In recent years, Finland has received loads of positive attention in international media, and it’s no wonder that this attention attracts more and more people to take the leap and move to Finland. So, if you’ve found your way to this page, you have heard these great things about Finland and are considering making a career move by looking for new opportunities in this unique country up north. However, you might be wondering about the cost of living in Finland. Let’s take a deeper dive into what living expenses in Finland are.
Cost of living in Finland
Despite all the positive aspects of living in Finland, you might also have come across people claiming that Finland is an expensive country to live in. Don’t let this scare you since that is not the whole truth. While Finland isn’t the cheapest place to live, it isn’t the most expensive either. Besides, all the above advantages easily tip the scale in Finland’s favor.
If moving to Finland seems like something you’d be interested in, you want to be well-informed before any major life-changing decisions. When you’re thinking of moving to another country, one of the biggest things to consider is, of course, the quality of life in that country, which is closely tied to the cost of living. So, if you want to know more about the Finnish quality of life and living expenses in Finland, you have come to the right place. Keep reading!
Like we said before: don’t let the talk about Finnish prices scare you off. In Finland, the wages, taxes, and cost of living are slightly higher than the EU average. However, many services, such as public healthcare and education, are funded by tax revenue, making them cheaper for residents than in many other countries.
Of course, we must remember that the discussion on what is expensive and what is not is very relative since the perspective varies wildly, depending on where you’re coming from. The cost of living in Finland is, all in all, cheaper than in many countries. Let’s crunch some numbers!
- Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is 28% cheaper to live in than London.
- Living in Finland is 9,8% cheaper than living in the United States.
- If you compare Finland to other Nordic countries, it gets interesting as well: Finland is slightly more expensive than Sweden but still cheaper to live in than Denmark and Norway.
Let’s summarize it even more!
- The estimated monthly costs of a family of four are 4,328 €
- The estimated monthly costs of a single person are 2,204 €
- The cost of living in Finland is cheaper than in 50% of countries in Western Europe.
If you want to find more examples of living expenses in Finland and compare them with those in other countries, you will find more information on the following websites: www.mylifeelsewhere.com and www.expatistan.com.
In the beginning, it’s good that you know the facts and familiarise yourself with some numbers. Doing your homework has never been a bad idea; neither is it now.
Housing in Finland
So, let’s start with housing since you will most likely need some place to live in, like a condo, an apartment, or a house. We don’t recommend camping in Finland, at least not in the winter, though it is the cheapest option.
Housing costs in Finland aren’t that high compared to many other countries. Still, one must remember that living costs vary enormously depending on where one lives within the country itself. Living in the pulsing city centre of Helsinki is a very different thing than living in a smaller town or a more rural area – you know, with cows, trees, and barn cats – you get the drill. Helsinki is the most expensive city to live in, but prices are generally higher in the most prominent Finnish cities, such as Turku and Tampere. Of course, you can still find good deals in and near Helsinki as well. You don’t need to have a sky-high salary to be able to live in the capital.
About one-fifth of Finns’ net income goes to housing costs. However, rents vary in the range of 10-30 € per m², while the average price of owner-occupied homes in Finland is 2,100 € per m².
Examples of housing costs in Finland
- Helsinki, Studio 720 € / 2-room apartment 880 €
- Oulu, Studio 610€ / 2-room apartment 820 €
- Turku, Studio 560 € / 2-room apartment 680 €
Traffic and Transportation
In Finland, distances can be long, especially in the more rural parts of the country, but public transport works well, and the roads are mainly in good condition. Most larger cities have good public transport, usually buses, but Helsinki also offers trams and a subway line. In smaller towns and the countryside, you typically need your own car. If you own a car, you must take out a motor insurance policy (liikennevakuutus). Also, note that winter tires are mandatory in winter. You will see why! Cars are also subject to tax. Gas prices can vary greatly in a short period of time since they are subject to international fluctuations.
