As everyone has probably guessed, Finland is not one of the cheapest countries. However, in my opinion, the cost of living here compared to the wages is much more favorable than that in Poland. Some may rhetorically ask, why do I think so? Do I have any meaningful evidence, or is that just my subjective feeling? Of course, those doubts are justified, but please calm down: the arguments presented below are supported by calculations (which anyone can also make on their own), relevant data, and research that I conducted earlier on a few sites and in stores.
To be precise, for the calculations I used the exchange rate from the 19th March: EUR/PLN = 0.23761 (1 EUR = 4.2085 PLN). Market research has been carried out on 18th and 19th March 2014.
In Finland, the average net salary in 2013 was about 2096€, in Poland – 601€, and those data will be used as the base in this post. Thanks to my friend Michal’s council I know that this is not the best choice, and I should use the median wage. Unfortunately, I did not find this information on the Internet. Therefore, should anyone have such information, I will be grateful for sharing it with me – I would then update this post accordingly to the data provided.
The result of our last shopping plus the receipt. The picture does not have a whole 2kg of apples, all bananas, cranberries and almonds.
Rent prices in Finland
The cheapest room for rent which I found in Finland costs per month 200€, and in Poland: 72€. Unfortunately, Poland performs worse than Finland: for a Polish average salary one can rent a 8.35 rooms in Poland, 10.48 for the Finnish one in Finland. When it comes to housing prices, the outcome is similar. The cheapest apartment in the same as ours standard (but without a sauna 😉 ) in Poland generates a monthly cost of around 237€. In Finland, it is the cost of 580€ monthly. Once again, Finland is triumphant: 3.6 to 2.5.
To the costs of rent one should add also the bills. When living in an apartment shared with our Polish friends, we paid for bills about 24€ per person monthly. In Finland, the bills cost us 37€ per person monthly. Even without using a calculator, one can tell for whom it is cheaper 😉
I use a prepaid card, and pay for it 20€ every three months. Furthermore, the minute of call costs me 0.28PLN (0.066€). The cheapest prepaid offer in Poland offers a minute of conversation at a price of 0.13PLN.
It happened so that we bought men’s hiking boots this week – it was mainly because of promotions. We bought Merrell shoes for 69.90€ (before the discount it was 139.00€). The cheapest shoes of this company, which I found in the store Intersport Poland cost 47.50€ (also after being discounted from 71.00€), but have neither Vibram nor Goretex, as in contrast to those we bought. T-shirts at a sale in Finland cost around 5.00€, in Poland you can get a discounted T-shirt for the price of 2.00€. One can get Lewis Jeans in Finland for 89.90€. In Poland, jeans of the same company but at sale are for 52.50€. Everybody can see with the naked eye to whom it is cheaper.
Moreover, I decided to make a table of prices for some basic food products. Prices listed below are per kilogram or liter of a product. They are not fixed prices, as promotions here are quite frequent, but they provide some solid ground for those who consider moving here. From my experience I can tell, that we usually spend on food 20€ a week per person. That’s more than we spent in Poland, but we can afford more than then.
This is how much we were able to buy for 53zł in Finland. Doesn’t look as impressive as groceries for 50zł in Poland, does it? 😉
|Tinned red beans||3.19€||2.80€||3.10€|
|Whole rye flour||0.72€||0.90€||—|
If Mr. Jaroslaw Kaczynski* was buying in Finnish stores, he would pay for his basket** approx 23.00€ (I chose an expensive bread, but the potatoes are on promotion). Nonetheless, the average Pole is able to buy two times less Polish baskets (55.60PLN = 13.21€) than the statistical Finn Finnish baskets: 45.5:91.
Before I did research for this post I have thought that the prices of public transport in Finland are outrageous. Nevertheless, it turned out, that even at this field Poland performs worse – this was a big surprise for me. I pay 3.50€ for an 11km train ride from Espoo to Helsinki, but I can use the same ticket to go somewhere else in Espoo, Helsinki and Vaanta for the next hour. For the same length’s train ride in Poland l would give 1.04€, but with no possibility to go somewhere else using the same ticket. Poland: 577.88, Finland: 598.86.
Finnish health care
Unfortunately, I won’t put a cherry on the top of this cake, because the costs associated with health care have to be counted too. I will write more about this topic in the future, because I do not have too much knowledge about the Finnish health care yet. It should be noted, however, that the public health service in Finland is partly paid – one pays for visits, tests, staying at the hospital, treatments, surgeries, etc. Basic health care rate is a flat (visits, basic tests), other costs of health services depend on the patient’s income. What we don’t have in Poland? Should the patient go to a private doctor, s/he can apply for a refund of 30% of the visit’s cost and tests, if they have them in their health package. In this case, I pay 100% of the costs of my orthodontic treatment I shall not receive a refund – public orthodontics is only available for children. In Poland the national average monthly income would suffice for 7 more basic visits to the orthodontist than in case of Finland.
The service sector has not been tested by me personally. Mostly, because I did not have such a need, and an expense of 120€ for a haircut and styling does not encourage me to check it out. In Poland, I paid for this service 15€. When it comes to haircuts Poland definitely beats Finland: 40 haircuts to 17.5.
When I lived in Poland I paid for a sumptuous meal in a good restaurant about 36€, in Finland I pay 110€. Prices are without the tip, but with the beverages. Poland vs. Finland? 16.7:19.05. Cinema (normal ticket, 2D, Monday to Friday, after 5:00 PM): 5.47€ vs. 10.30€ (without comment).
I am very sad to write that, but I just realized how difficult life is in my homeland. I usually complained about the standard of living along with other young people, but did not carry out such research as this one. Now I see it clearly, that I had reasons to complain. I’m disappointed to see that Poland, being home to so many wonderful people, is not able to give its nation the opportunity to live a good life. Therefore, many Poles have to work abroad and move with their families, so they can live a more satisfying life than the one they had in Poland…
If you want to know more, to see some additional data in this post, please write about it in the comments – I will look for the price and add it for you. Please be informed, that this is the beginning of the cycle of posts about everyday life in Finland. I also encourage you to follow my blog, if you like the content 🙂
* – Jaroslaw Kaczynski – the leader of the Polish opposition. He wanted to prove once, that living in Poland is expensive. The groceries he bought were called by the media the “Kaczynski’s basket”.
** – The contents of the “Kaczynski’s basket”: 1 bread (leipä), 2.5kg of potatoes (peruna), 1kg of flour (vehnäjauho), 2kg of sugar (taloussokeri), 10 eggs (kananmuna), 1kg of chicken breast (broilerin fileet), 1kg of apples (omena).
- Wikipedia – the average monthly salary
- Rental prices for Poland: gratka.pl, tablica.pl
- Rental rates for Finland: forenom.fi, vuokraovi.com
- Movie Tickets: Multikino (for Poland), and Finnkino (for Finland)