Living Expenses in Stockholm and Budgeting Abroad


Managing your finances is an important part of your study abroad experience; we want to equip you with the tools and information you need to feel confident in budgeting before and during your semester.

How Much Money Do You Need for A Semester in Stockholm?

There are certain elements of living in Stockholm, such as dining out, spending time in cafes, and some social activities, that will likely be more expensive than what you’re used to at home. How and where you choose to spend your time outside of DIS will heavily influence your expenses for the semester.

Your DIS housing will cover a portion of your food expenses through either a food stipend purchase card or meals provided, but then you will have personal expenses and food expenses beyond that. Students have spent between $200-550 per month on food expenses beyond their coverage from DIS. This range depends heavily on how much you are eating at restaurants vs. cooking at home.

In addition, past students have reported spending approximately $1000-3000 over the semester for personal expenses that fall into categories such as: toiletries, entertainment, non-meal food and beverage, and travel. A big differentiating factor is travel; students have reflected that focusing their travel more locally (but still across the country) has been more both financially strategic, and provided an even deeper feeling of connection to Sweden. Consider your spending habits within these categories at home and how they will look similar or different abroad.

Read more about estimated costs below.

Find more information about all stipends covered by DIS here

Learn about other inclusions of each housing option (Comprehensive Housing & Support Inclusions)

Planning Your Budget

Creating a plan for your finances abroad starts months before your semester.

Expatistan is a helpful budgeting tool that allows you to compare the price of items and experiences in your city to those in Stockholm. To get started with this tool, write down your expenses for two weeks at home, then plug those numbers into Expatistan to see what the same spending habits would equate to in Stockholm.

Use Expatistan for your budget planning here

Natalie, Furman University, studied abroad for two consecutive semesters in Scandinavia with the help of a scholarship.

Read Natalie’s story here

As Natalie mentions, scholarships can be crucial in your ability to study abroad. We highly encourage you to apply to both DIS scholarships and those offered through different organizations.

Apply for a DIS scholarship here

Traveling During Your Semester

You will likely meet some students who have a lot of travel plans for their semester, and others who plan to invest their time outside of class exploring more locally.

Regardless of if you plan to travel, we recommend you wait to book any trips until you are in Stockholm. At the end of each semester, students have commented that they wish they spent more time getting to know Stockholm and their local neighborhood – so instead of planning out all your weekends before you arrive in Sweden, do some research on how you can explore the greater Stockholm area and fold into local life.

Advice from Past DIS Students on Budgeting Abroad

Below is advice from students on how they budgeted before and during their time at DIS. If you’d like to discuss your budgeting strategy in more detail, call the North American Office and one of our staff would be happy to provide insight.

Make use of DIS resources

During your first week at DIS, you have the opportunity to attend Living Like a Local sessions, where locals and DIS staff share information about deals, discounts, and suggestions for budget friendly activities. Find further budgeting resources in the DIS Navigate app, which you will gain access to before the start of your semester.

Research student discounts

In Sweden, many museums offer student discounts or have days when admission is free.

Find a list of museums in Sweden that offer free or discounted entry

Past students have also recommended looking through course syllabi at the start of the semester to find out about your upcoming Field Studies. If you will be going to a museum or cultural site with one of your courses, it might make sense to wait until that Field Study – rather than paying out of pocket for your visit.

Get involved at DIS and beyond

Look for extracurriculars and other activities offered through DIS. Joining a club or attending events such as New in Town meetups provides an opportunity to build community while seeing different parts of the city.

Learn more about ways to get involved here

Get outdoors

One of the best things about living in Sweden is the access to nature. In Stockholm, you’re never too far from a hiking trail or nature reserve. Whether you want a full day excursion, or simply would like to spend an afternoon picnicking by a lake, there are plenty of opportunities to experience nature and get some fresh air.

Shop secondhand

Loppis, or flea markets, are particularly common during the weekend in Stockholm. Search using this word on Facebook and you can easily find upcoming events where locals sell clothes, vintage items, and other goods.

Read former student blogger Leaf’s guide to second-hand shopping in Stockholm here

Explore the city as locals do

To get inspiration for what to see and do in neighborhoods across the Greater Stockholm Area, check out Neighborhood Guides on the DIS Blog. You can also stop by the Student Hub when you arrive to get ideas and advice from DIS staff.

Find budget friendly guides to neighborhoods across Stockholm on the DIS Blog

Bring your own bag

Many stores in Sweden charge extra for plastic bags. To save money and shop sustainably, bring your own bag whenever you go out shopping.

“Every one of us comes here with different funds available and different priorities in how to distribute them. At DIS, you ultimately have autonomous control over your life and spending. You should expect to meet people who have similar budgets to you, and others whose budgets are drastically different. This is all part of the world; welcome to it!”
– Hildi, Amherst College