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Six money-saving hacks for students in Sweden

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Six money-saving hacks for students in Sweden
Make the most of university life in Sweden. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se
06:59 CEST+02:00
The university year has started, and for anyone working on a tight student budget, Sweden's reputation for being expensive can be a daunting prospect. To make things easier, The Local has rounded up six of our favourite things you can save money on as a student. You may be surprised.

1. Food

One of the biggest challenges as a student is working out how much money you need to dedicate to the boring necessity of food every month, and it can be easy to misjudge, run out of funds and end up living off eggs for weeks as a result, alternatively Sweden's weirdly popular ketchup on pasta.

Sweden was in 2016 revealed to have the EU's second-highest food prices, so finding the right balance can certainly be a challenge, but there are a few tricks you can use to make it easier.

If you're in a hurry, supermarkets often offer discounts to holders of a Swedish Studentkort. There are plenty of other offers available and you can get the card for free through signing up on the company's website.

On a student budget you won't be eating out every day of course, but there are even ways to save money on groceries. Supermarket chain ICA offers student discounts on a rotating range of food items for students who register with them, with essentials like pasta sauce, toilet paper and bread among the items to be offered at a cut-price previously. What more do you need?

Supermarket chain ICA offer student discounts. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

2. Coffee

Late nights are a guarantee at university, and in that scenario, coffee can be like liquid gold. In Sweden it doesn't always come cheap however, where you can easily pay 35 kronor for a cappuccino or latte.

There is a potential lifeline though. Two of the country's biggest coffee chains, Waynes and Espresso House, both offer student discounts to holders of selected cards. Espresso House have a 10-20 percent discount for holders of the Mecenat card, while students with the Studentkort get 10 percent off takeaway coffee from Waynes. That's one less excuse for falling asleep during lectures.

Coffee is the perfect body fuel. Photo: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se

3. Football

Unlikely as it may sound, it can sometimes be good to give the partying a rest, and even if we're not actually suggesting you get involved in sport, why not go and see one?

Going to watch some Swedish football is a great way to kill an afternoon, and it's also pleasantly affordable. If you're studying in the country's second-biggest city, you may be surprised to know that IFK Gothenburg offer discounted tickets for students, as do their local (second division) rivals, hipster favourites GAIS.

Studying in Uppsala? Local side Sirius IK also offers reduced cost of entry for students. As do many other clubs across the country, so it's worth checking with them before you buy your tickets.

Sirius IK playing against Norrköping on August 20th 2017. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

4. Travel

Sweden may have a small population, but geographically it's a huge country. With so many diverse cities and landscapes, you'll want to see more than just your university and its surrounding area.

Making your way from one city to the next isn't always cheap, but with state-owned rail company SJ offering special student rates on intercity and regional trains, there's a chance you'll find a bargain.

Going further afield? With the distance from Lund to Kiruna for example a mere 1800km, you may want to fly. Some of the carriers running domestic routes like BRA and SAS offer discounts on that mode of transport too, so getting away to see the Northern Lights may not be as unfeasible as it sounds.

Kiruna is a town with a lot of history. Photo: Hans Olof/imagebank.sweden.se

5. Museums

Many of Sweden's museums are free, but some of the best ones aren't, and unless you want to miss out on some of the country's highlights, you're going to have to fork out some cash eventually.

Luckily, plenty will cut money off your fee if you're a student. Stockholm's excellent Fotografiska photography museum slashes 30 kronor off the ordinary admission price for holders of a valid student card. Perhaps the best Swedish museum of them all, the Vasa, cuts 20 kronor off the price.

It's not only in Stockholm that you can save money on paid-entry museums as a student though. Studying in Umeå? Guitars: The Museum – one of the world's biggest privately owned guitar collections – will let you in for 50 kronor less than regular folks. Not bad!

Nordic Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Ingemar Edfalk/imagebank.sweden.se

6. Nights out… of a more cultural kind

Swedes know how to party, and we won't insult your intelligence by telling you how to do that (you'll find out anyway) but what if you fancy a night out of a more cultural kind once in a while?

A night at the opera could be one answer, and that particular art form is strikingly accessible in Sweden. Malmö Opera offer a whopping 50 percent off tickets to holders of CSN or Mecenatkort student cards, Gothenburg Opera give you 25 percent off most performances if you have the Mecenatkort card, while even the Royal Opera in Stockholm has half-price entry if you're under 26.

You aren't likely to find much lower prices for opera anywhere else in Europe, so even if you don't think it's your thing, why not try something different for once? Or you could use it to impress someone else. Your choice. 

Gothenburg Opera. Photo: Torbjörn Skogedal/imagebank.sweden.se

Article first published in 2016 and updated in 2017.

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