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Moving to Sweden – public transport, taxes and living costs

by Justyna BartaMoving to Sweden

If you moving to Sweden from the UK, you may be interested in a few aspects of living in this country. Here at MyCheapRemovls, we not only offer unbeatable on-price international removal services – we gathered some very useful details about public transport, the taxation system and living costs.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN SWEDEN

Swedes use their public transportation frequently. There are various types of coupons according to each city’s bus, metro, or tram system. These are usually bought in kiosks, information centres, or an app.

The public transport system in Sweden is one of Europe’s most efficient. There’s a comprehensive train network in the south of the country; in the north travelling by train isn’t quite so easy, as many loss-making branch lines have been closed. However, it’s still possible to reach the main towns in the north by train, and where train services no longer exist, buses generally cover the same routes.

By train

Other than flying, train travel is the quickest and easiest way of covering Sweden’s vast expanses. The service is generally excellent and prices are not that high. At holiday times and between mid-June and mid-August, trains are often heavily booked; it’s worth making reservations (often compulsory) as far in advance as you can.

Individual train tickets are rarely cost-effective and visitors doing a lot of touring by train may be better off buying a train pass such as InterRail. A one-country InterRail pass for Sweden allows up to eight days’ travel in one month and starts at £153. If you do need to buy an individual ticket, it’s worth knowing that the sooner you buy it the cheaper it will be. The cheapest tickets, limited in number, cost 95kr on most SJ routes (195kr on express trains) and are available up to ninety days before departure. Reserved seats on Swedish trains are not marked, so although a seat may be free it may not be so.

By bus

Although bus travel is a little less expensive than going by train, long-distance buses are generally less frequent, and so much slower that they aren’t a good choice for long journeys. Most long-distance buses are operated by one of two companies, Swebus and Nettbuss. Departures on Friday and Sunday cost more than on other days; a standard single ticket from Stockholm to Gothenburg, for example, costs 240kr.

Regional buses are particularly important in the north, where they carry mail to isolated areas. Several companies operate daily services, and their fares are broadly similar to one another’s (usually 250–350kr for a 1–2hr journey). Major routes are listed in the “Destinations” sections within each chapter, and you can pick up a comprehensive timetable at any bus terminal.

By car

As far as road conditions go, driving in Sweden is a dream. Traffic jams are rare (in fact in the north of the country yours will often be the only car on the road), roads are well maintained, and motorways, where they exist, are toll-free. The only real hazards are reindeer (in the north), elk, and deer, which wander onto the road without warning. It’s difficult enough to see them at dusk, and when it’s completely dark all you’ll see are two red eyes as the animal leaps out in front of your car. If you hit an elk or deer, not only will you know about it (they’re as big as a horse), you’re bound by law to report it to the police.

To drive in Sweden you’ll need your full license; an international driving license isn’t required. Speed limits are 110kph on motorways, 70kph or 80kph, or 90kph on main roads; and 30kph, 40kph, or 50kph in built-up areas. For cars towing caravans, the limit is 80kph. Fines for speeding are levied on the spot. You must drive with your headlights on 24 hours a day. Studded tires for driving on snow and ice are allowed between October 1 and April 30, longer if there’s still snow on the ground; when in use they must be fitted to all wheels.
Swedish drink-driving laws are among the strictest in Europe, and random breath tests are commonplace. Basically, you can’t have even one beer and still be under the limit; the blood alcohol level is 0.2 per cent. If you’re found to be over the limit you’ll lose the right to drive in Sweden and face a fine (often) and a prison sentence (not infrequently).

Cycling

Some parts of the country were made for cycling: Stockholm, the southern provinces, and Gotland in particular are ideal for a leisurely bike ride. Many towns are best explored by bike, and tourist offices, campsites, and youth hostels often rent them out for around 150kr a day. There are a lot of cycle paths in towns, which are often shared with pedestrians.

TAXES IN SWEDEN

Local taxes are levied on employment income at rates ranging from 29% to 36%.

A basic deduction is allowed for both local and state purposes. For 2020, the amount of the basic local and state deduction ranges from a minimum of SEK 13,900 to a maximum of SEK 36,500. However, this doesn’t imply that all income over SEK 13,900 is taxed because no tax is payable if the total income doesn’t exceed SEK 20,000 (for 2020). Accordingly, the personal deduction doesn’t apply to this level of income. Beyond an income level of SEK 20,000, the personal deduction supersedes the exemption rule. The personal deduction is subject to proration if people are part-year residents.

