A Student's Budget Guide to Gothenburg

Navigate your way through Gothenburg without breaking the bank. This guide covers practical tips for managing finances effectively, from finding affordable groceries to enjoying low-cost entertainment options in the city.

A Student's Budget Guide to Gothenburg
Photo from National Geographic

Moving to a new city as a student can be quite a financial undertaking, especially if you're studying abroad. Gothenburg, with its mesmerizing archipelago and vibrant city life, is a dream destination for many international students. And while it's true that living in Sweden can be expensive, it's entirely possible to live here on a student budget. With careful planning and local insights, you can manage your finances effectively and enjoy what Gothenburg has to offer without breaking the bank.


One of the significant expenses you'll have as a student is housing. Rent in Gothenburg can vary greatly, depending on the location, size, and type of accommodation. On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from 3000 to 6000 SEK ($333 to $666) per month for a room in a shared apartment. Keep in mind that the closer to the city center or university, the more expensive the rent can be.

Shared accommodation is often the most economical choice for students. Not only do you split the cost of rent, but utilities, internet, and other shared expenses like cleaning supplies are divided, making it more affordable.

However, finding the right accommodation and roommates can be a challenge. That's where services like Hemavi can make this task significantly easier. Hemavi is a matchmaking service for roommates and shared accommodation. We focus on safety, compatibility, and match you with roommates that have similar lifestyles, preferences, and habits. This ensures a harmonious living situation and helps avoid potential conflicts.

Don't forget to consider the cost of a security deposit when moving into a new place. This is usually equivalent to one or two months' rent and is refunded at the end of your lease, provided the property is left in good condition.

Also, consider getting a home insurance. It may not be the first thing on your mind when moving to a new city, but it’s a wise investment. Home insurance covers not only your personal belongings but also liability, which can be crucial if you accidentally cause damage to the property. The cost can vary depending on the coverage, but expect to pay around 100-200 SEK ($11-$22) per month.

Housing may take up a big chunk of your budget, but remember, it's also your home away from home. With careful planning and the right resources, you can find a comfortable, affordable place to live during your time in Gothenburg.


When budgeting for your living expenses in Gothenburg, don't forget to factor in utilities. Depending on the type of accommodation you choose and your consumption, utilities can cost anywhere from 300 to 600 SEK ($33 to $66) per month. This includes electricity, water, and heating.

The good news is that in many student housing options, the cost of utilities is included in the rent. However, this isn't always the case, particularly in private rentals. So, make sure you understand what's included in your rent and what isn't.

Internet is another vital utility, especially for students. Most housing options will have internet access, but the cost may or may not be included in the rent. If it's not, the cost can range from 200 to 400 SEK ($22 to $44) per month, depending on the speed and data limit you choose.

Finally, remember to factor in the cost of a mobile phone plan. There are many affordable options in Sweden, with plans offering unlimited calls and SMS, plus a good amount of data for around 200 SEK ($22) per month.


Transportation is an important factor to consider when planning your budget in Gothenburg. Public transportation in the city is extensive and efficient, with a network of trams, buses, and ferries. A single ticket costs around 30 SEK ($3.3), but if you're planning to use public transport frequently, a monthly pass might be a more economical choice. A monthly pass, which allows unlimited travel on all city buses, trams, and ferries, costs 775 SEK ($86).

However, if you're looking to save on transportation costs and also get some exercise, consider investing in a bicycle. Gothenburg is a very bike-friendly city with numerous dedicated cycling paths. A second-hand bike can cost anywhere from 1000 to 3000 SEK ($111 to $333), but it's a one-time expense and can significantly reduce your transportation costs in the long run. Plus, it's an eco-friendly option! f you decide to get a bike, remember to budget for a good lock and perhaps a helmet. Bike theft can be a problem in the city, so investing in a sturdy lock is a must. Also, during winter, cycling may be more challenging due to icy conditions. Therefore, you might need to rely on public transportation or other means of travel during these months.

Additionally, for out-of-town trips or special occasions, car sharing services can be a cost-effective option compared to owning a car. Services such as Sunfleet and M, have a range of vehicles available, and you only pay for the time you use the car, including insurance and fuel. This can be a great option for trips to places not easily accessible by public transportation, or when you need to transport large items.

No matter how you choose to get around, remember that safety should always be a priority. Follow local laws and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable commute.

Groceries on a Budget

One of the first things you'll need to figure out is where to get affordable groceries. Stores like Willys, Lidl, and Netto offer a wide range of products at reasonable prices. A weekly grocery bill for a student can average around 600-800 SEK ($70-$90). Keep an eye out for weekly deals and discounts. Additionally, purchasing store brands over name brands can significantly lower your grocery bills.

Miscellaneous Costs


When it comes to shopping for clothes and household items, second-hand shops like Myrorna, Stadsmission, and Emmaus are great places to score deals. Not only will you save money, but you'll also be supporting sustainable consumption. You can find clothing items for as low as 50 SEK ($5.5) and furniture items starting around 100 SEK ($11).

Eating Out

If you enjoy eating out, take advantage of lunch deals offered by many restaurants. Between 11 am and 2 pm, you can get a "dagens rätt" (dish of the day), which often includes a main dish, salad, bread, and coffee, all for a reasonable price of around 75-100 SEK ($8-$11). Don't forget to check out food trucks and street food, which can be an affordable and delicious option.


For entertainment, Gothenburg offers plenty of free or low-cost options. Parks like Slottsskogen and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden are free to enter and perfect for a picnic or a walk. Many museums have days when entry is free or discounted, usually around 60 SEK ($7).

Studying and Workspaces

If you need a quiet place to study or work, consider the city's libraries. They provide free Wi-Fi and a calm environment. Moreover, Gothenburg has numerous cozy cafés where you can spend hours studying over a cup of coffee. A 'fika' (coffee break) in a café might cost you around 50 SEK ($5.5), and it's an essential part of Swedish culture that you should experience.

Fitness and Recreation

Maintaining your fitness while studying abroad doesn't need to be expensive. As we've already mentioned, Gothenburg has numerous parks and hiking trails, perfect for jogging or a workout. Moreover, the city has several affordable gyms and sports clubs, where monthly membership can start from 200 SEK ($22). Don't forget to check if your university provides discounted or free sports facilities.


With a bit of planning and savvy spending, living in Gothenburg on a student budget is not just feasible, but also enjoyable. By saving on everyday expenses, you can have a bit more to splurge on the experiences that make studying in this city truly memorable. And with Hemavi, you can ensure that your accommodation is not just affordable, but also safe and compatible with your lifestyle.

Don't forget to take advantage of student discounts! Many places, including museums, cinemas, and even some restaurants, offer discounts to students. A student card can cost around 100 SEK ($11) for an annual subscription but can save you a lot more in the long run.

Navigating through life in Gothenburg as a student doesn't need to be financially stressful. By following these tips and making smart choices, you can comfortably live, study, and enjoy all the city has to offer while staying within your budget. The ultimate goal is to have an enriching and enjoyable time during your stay in Gothenburg, and that is entirely possible, even on a student budget.