Studying in Stockholm: A Student's Guide to Planning your Finances

Learn how to plan your finances for studying in Stockholm as a student, including accommodation, living costs, and saving tips.

Studying in Stockholm: A Student's Guide to Planning your Finances
Photo by Stockholm University

Scandinavia, with its picturesque cities and breathtaking polar landscapes, is often considered an expensive destination. The cost of living in Sweden can sometimes catch students planning to study abroad off guard. Fear not, though, as proper financial planning can make living in Sweden not just affordable but also quite manageable.

In this guide, we'll cover the main aspects of a student budget in Stockholm, providing insights on living costs, accommodation, and tips to save money.


Finding accommodation in Stockholm can be particularly challenging. The student union of your university might be able to help in some cases, but they are not obliged to do so. Students are advised to contact student housing agencies where they can opt to rent a private or shared flat.

The cost of accommodation in Stockholm can vary depending on the location, type of accommodation, and facilities offered. The average rent for a small apartment in Stockholm is often more than SEK 12,000 per month. You can expect to pay more if you are looking for a furnished apartment or a place in the city center.

Sharing an apartment with other students can be a more affordable option. On average, for a room rented as part of a 2-3 bedroom shared flat with a shared kitchen and bathroom, you can expect to pay around SEK 5,500 in rent per month.

One of the best ways to find accommodation is through Hemavi, a matchmaking platform for roommates and shared accommodation. Hemavi focuses on safety and compatibility between roommates, ensuring a comfortable living situation for all parties involved.

Permit Costs

All non-EU/EEA/EEA students must obtain a residence permit before moving to Sweden. To qualify for a permit, students must prove they have at least SEK 3,700 per month for 10 months to support themselves while studying. The application fee for the permit is SEK 1,500.

Living Costs

Living costs in Stockholm can be relatively high, but with proper budgeting, it is manageable for students. Here's a breakdown of the average monthly expenses you can expect while living in Stockholm:


Other expenses that international students should consider include utilities, internet, and entertainment. The cost of utilities can vary depending on the type of accommodation, but you can expect to pay around SEK 500 per month. The cost of internet can range from SEK 200 to SEK 500 per month. Entertainment options such as movies, concerts, and other events can be costly, with prices varying depending on the event.


Eating out in Stockholm can be expensive, but cooking your meals at home can be more cost-effective. The cost of groceries can vary depending on where you shop, but you can expect to pay around SEK 3,000 per month for groceries. Fast food and takeaway meals can be more expensive, while mid-range restaurants can cost around SEK 200 to SEK 250 per meal.

Leisure Activities and Entertainment

Depending on how often you're planning on going out and the types of activities you're going to engage in, the cost of entertainment can range between SEK 1,000 – SEK 1,500 per month.

These expenses can vary depending on your lifestyle and personal preferences, so it's important to create a budget tailored to your needs.


Stockholm is known for having an excellent public transportation system, which is highly recommended for getting around the city. The primary provider of public transportation in Stockholm is the Stockholm Public Transport (SL) system, which operates a variety of options including buses, trains, trams, and the metro.

The cost of public transportation in Stockholm varies depending on factors such as how long you plan to stay in the city and how frequently you plan to use public transportation. There are several options for travel cards, including:

  • Single-use tickets: Ranges from SEK 44 to SEK 61 depending on the length of your journey.
  • Travel cards: Unlimited travel on public transportation within a certain time frame. For example, a 24-hour travel card for Stockholm costs SEK 155, while a 7-day travel card costs SEK 335.
  • Monthly travel card: If you plan to stay in Stockholm for a month or longer, a monthly travel card may be the most cost-effective option. The cost of a monthly travel card varies depending on the zones you plan to travel in, but typically ranges from SEK 780 to SEK 1,200.
  • Semester card: If you are studying in Stockholm for a full semester, you may be eligible for a discounted semester card. These cards provide unlimited travel within your chosen zones for the entire semester, and can be purchased through your university. The cost of a semester card varies depending on the zones you plan to travel in, but typically ranges from SEK 2,000 to SEK 3,000.

As an international student, you may be eligible for a student discount on public transportation. To receive the discount, you will need to present your student ID card and your personal identity number (personnummer). The discount varies depending on the type of travel card you purchase, but typically ranges from 15% to 35% off the regular price.

Photo by PNC

Financing your Studies in Stockholm

Saving Tips

There are several ways to save money while studying in Stockholm:

  1. Utilize student discounts: Always carry your student ID with you, as many businesses offer student discounts on everything from food to transportation.
  2. Cook at home: Eating out can be expensive in Stockholm, so try to cook at home as much as possible. Shop at budget-friendly grocery stores such as Lidl, Willys, and ICA.
  3. Use public transportation: Stockholm has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. Make use of the student discount on SL cards for buses, trams, and the metro.
  4. Buy second-hand: Listings on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace are great places to find second-hand furniture, electronics, and even clothing at affordable prices. Second-hand stores like Myrorna and Stadsmissionen are also worth checking out.
  5. Enjoy free activities: Stockholm offers plenty of free activities and attractions, such as exploring its numerous parks, visiting free museums, and attending cultural events.
  6. Remember to embrace the Swedish concept of 'lagom,' which encourages balance and moderation in all aspects of life. This mindset will not only help you maintain a budget but also promote a well-rounded, fulfilling experience during your time in Stockholm.


Scholarships can be a great way to finance your studies in Sweden. The Swedish Institute offers over 500 scholarships each year to international students and researchers, although competition for these scholarships can be intense. Most of these scholarships are for Master's level or research students.

In addition to the scholarships offered by the Swedish Institute, many Swedish universities also offer their own scholarships and funding opportunities. These may be based on academic merit, financial need, or other criteria. Be sure to research the scholarship and funding options available to you and apply for as many as possible to increase your chances of success.

Working while Studying

If you are enrolled in a course in Sweden, you are allowed to work part-time alongside your studies. However, it may be difficult to find work as a non-Swedish speaker, so it's important to consider this when planning your finances. EEA and EU citizens are allowed to work in Sweden without a work and residence permit, but if you are not from one of these countries, you will need a permit.

There are also restrictions on how many hours you can work while studying in Sweden. If you are enrolled in a full-time program, you are only allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and full-time during holidays. Be sure to check with your university and the Swedish Migration Board to ensure that you are following all the necessary rules and regulations.


Overall, international students should budget up to SEK 10,000 per month for living expenses in Stockholm. While studying in Sweden may be costly, with proper planning and budgeting, it is definitely manageable.

Be sure to research all the available funding options and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Consider working part-time, but be aware of the restrictions on how many hours you can work. With some effort and preparation, you can make the most of your study abroad experience in Sweden.

One of the best ways to save money and get a great start to your stay in Sweden is to live with roommates. We recommend to find accommodation through Hemavi, which a matchmaking platform for roommates and shared accommodation. Hemavi focuses on safety and compatibility between roommates, ensuring a comfortable living situation for all parties involved.