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It’s SO Expensive Though!

“How much does it cost to live in Sweden?”

This was a question I was asked quite a bit when we announced that we were moving to Sweden. Yes, it is expensive to live here. BUT, have you ever sat down to figure what you actually pay to live in the United States?

Of course, I too was curious and honestly a bit nervous about the cost of living in Sweden. After all, we read and hear about those taxes that take 60% of your income for those poor Swedes! How can anyone survive on that? Now that we’ve been here for a while, I feel like I can give a pretty fair idea of the actual cost break down here vs. the US.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Illinois?

I’ve done everything by percentage so that I’m not divulging too much of our personal financial situation. Of course, these percentages are unique to us and our situation. Yours may be very different based upon where you live, how much you put into 401K, how many kids you have, etc.

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How Much Does it Cost to Live in Sweden

The following numbers are based upon Johnny’s current salary, as if we were living in Illinois, living in an average priced home, assuming my kids attend public school and Emma a half day preschool. The amount that I figured for school/daycare for the kids was based on average of what parents pay in school supplies and field trips throughout the school year. I’m doubting that % even includes lunch for the kids though, so it may be even higher.

How Much is it to Live in Sweden

All of the above percentages add up to 70.71% of our income. This doesn’t include a housing payment (only the cost of property tax on an average sized house), grocery bill, extra curricular activities, vacations, clothes shopping, etc.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Sweden?

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Sweden
All of the above from the US are included in the Västerås Tax and the Swedish State Tax.

*Each family has a maximum amount that they must pay for medical each year, almost like co-payments in the US. The Out of Pocket percentage assumes we would pay that full amount each year.
All of the above percentages add up to 63.67% of our income. This doesn’t include a housing payment (only the cost of property tax on an average sized house), grocery bill, extra curricular activities, vacations, clothes shopping, etc.

Here in Sweden groceries, clothes, gas, and almost everything is a bit more expensive so that is something to take into account.

The Choice is Yours

As you can see from the numbers above, living in Sweden isn’t really all that expensive when you compare it to the Chicago, Illinois area. These numbers above didn’t even take into account maternity/paternity leave (240 days per parent we’re talking, which can be shared among the parents), an average of 5 weeks vacation per year, no specified number of sick days per year, and free college tuition.

I won’t say that I love EVERYTHING here and that their system isn’t without fault, but depending on your lifestyle and what you want to get out of life, it isn’t a bad option either.