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The cost of living in Iceland 2015

...Other than my sanity of course. One week before Easter and it is still snowing.

This is a survey I filled out for It is the end of the month and I'm paying all my bills today, so I figured I can also write about it.

Cost of living in Reykjavík city centre in 2015

Accommodation prices
The renting market in Reykjavík is insane. Partly because of bad (or no) city planning, partly because people rent out to tourists via AirBnB, a website I came to detest when looking for a flat.
For 60m² we pay 175.000kr, or 1.180€ without electricity. My flatmate wrote a post on her blog about our renting situation, which is sadly typical for Iceland.

Public transportation fares
Public transportation inside Reykjavík is provided by Straetó. A single ride costs 400kr (2.50€), monthly pass 10.900kr (70€). Strætó as a company is worth a separate rant.

Food prices (your monthly budget)
The government has just increased the tax on food to 12%, to pay for the housing loan dept reduction plan they had won the election with. Though the money was supposed to come from assets sold from nationalized banks, they noticed how unrealistic this plan was and instead let the burden of the dept reduction for housing owners fall on the poorest.
In short, food is expensive and dumpster diving surprisingly common.
My monthly budget is: 20.000kr (130€)

Health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
Iceland has an NHS style healthcare system. There is a 1000kr out of pocket payments for doctor visits and medicine is paid out of pocket until the costs per patient per year exceed 22.000kr, then the insurance pays 85%. A package of penicillin, for example costs around 3000kr (20€). Dentists are not covered via the NHS, because reasons.

Education prices
Lower education (primary and high school) is free. Yearly registration fee for the University of Iceland is 75.000kr (500€). They have some Icelandic courses for foreigners. Icelandic courses in private language schools cost for example 40.000kr (270€) for 60 hours.

Energy prices
Hot water and heating is usually included in housing prices. My electricity bill (3 people) this month was around 4000kr (25€).

Common bills (Internet, mobile phone)
Internet bill is dependent on your download rate or speed rate. We pay 8000kr for 100GB at a speed of 100MB/s
Unlimited at the same speed is 11.000kr
My monthly mobile phone bill is around 2000kr (14€).

Price for a good menu in a traditional restaurant: The last time I went out eating I went to Ban Thai. I love this restaurant, best Thai food I ever had and founded 26 years ago, when Asian food was basically unknown in Iceland and the owner simply refused to cook anything but traditional Thai (none of the "Western Asian grub" here). A dish is around 2000kr (12€).

Price for a coffee or a drink: I remember the good old times, when beer cost 500kr. Now this is the price for a coffee. Beer is 700 to 1000kr.

Price for cinema tickets: Normal: 1300kr(9€) 3D:2600kr(18€)

After all this bitching I have to say something positive: Swimming pools are awesome in Iceland! You can soak the whole day in a hot pot for the price of a coffee. And there will probably even be free coffee. Move your lazy ass and go swimming!

I know I sound negative, but there are good reasons for this. Cost of living is expensive in Iceland and the wages never recovered after the crisis. As seen in the link below purchasing power is more similar to Eastern Europe than Scandinavia. Which is why next months there are going to be massive strikes for higher wages, including from my union, the Union of University Educated Workers. Our contribution to the revolution is walking out for half a day on the 9th.
Comparison of purchaing power
Posted on - Categories: Iceland

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