free to Norway.
Everything above that sum has to be declared in Norwegian customs. For a general guide, check out its official website: https://www.toll.no/en/online-shopping/350-limit/
Transportation and accommodation
Install the Skyss Billett app
The public transportation in the county of Hordaland is covered by Skyss. Student tickets are available through their app, Skyss Billett, or at vending machines throughout the city.
Buying tickets through the app is cheaper than on the bus. If you’re under 21 years old, Skyss’ youth tickets let you travel as much as you want by train, bus, or boat for 365 NOK. A 30-day student ticket for the Bergen area costs 470 NOK (~50 EUR), but can also be extended to zones outside Bergen for an extra charge.
Book train tickets in advance on NSB.no
If you’re planning on going on longer train trips, it pays off to book tickets in advance on NSB.no, as cheap “Minipris” tickets are regularly released and given away on a first come, first served basis.
Their student discounts are also worth checking out, especially if you’re planning on taking the train ride from Bergen to Oslo, as it is regarded as one of the prettiest train rides in the world.
Norway is a very stretched out and sparsely populated country, which, in many cases, makes plane travel necessary. The three major air operators in Norway are SAS, Norwegian and Widerøe. Competition between them is fierce, so flight tickets tend to be very cheap.
In order to save money when travelling around Norway and the rest of the world, get a EuroBonus card to gain access to SAS’ youth tickets, available for anyone under 26. As an example, round trip youth tickets to cities as far-flung as Hong Kong and Los Angeles can be found for as low as about 200 – 300 EUR.
Norwegian is a low-cost airline which is rapidly expanding its route network. Use their discount code UNDER26 for cheap tickets to all Nordic countries, including Iceland.
Widerøe is a regional airline serving most of Norway’s smaller airports. Every summer they release “Norge Rundt”-tickets, which give you up to two weeks of unlimited plane rides throughout Norway for 3990 NOK (~430 EUR). The tickets are perfect for discovering Northern Norway. Lofoten, Senja, and Vesterålen have to be seen.
Camping in Norway is allowed anywhere that isn’t private property, as long as all rubbish is picked up when you leave (https://www.visitnorway.com/plan-your-trip/travel-tips-a-z/right-of-access/). Bring your tent and camp for free all over the country.