My Norwegian Shopping Challenge

Norway is an expensive country. We pay a lot of tax and fees to be able to maintain our quite high standard of living. My husband who is British is constantly shocked whenever he finds out about the price of something. A new charger for his electric toothbrush cost NOK149 ($27), and he started questioning the guy in the shop as to why it was so expensive. I was so embarrassed! In Norway getting anything for less than that would be a surprise. And most Norwegians don’t have a choice. Norwegians who live close to the Swedish border tend to go to Sweden to buy food and alcohol at least. And Norwegians tend to go mad in the Duty Free (the alcohol section) as it is so expensive to buy here. But you can’t really buy everything you need abroad so we just get on with it.

So one solution is to buy things online – just remember the delivery charges and custom fee (which are added by the Norwegian Customs people and not included in the price you think you pay, so you may get an expensive surprise when you pick up your parcel at the post office). (And Amazon for instance doesn’t deliver Baby things to Norway!) So whenever we go to my in-laws in England I just have to go shopping! Clothes, cd’s, kids stuff, tea, you name it – I buy it! (Oh – well apart from books as I recently discovered that if you live in Norway you can buy books from Amazon and the delivery is free, and no added custom fee or tax! So no need to fill my suitcase with heavy books – more space for clothes and shoes 🙂 ).

And you wouldn’t believe it, but one of my favourite shops at the moment is Tesco! The amount of baby stuff you can get there cheaply, such as bottles, bibs, clothes, toys is amazing… and they have a great selection in blue rays as well so my husband does not mind coming shopping with me. It is also open 24/7! And on Sundays! (If you are ever in Norway please remember that most shops are closed on Sundays…)

I am very lucky to have family in England who are very helpful when it comes to picking up things I need such as pj’s from Marks and Spencer for the wee lad, tea from Fortnum and Mason, and the latest thing I realised that we can’t possibly live without is this: Munchkin Snack Catcher! A friend recommended it to me so I went to the shop here and it costs NOK139 ($25/£15)… In the UK I can get the exact same for just £3.50! No chance of the in-laws ever coming to visit us with empty suitcases!

And it isn’t just toy shops and baby stuff I need… also shoes! In Norway it is almost impossible to get shoes in size 35 (uk2.5) (and when they come in small sizes it often becomes apparent that they are big sizes… Just on Saturday I went all the way across town because I had seen a shop that sold a certain pair of shoes in a size 35 – and then they were too big, and the shop assistant told me that yes, this make is known for long shoes… So now I have to go online and try to find some… In England I didn’t have this problem as the choice of shoes was so much bigger… And the same for clothes – In Norway the sizes are very limited, the smallest size normally starts at size36, which is UK8 and US6. For somebody who is normally a size uk4 this means that shopping for clothes in Norway is a big challenge…

The only solution would be to go on a weekend shopping trip to London myself! 🙂 (Meanwhile I just received an email from my mother-in-law informing me of the M&S Summer Sale, and that she has an empty suitcase to fill – now there is a challenge!)

Photo credit to robert hextall.  This photo has a creative commons attribution license.


5 Comments to “My Norwegian Shopping Challenge”

  1. After 12 years in the UK, I am often shocked when I go home to Norway and go shopping. But as you say – standard of living in Norway is high! That doesn’t come free.

  2. My family visit England at least once a year for shopping.. So much more to choose from, and not so expensive. Im Norwegian btw.
    Nice blog =D

  3. sometimes I just hate living in Norway because of this. I just wait until i have to travel before i can shop.

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