Sunday, March 2, 2014


One thing you probably don't know about me and that you might think will come as a surprise, is the fact that I'm actually quite economically minded.  Well, maybe not in everything, but I want to know what I'm paying for and I hate when someone trying to charge a stupid amount of money for something that should be cheaper, for free, included or with more value for money.
This is something I notice more and more and it's very disturbing. I have so many examples and hardly know where to start, but to give you an example:
A company that was delivering one furniture (a very expensive one to start with) also wanted to charge 2500SEK (300Euro) for the delivery for a couple of kilometres. I mean, that's just so insane and If the company would have been service mined enough or cared for customer satisfaction, they would charge no more then the standard cost for a big furniture to be delivered and charged a normal sum which is about 870SEK or actually stand for it themselves. Things like that goes on my nerves, when there's no logic behind it and when you have no option as a client since you need it to be delivered.
Another thing is the healthy food industry. One example that came across my life the other day were these health snacks. I mean, I wanted to buy a healthy bar for Alexis and me. A small one, the size of about 28gr cost between 39SEK- 45SEK (about 6-7 Euro). And when you look at what it actually contains, it's dates, nuts and some coconut. Isn't that insane? Just to prove how little it would cost to make it myself and how easy it is, I took my oldest and we made these absolutely mouth watering healthy little bars for less then 1/10 the price. It took about 10 minutes and they can be keept in plastic folio for a couple of days and is perfect as a between meal or when the temptation of something more chocolate is knocking the door.

How the professional painter and wallpaper guys works and charge also surprised me. We wanted a very good one since we special ordered hand printed wallpaper and very good quality paint. The price per hour for a painter guy is already one of the highest paid in Europe with 390SEK/hour, about 450Euro/hour - but on top of that, we got a bill on 10 000SEK for all the material (the wallpaper, paint etc we had already paid for ourself) used as protection, like papers to protect the floors, knives to cut etc etc. I mean, isn't that to be included in the price? It's if I, when I was working in my practice, charged my patients for the surringe, the needles, the cotton pads for the blood, the disinfection liquid ... Of course not, it's a part of my tools to make a good job. I don't understand it. It's bananas.

I know it sounds insane when I easily can buy a very expensive bag or piece of clothes, but nevertheless, you have to be aware of what's going on around you and make up your own value for things. A delivery with a couple of kilometres will never be worth 2500SEK in my head, it's actually rude to try to charge that and a healthy bar containing some dates and nuts will neither get paid that sum from my pocket if there's not an emergency in insulin drop down. It's simply so stupid. The often asked for price for a simple coffee is the same, especially in Zürich and when you know how little the actual value is for the coffee beans and some boiled water, I don't know if it's me who is stupid buying it or those who sell it.

What do you have to say about it? Would be interesting to hear your view. I love spending money when I think I get value for what I buy, either it's a service or a item. But often you pay so much for nothing! Money that I rather put on more fun things.
So these healthy bars I just did with a mixer and added some dried (but soft and sweet) dates -(don't forget to take out the seed), peanuts, walnuts and bio cacao powder. Try it yourself, they are so delicious!


  1. In Australia painters work the same way, it is crazy how much they can earn.

    Another thing I find crazy is that even though the water from our tap is perfect (and free) bottled water is often more expensive than juice or coca cola.

  2. Förstår verkligen hur du tänker och håller fullständigt med.
    Angående målaren måste han försökt lura er. Har anlitat massor av hantverkare och då ingår alltid bruksmaterialet. Visst betalar man klinkers, toalettstol, tapeter, fläkt etc men skruvar, skyddspapp, fog och liknande ingår i priset. Hur är offerten skriven? Blir kanske en dyr och onödig läxa för er men man får verkligen vara tydlig så båda parter pratar samma språk. Vi har åkt på några nitar själv. Byggare som inte dykt upp på avtalad tid och så klart regnade det de kommande dagarna och vi fick fuktskador. Hade bara muntlig överenskommelse om tid och inget skrivit om vems ansvaret var om något hände om jobbet inte gjordes i tid.

  3. Surely not 450€/hour? 45€/hour is not cheap either. The point in home renovation is to tender, to ask offers and to compare what's included. There are many players on that business and you quite easily pay too much, if you don't be careful. I totally agree with you, it's very annoying to pay of something you don't think is worth it.
    Home made healthy bars is a great idea, I should try that one!

    1. In Austria You Pay 65 EUR per Hour for a painter

  4. Welcome back to Scandinavia ! Dyreste landene her vet du :)

    Flyttet til Italia, hvor jeg bor mye vinterstid, og her føler vi virkelig vi får value for money, men alt står vel i stil med landets lønninger....

  5. Jag håller fullständigt med dig. Jag var i en blomsteraffär igår och skulle köpa en stor bukett snittblommor. På glasdörrarna till blommorna satt en skylt att de tog 20 kr betalt för att binda buketter. Det tycker jag var helt sinnessjukt. 20 kr är ingenting men bara det faktum det borde verkligen ingå i priset att de sätter ihop blommorna snyggt gjorde mig irriterad. Ska man få blommorna lösa i en plastpåse annars eller? Jag gick till en annan blomsteraffär.

  6. I actually feel secondhand embarrassment whenever i encounter these situations.

  7. Well you are absolutely right, i think your style also reflects your love for quality and things that are value for money so why would it be different if you were buying food?i think your followers are with you when it comes to this, it's not about the money it's about what you are getting for that price! need to explain:-)

  8. I have worked for a specialist doctor n Australia & the cost of the syringe, swabs, etc is costed as part of the bill. So you are paying for it just not as an individual item. However extras are costed individually - injection vials etc.

  9. I am totally with you in these matters. I often get very annoyed at banks too, because I do all the work (paying bills, transfers, bonds/stock etc) on my computer, but they still charge heavy fees for everything. I can accept a yearly fee for some things since they have the development and maintainance costs of the systems, but still....There is not even any way to get access to your own money without charges. Another area with ridiculous charges are cellphone companys. But all of us consumers just accept and pay.. unfortunately. Looking forward to more views in this topic, and lessons from other countries. Hugs Laila

  10. Stina I am like you, I hate to pay what I perceive as too much for small things, this is why I never ever buy take-out coffee or snacks on the go. That $6 for a coffee really burns me, I am cheap with some things but I will pay for an expensive bag or shoes if I understand the value in it, happily!
    As far as home renovations I know we are lucky to have a professional who looks after our house and office building, both old properties which need special care, when we renovate I sit down with him and we budget the job, then we have a weekly meeting to keep track. Not everyone has one person to do this for them though so I understand the challenge.
    I track every dollar because time is money, I'll spend if I can perceive the worth but otherwise no. Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality: spendy/cheap!!
    Loved your last post too by the way and I enjoy when you tell it like it is!

  11. Ouch! Stina, did you get a written quote from the painter beforehand? If not, I would be contesting that extra charge. I always get the costs in writing beforehand, then there are no "misunderstandings"

  12. Unfortunately it's everywherere in the world like this. Be more careful in the future and ask exact devis.!
    Drink your coffee at home, cook your food etc dearest... Life become like this but for clothes also... Even of good quality no? And we are very quick fedup of them!
    All the best

  13. Same here. I think the price situation in Sweden (Scandinavia) is sick. You have got to be really rich to afford a painter or any other worker - and then they are surprised that there're immigrants taking their jobs. So do it cheaper, then nobody is going to take immigrants, who hardly ever speak another language than their own. It's sick that a garage in the city costs like 80-90 kr an hour. Or simple hair-dyeing somwhere else than a drop-in - 2000 kr...:( And I will also NOT pay much for something that should be cheaper or included in the price. On the other hand, I appreciate that in Stockholm you get water for free at restaurants, unlike anywhere else in the world, where you usually get charged a lot, because they serve only mineral water.

  14. Why are you surprised? No quote/estimate before hiring?

    Rebecca S.

  15. Poor Stina! Was it very cheaper in ZH???
    You did not had works to make but food is the same prices.
    Good luck. Hope you will manage all that. It looks difficult in your country!

  16. I think most of the reasonable people think money and how to invest it in the best possible way:)

    I'm happy to spend some more money for good professional painter, work is done reasonable time-line and result is perfect but have to deal the price before hand with a written contract everything included. I'm also more than happy to spend more for a cup of coffee in a nice atmosphere with good service. I think I spend quite much money for services but it releases me my self to do some other things stress-free:) Like now when we moved we paid from full service to the moving company, they did everything, even build furniture and place it to it own place in our new home so I could have all my time focused for new home and kids. We anyway move again after less then half year. But I make my healthy bars by my self same as smoothies:)

  17. Once I made a transfer to my german account from my swedish. The transfer went to the german, but got rejected and sent back to my swedish. Although I did give all correct numbers, but apparently the swedish bank had missed to "confirm". So they charged me for this. I even did a second one, which went through. But they still charged me double for their own mistake. And let's not even mention how they tried to "talk me off" at the service counter saying it's not their fault - it was the german banks fault. yeah. sure.

    I actually agree with the rest of the readers. This is very embarassing and I'm also extremely annoyed that there seems to be some kind of alarming trend going on. My man (german) always says how surprised he is about the zero-service-mindness in sweden. We're not stock-up people, but when you pay for something pricey - you want it made correctly. Once we went out to one of the top restaurants in the city. It was probably one of our most expensive dinners. Will you be surprised if I tell you that they served his food before mine and also from the wrong side...

    I would also strongly discourage everyone to shop things online from second hand stores such as blocket/tradera. Abroad, people don't post second-hand items unless they have some quality left to it. When my man moved to Stockholm in the beginning, we spent all our money on getting a bigger apartment. So we had to buy furnitures second-hand. I found this wonderful couch, all perfect on the picturea. Emailed the woman who confirmed that it was totally fresh, not used much and still had the receipt "somewhere". So as I cut down the price, we agreed that i would rent a wagoon to be able to pick it up. When we got there (Östermalm), the couch was already in the basement (which she never mentioned). We didn't really have a choice but to simply pick it up. When we got home, after 5 minutes I saw a white "larv" coming up from the fabric. When we contacted the seller she was totally "appalled" but then reassured us that there had been sooo many people wanting the couch that she could pass us all the numbers. As if I would have the stomach to sell such an item. Needless to say that she lived a fancy life and didn't seem to have any problems with money. We learned our lesson and will never do such a thing again... And we're still couch-less pretty much :)

    So yeah - basically ur completely to the point in your observations. And it's really sad.

    Btw, if you would ever need an electrician, let me know. My man is one since a couple of years back in germany but he has a hard time getting those jobs in sweden. His swedish is not the best, but his work outbeats any swedes in no time. Some people would call me "fördomsfull" but this country has really gone out of hand with people not being able to provide the service they are paid for. That thing with the painters would have made me go bananas. I think you should look them up and see if other people have had similar experiences and then report them. But yeah I forgot - this is sweden so your report is not going to lead anywhere.

    Anyways, I guess I just wanted to show my compassion. Im still happy that you live here. I think the more people we have like you, maybe the better chances that stockholm will develop a little bit to the better... to something genuine and proud.

  18. I agree, the value of an item lies in the quality and how much/often you will and can use it. If it's valuable to you then it's worth spending more to get it. So many people spend money on things just to show off, they get items and services that don't have a value what so ever only because it look good to friends/colleagues/other people, that is something I will never understand. /A

  19. Actually 390 SEK/hour for a painter is not bad for Stockholm, it's definitely on the cheaper side, or maybe it's just that we live in Östermalm and everyone tries to take advantage of us. Or the tax-payers, I bet prices would go down if the ROT reductions disappeared.

    What I love about hantverkare is the way they start charging you when they leave their homes and the time they spend driving around looking for a parking space. So you pay for 8 hours of which only 4-5 at most were actual work. I have renovated properties in 2 other countries and have never ever come across anything even close to the chutzpah of Swedish hantverkare. And most are terrible, so few have any idea of what quality actually is. They think svensk standard is quality. I especially hate it when they start talking bad about Poles, as if they were any better.

    I'm like this: I don't mind paying if I like what I get in return. So I don't mind paying 1000+ EUR for a cashmere sweater (abroad in a nice surrounding), but i refuse to pay 36 SEK or whatever it is for the bus because i hate waiting for an (usually) old, dirty bus. Typical penny wise pound stupid, or rather that sometimes I think in terms of my not-so-high engineering salary, sometimes in terms of my net worth :)

  20. I totally agree. I'm quite economically minded myself, but at the same time I don't mind to spend quite a amount of money on a nice handbag or clothes. I just like to see my money go to good use. Living in Norway, I find it crazy to pay around 35-50 kroner/around 5-6 euro for a nice cup of coffee. It is quite insane, but I guess we are used to it because we make such good money.

    One thing that really bugs me about all Scandinavian countries are the level of service you get in high end stores. If I walk into an expensive store I expect to recognized and to get some help. Having travel quite a lot in different parts of America, I always get so disappointed in the level of service when I get back to Norway. For example I'm always greeted with a "Hello, how are you today?" when I walk into a store in America, where as in Norway I'm lucky if the person working there even say "Hello". I have worked several years in an interior store myself, so I always pay attention to the level of service I get when I walk into a store.

    Great blog post Stina.

  21. I completely agree. Money and value go together in my head. This is also why I am determined to learn how to make my own clothes and only purchase the things that I can't make (like shoes and purses). And poor customer service almost seems to be the normal practice. It's disheartening.

  22. Would you or M work for 380 SEK per hour, tax included?
    Maybe live and let live is the way he way to go with that topic?

  23. No one who lives in Sweden and works and for 380 SEK per hour, tax included, can live a decent life, have a family, pay for a owned house, save enough money for retirement...
    Leave alone buy Hermes or prada.

    Stina you have a great life!

  24. 380 SEK per hour equates to 63840 SEK per month when the average salary in Sweden is 29800 SEK (according to 2013 surveys). Not to mention that all expenses are charged to the client...
    Maybe I've elected the wrong profession...

  25. Maybe you have to calculate properly. If tax and insurances are included, and they are cause no one will publish online and pay without taxes, you have to take away around the half.
    Then you have holiday, illness and office hours... it's not 160 hours every month.
    Then you have average expenses for office, retirement savings...
    It is around a third!