Transport tickets can be easily bought via mobile applications and, for those who prefer a monthly transport card, this option is also available.
Examples of transport costs in Finland
- Local bus ticket 3 €
- Monthly transport card in Helsinki 70,60-109,70 €
- Monthly transport card in Turku 55 €
- Vehicle tax starts from 222,65 € / year
- Gas price (per liter) 1,93-2,40 €
If you’re used to spending an evening out, having a few beers for a mere couple of euros, eating out for five bucks, and buying a bottle of wine from the store for 0,99 € – be prepared: You’re going to have to loosen up your purse strings a bit more here in Finland.
Like the rest of the world, Finland hasn’t been immune to inflation and rising prices, especially when it comes to food. Finland’s food prices are generally higher than in many other EU countries, but it depends greatly on the food and the store. For example, the German grocery chain Lidl has managed to lower food prices.
In Finland, food and non-alcoholic beverages cost approximately 20% more than the EU average. However, there are many clever ways to keep your food costs low, like shopping in Lidl, looking for deals, and preparing your food yourself. In the evening, many grocery stores also offer special discounts. What has become increasingly trendy in the last few years is preferring seasonal vegetables, fruit, and berries grown in Finland. From spring to autumn, you can find Finnish produce for much lower prices and excellent quality.
Examples of food prices in Finland
- Minced Meat 400g 3,19 €
- Loaf of bread 2,29 €
- Milk 1 l 1,09 €
- Bananas 1 kg 2,19 €
- Potatoes 1kg 1,39 €
As you might already be aware, the cost of alcohol in Finland is 120 percent higher than the EU average, and the alcohol prices make even the Finns cringe. Maybe that’s why Finns are known for drinking at home in their underpants (kalsarikännit) since alcohol prices are significantly lower in stores (Alko and groceries) than in bars and restaurants. Want to know the good thing? Your liver will most likely be thankful for the high prices.
Healthcare costs in Finland
The public healthcare system in Finland is something special. You are entitled to use public health services if you have a municipality of residence in Finland. Receiving a municipality of residence is easy if you meet certain criteria, including working in Finland for longer. For example, the services of maternity and child health clinics are free of charge for the client. If the total sum of healthcare fees paid during the calendar year exceeds the annual maximum of 692 €, all other services included in the maximum yearly fee will be free of charge for the rest of the year.
In addition to the public health care system, there is a private one, but it is more expensive. If you’re employed by a Finnish company, you’re bound to be covered by the company’s healthcare plan, which means you can also use private healthcare services. The extent of the plan varies between companies. We have good news: if you’re employed by Barona, you will also be covered by the company’s healthcare plan.
Here are some examples that give you the right idea of public healthcare prices. These are the costs for persons covered by Finnish health insurance via Kela. The cost is only partially paid by the patient. The government funds most of the price.
- A doctor’s appointment 20,90 €
- Hospital treatment 50 €/per day
- Emergency 28,30 €
Services and free time: part of your total cost of living in Finland
When moving to Finland to work, it’s equally important to take care of your work-life balance and remember to have fun and relax in your free time. Since the methods of enjoying your free time vary significantly between us individuals, let’s look at the costs of some of the most common things people want to spend their free time with. You can also find many enjoyable things to do outside and in nature that are completely free of charge, like skiing, hiking in the woods, or spending a day on the beach.
Here are some examples of prices related to services and free time.
- Gym membership 28-85 € /month
- Cinema ticket 8-24 €
- Swimming pool entrance 5,50-8,70 €
- Cup of coffee and a piece of cake in a café 8-13 €
If you’re tempted by the idea of moving to Finland for work, we recommend that you listen to your adventure-seeking heart and give it a go! Finland is a wonderful place on many levels, both career-wise and from a personal point of view.
Barona is here to help and assist you in every way and make your career move as smooth and easy as possible. Read more about working in the Nordics and our recruitment services to find out how to get your career dreams started in Finland.
Check out the following sites if you want to find more examples of living expenses in Finland: