Practical Information



Cost of Living

Norway has a reputation of being expensive, and in many ways this is correct. However, it is possible to live on a budget, and we have gathered some advice on how to minimise your spending.

An estimation of a student's cost of living is made and revised yearly by the Norwegian Immigration Directorate. Their current recommendation is that you need approximately NOK 10400 a month to cover your expenses as a student. 

For a list of prices of typical goods in Oslo, please visit Numbeo.


Public transport in Oslo: the 30-day student ticket is good value. It is valid on all public transport in Oslo, including bus, metro (T-bane), tram (trikk) and ferry boats. The ticket costs NOK 414 (October 2016, subject to change) and is valid for 30 days. Additional tickets can be bought for additional zones if you are travelling out of Oslo.

Please note: The student ticket is only valid together with your BI student ID card. For students below the age of 20, the Youth Ticket is better value. The Student Ticket has an upper age limit of 30. See for further information.

A single ticket within Oslo costs NOK 32 (valid for one hour) when purchased in advance.

City Bikes: are available at more than 100 locations across Oslo. A season card (April to November) costs NOK 299, and provides unlimited access. You can pick up and return a bike at any station, and keep it for up to three hours. This is a great way to see the city! 

Taxi: Avoid them! Taxis are very expensive, and (if you are eager to save money) should be used as a last resource only.

Domestic flights: Norway has one of the highest numbers of domestic flights in the world. Situated between steep mountains and narrow fjords, many towns are served by a small airport. Domestic flights are served mainly by the airlines Norwegian, SAS and Widerøe. You may come across relatively cheap plane tickets if you book well in advance. Airlines like SAS and Widerøe offer student/youth discounts. If your travel dates are flexible, it may be worth checking out Norwegian’s Low Fare Calendar.

European flights: Low-cost airlines like Ryanair, Norwegian, Wizz Air (Eastern Europe) and Air Berlin ensure that the rest of Europe is never more than a few hours away. Compared to the general price level, plane tickets are comparatively cheap.

Train: the Norwegian State Railways (NSB) is responsible for passenger train service in Norway. The train is a pleasant way of travelling if you have a few extra hours to spare, and you will see a lot of the countryside while you travel. Trains are comfortable, spacious, and mostly run on time. The train ride between Oslo and Bergen (7 hours) is known to be beautiful and well worth the journey. Student discounts are available on long-distance rides. However, tickets will often be cheaper if you choose the “Minipris” option. See

Bus/coach: buses can often be cheaper than train tickets. Local buses serve every city and town, and the network of express coaches is extensive. See for instance Nor-Way Bussekspress. International coaches are a cheap alternative if you want to travel to Sweden or Denmark (or even Germany).

Ferry: DFDS is known to offer cheap tickets (sometimes even free of cost) on mini cruises from Oslo to Copenhagen.

Food and drink

Some grocery stores are more expensive than others. Kiwi and Rema 1000 are the cheapest. Look for discount products from First Price, Euroshopper, ICA and Coop, as well as weekly or monthly offers, and the words tilbud, rabatt, salg and lavpris.

In some supermarkets you can purchase products that are about to expire at reduced prices. They are normally marked.

Purchasing larger packages of food may turn out cheaper if you share with your roommate or a friend.

Purchasing groceries in kiosks or gas stations will double or even triple the cost.

Remember that most shops are closed on Sundays.

Fruit and vegetables

Head to Grønland (east of the city centre) to find international shops with fresh fruits and vegetables at lower prices. These shops may also have items from your home country, which may not be available in the main grocery stores.


Many Norwegians go across the border to Sweden to purchase groceries once in a while, as certain items are noticeably cheaper there (especially meat, alcohol and cigarettes). This is called a "Harrytur" in Norwegian. If you choose to do so, please pay close attention to the strict duty free quota. Bus services are available from the Oslo Bus Terminal.

Meat and fish

You may find that meat is very expensive in Norway. However, fish products are relatively cheap, and also healthier.

Eating out

In Norway it is particularly expensive to eat (and drink) out. This is why Norwegians prefer to invite friends over to their home for dinner parties or pre-parties before going out on the town. If you do splurge and go to a restaurant, reduce the cost by drinking tap water. This is perfectly acceptable in most places.


Another tradition, and a good way to save money, is the "matpakke" – packed lunch. The Norwegian version typically consists of bread slices with pålegg like cheese and ham. It is very common in Norway to bring a matpakke to school, work or even for a picnic in the park.

Student cafeterias are typically cheaper than other cafes/restaurants. The food court at BI serves a wide variety of reasonably priced cold and hot dishes.

Tipping in Norway

You are expected, but not mandatory, to tip waiters in a restaurant if the service is OK/good. However, you are not expected to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, in bars of coffee shops.

You will note if you pay by card, however, that some ask you to add the tip to the total before entering your PIN. If you choose to leave a tip, 5-10 % is customary.

Books and study materials

You will see that your courses require a lot of reading. Your curriculum may consist of several books in addition to research papers and articles, and buying everything new in the bookshop is expensive. The BI Library has all the required books, but not enough for everyone.

At the beginning of the semester watch out for ads around campus from students or graduates advertising used books.

There is also a Facebook group called BI Book market, where you can sell and buy used books from other students.

If you prefer buying new books, you can save money by purchasing them online. Books can be imported to Norway duty free, and many international online bookshops offer free shipping.

Second-hand is where Norwegians sell stuff to each other - bikes, skis, furniture, cutlery, clothes, animals, cars, concert tickets etc... Unfortunately, there is no English version of the page, but Google Translate can help you out. Try the section "Gis bort" for free stuff.

Flea markets are also big in Norway. Many schools organise flea markets during the weekends of September and April.

Visit Fretex shops for second-hand clothes, books, arts and crafts, sport equipment, etc.

So, what’s free in this country?

Nature: The Norwegian Right to Roam, “Allemannsretten”, ensures your right to access preserved and protected land in the countryside for recreation and exercise purposes. Feel free run or walk, pick berries, swim in the lakes and rivers, climb the mountains and make your camp under the stars. Use your student ticket to go island hopping with ferry boats in the Oslo Fjord, or the T-bane to access the forest of Nordmarka.

Even within the city of Oslo, you can enjoy nature in one of the many city parks. For example, the sculpture park Vigelandsparken which is great for combining a cultural experience with a relaxing picnic.

Museums and galleries: Entrance to a wide range of museums and galleries are free of charge.

For a list of free attractions in Oslo, please see

Tap water: Clean, safe to drink and usually also tastes good! Norwegians often carry a water bottle around with them, which they refill with tap water throughout the day. Even in restaurants, drinking tap water is common. In low/medium budget restaurants, if you ask for water, you will normally get tap water for free. In more expensive restaurants, you may be served bottled water.

CouchSurfing: Enjoy the hospitality of the locals and get to know people on your way:

Paying for goods in Norway

Cash: Norway is turning into a more or less cashless society, but if you like to carry some cash. ATMs (called “minibank” in Norwegian) are easily available in every city. You can also withdraw smaller amounts of cash in most shops when you purchase something. 

The Norwegian currency consists of "kroner" (NOK) and "øre". 100 øre make up one krone (crown).

Credit cards: The use of credits cards is widespread in Norway, and they are accepted almost everywhere, even for small amounts. MasterCard, VISA, Eurocard, American Express and Diners Club are the most common.

Please note that some grocery stores/supermarkets do not accept foreign credit cards, although they happily take debit cards. If in doubt, ask before shopping.

Last Modified: 18/10/2016 15:41