The exchange rate is in the toilet. At least as far as we are concerned, considering we are living off of our American savings. When we first started planning our move to Stockholm back in April, the rate was about 8.5 kronor per dollar. It meant the rent for our bigger, better Swedish apartment in a great neighborhood was the same as the mortgage on our DC condo. Fine by us! But the exchange rate has fallen steadily since its height in March, and is now hovering at 7 kronor per US dollar. It doesn't sound like that catastrophic of a fall, but it means that our rent is about $200 more per month than we were planning, just 5 months ago.
Aside from the exchange rate fluctuations, Stockholm doesn't seem all that much more expensive than DC.
Aside from the alcohol.
I was reading the Metro paper the other day (the free fluffy newspaper that they give out free on the subway, like the DC Express paper) and saw several ads from stores that sell cosmetics. They all advertised mascaras that ranged from 95:- to 165:-, and that is on sale (FYI, in Swedish, its "på rea". I learned that one real quick!) The Maybelline mascara I just tossed out was about 115 kronor...that's $16!! I am cheap, so I probably paid less than $5 for it at a CVS. Had I read the ad before getting rid of the tube, I might have kept it longer! And mascara is one of the few things I am anal about keeping fresh...they say toss it after 2 or 3 months of use, which I do. With always having contact lenses and sensitive eyes, and even more since having lasik in May, it's been important in preventing eye infections. Especially since moving, as we get free health care, but eye care and dental are NOT covered by the Swedish government (which makes me think I should stop eating all this Swedish candy soon. Probably.) But I can't afford to buy $16 mascara every few months being a broke student!
I'll miss using mascara. My eyes won't look the same. And we haven't been here long enough for me to miss all that much. American chunky peanut butter, affordable beer, friends, fam.
That's where you guys come in, friends and family. Several handfuls of you have said you will come visit us in Stockholm. And we WANT you to come visit! Come stay on our couch or blow-up bed (when we get it from the other side of the country, that is.) We'll play tour guide and make you Swedish food and entertain you. And when you come, bring a jar of chunky peanut butter, a bottle of scotch (at Stus request), and a tube or two of cheap Maybelline mascara (preferably not the waterproof kind...I would have to shell out for equally expensive eye make-up remover for that stuff!)