Non-residents who perform work in Sweden are taxed at a flat rate of 25%, and no deductions are allowed. This tax is imposed as a final withholding tax. Non-resident entertainers and artists are subject to reduced tax at a flat rate of 15%. A special application form needs to be filed with the Swedish tax agency to get a decision for non-resident taxation.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Sweden?

If you talk to anyone about Sweden, chances are their top remark will be “I hear it’s really expensive”. On the one hand, they’re not wrong! Sweden is one of the world’s most expensive countries. You’ll likely have some sticker shock as you adjust to your new home – especially if you accidentally wander into a tourist-trap restaurant or shop! But there’s another side to the cost of living abroad in Sweden. A huge host of services, attractions, and amenities are publically funded. From national parks to city green spaces, from libraries to children’s recreation, there are excellent value-focused public spaces and services. Prices are indeed high in Sweden, but the quality of life is arguably even higher.

Everyday expenses fluctuate depending on where you live, but overall the average cost of living in Sweden is high. The bulk of this high cost is due to rent prices, which climb by about 1% each year. In recent years, Sweden has experienced a housing shortage thanks to a growing demand by people flocking to the country for a high quality of life, yet not enough housing to accommodate them.

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is also its most costly city. Gothenburg and Uppsala are the next cities on the list. Cities like Nykvarn and Södertälje are substantially less expensive.

Stockholm’s Average Monthly Costs (Excluding Rent):

  • A Family of four: 34,000 SEK or 2,750 GBP
  • Single person: 12,000 SEK or 960 GBP

Average Monthly Costs in Uppsala (Excluding Rent):

  • A Family of four: 33,000 SEK or 2,630 GBP
  • Single person: 9,000 SEK or 750 GBP

Average Monthly Costs in Gothenburg (Excluding Rent):

  • A Family of four: 31,500 SEK or 2,500 GBP
  • Single person: 9,000 SEK or 750 GBP

Utility expenses in Sweden are quite low compared to Swedish rental prices. Most rentals come with Wi-Fi included in the fee since first-hand rental contracts are hard to come by, making it difficult for tenants to sign up for internet without a lease. Water and electricity are frequently supplied as well. Basic utilities might cost around 1,300 SEK on average (105 GBP).

FOOD COSTS

What about the cost of food in Sweden? Emigrants spend roughly 180 GBP per month on meals. This is dependent on your eating habits, whether you cook, and other factors. If you buy food from low-cost supermarkets like ‘Lidl’ or ‘Willy’s’, or from outlets on the outskirts of the city, you can save money.

A meal in a Swedish restaurant will set you back between 7 and 10 GBP. In a typical restaurant, a three-course meal for two costs between 40 and 60 GBP. A simple drink with your coworkers in a bar will set you back 5 GBP.

 

ITEMSEKGBP
One dozen of eggs282.50
One bottle of wine1006-12
Half a litre of beer171.50
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant12010
One litre of gas/petrol161.6 – 2.0

Prices are checked on November 2022

Sweden is a wonderful country with plenty of things to offer its residents. But before you move, it’s important to know what the pros and cons of living in Sweden are so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right place for you.

I have been living in Stockholm since 2018. Sweden was not part of my list when thinking about the countries I would love to live in until I learned more about it.

Some say it’s difficult for foreigners to integrate into Swedish society, and some are easy. But what is it? What are the pros and cons of living in Sweden?

PROSS OF LIVING IN SWEDEN

  1. Excellent Workplace Environment.
    Employment in Sweden affords you the ability to enjoy your holidays for the year. It is normal for people beginning a job to start with at least five paid vacations in the first year of working. Also, there are opportunities to earn more time off as you scale through the ranks and become a senior employee.
    Similarly, Swedish parents get almost 500 days of parental leave at their disposal, for which they get paid. This grants everyone an opportunity to connect and spend quality time with their newborn.
    These days get shared between the two parents, and they are free to use them as they please. Typically, parents with a new baby can get up to 60 days away from work, while working at 80% capacity. This ensures that they have income for their household.
  2. Education Is Almost Free
    Education is crucial, therefore universities and colleges in Sweden are free for native citizens and European Union members. That isn’t to imply that students aren’t left destitute. Even yet, this sum is almost 30% lower than what students in the United Kingdom must pay by the time they graduate.
    However, if you don’t live beyond your limits, find reasonable housing, and keep track of your eating expenses, you may get a good education in Sweden without spending a lot of money.
  3. Extensive Healthcare Opportunities
    Even though many people have the perception that Sweden has a universal healthcare system, this perception is not completely accurate. Citizens usually pay 100kr to 250kr each time they visit the doctor.
    The maximum cost within the confines of this system is 1,000kr per visit. However, once you’ve reached this threshold, which is the highest amount that you can be charged, all your other visits cost nothing. Healthcare is excellent in Sweden and if you’re under 20 years of age it’s entirely free.
  4. Great Public Transportation
    Sweden has great public transportation that is expertly woven throughout the cities and suburbs.
    Individuals who wish to get around from one city to another or from the suburbs to the city and back for work or other endeavours can easily hop on a tram, train, bus, or other mass transit option.
    This area is known for being much safer than other cities and has less congestion and more direct routes with fewer stops to help cut down on transit time.
    Individuals who do not have a vehicle will not find it much of a hassle if they live anywhere near a major city or a suburb of a city.
    However, individuals living in remote areas will need a vehicle to get to urban areas.
  5. Incredible Standard of Living
    Sweden has one of the best standards of living, if anywhere in the world.
    There is very little poverty and almost no homeless individuals living in the country.
    Plenty of programs and systems have been installed that work in conjunction with the government to ensure that residents have a better-than-average standard of life and many additional opportunities offered to them for little to no cost.

CONS OF LIVING IN SWEDEN

Sweden offers many benefits to its citizens or individuals who decide to move to this country, but some downsides to living there are important to understand before deciding if it is right for your lifestyle.

  1. High Taxes
    Sweden has a very high tax rate to help support its various public and government projects.
    These high taxes are used to fund things such as healthcare, schools, and public programs.
    Although Sweden may have a reasonable cost of living, it is essential to be sure to understand how taxes work, the deadlines for preparing them, and how much they will be.
  2. Difficult to Make Friends
    The people who live in Sweden are not as open and friendly or as welcoming as individuals from other areas of the world.
    People tend to be reserved and keep to themselves, making becoming acquainted with people who live there or even making new friends challenging.
    It may take several months and some effort to connect with people who live there.
    The best way to make friends in Sweden is to join others in hobbies or community activities.
  3. Unusual Weather Conditions
    Because of Sweden’s latitude, there are more hours of darkness than sunlight.
    During some parts of the year, Sweden may get up to 6 hours of sunlight per day for a portion of the year.
    However, there are long periods of darkness to expect if you plan to move to Sweden.
    Individuals who live in this area take measures to prevent seasonal effects disorders, such as purchasing UV lamps and ensuring they get high doses of vitamin D.
  4. Swedish is a Difficult Language to Learn
    This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s just not easy to learn how to speak Swedish. The sounds and pronunciation are hard to grasp. It might feel like it’s impossible to learn at some points but keep at it. You’ll likely have to invest in a few resources such as textbooks and online courses to help you along the way.
    So you need a lot of patience and to immerse yourself in the culture to better pick up on the language and way of living.
  5. Entertainment Can Get Expensive
    While the entertainment scene is thriving in terms of festivals, casinos, live music venues, and more, some popular entertainment sectors are costly. For example, ticket prices are high for events such as going to the movies, plays at the theatre, concerts, and especially nightclubs.
    You can find yourself paying an entry fee of 150 SEK (about 15 GBP) to get in, another 20 SEK (about 1,50 GBP) to hang your coat up, plus food and drinks for the night.

While there are advantages and disadvantages to almost everything in life, we must say that Sweden is a very attractive destination for relocation. Between the free healthcare, education, delicious food from across the world and the archipelagos, it’s a sight to see!

Enjoy frosty winters and mild summers, constant sporting events, and world-class skiing in the beautiful country of Sweden.

As we mentioned, the cost of living is high, but you’re usually fairly compensated so that you can maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

To help you prepare for the relocation to Sweden, below are the pointers you can use for your moving list:

  • Moving budget ( preparation, trip, etc.),
  • Home search,
  • Required documents,
  • Moving essentials,
  • Items to pack.

To have a smooth relocation, you should be well prepared.
Remember to make a moving list first, and engage the international removal company. A professional moving company like MyCheapRemovals, will ship your belongings to Sweden and save you from carrying heavy luggage on your trip.


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