How to save money as a student in Oulu: tips and advice

When considering Finland as a study destination, one of the main drawbacks can be the cost. Nonetheless, I still believe that Finland is an excellent destination to pursue your studies, as it offers major advantages to students, which makes being a student here way more affordable than you might initially think.
Winter scenery
This is a picture I took during my walk to the university. Funny enough, this was the day of our first snow, which actually happened in September in 2021, and on my birthday!

Cost of life as a student

Tuition fees

Firstly, let’s address the biggest expenses you might be worried about as a student: tuition fees and rent. Regarding tuition fees, the University of Oulu offers scholarships to students who are liable to pay. It depends on the degree you are pursuing, but generally, scholarships can cover up to 75% to 100% of tuition costs.


When it comes to the rent, as a student, you can get your housing through PSOAS, a student housing foundation that offers affordable housing for students. Rent for PSOAS apartments starts at 160 euros, all expenses covered, which is quite cheap considering European standards!

This is a photo of my room! I got most of my furniture through second hand shops and Facebook market place. Overall, I only payed around 150 euros for all my furniture, so make sure you check second-hand stores as they have amazing deals.

For this reason, as a student it’s really convenient to get your apartment through PSOAS, so make sure you apply for housing through their webpage as early as possible, as soon as you receive your acceptance letter! When filling in your application, you can register your interest in whether you would like to live in a studio, shared, or family apartment, the amount of rent you would want to pay, and the area where you would like to live. This brings us to our next point!

Everyday expenses

Living next to the university is a good option if you want to prioritize saving money. For once, you don’t need to spend as much money on public transport, as you can walk to campus. Also, some supermarkets nearby offer discounts for students, which definitely builds up at the end of the month! In addition, living close to campus means that you can take more advantage of the discount student meal, which is €2,70 for students from Monday to Friday, and it’s also available some Saturdays.

Nonetheless, if you prefer to or end up living in another area, you don’t need to worry! Luckily for you, Oulu is a bicycle-friendly city, so you can easily bike everywhere. For instance, the bike ride from the city center to the University is only 25 minutes, and the views are beautiful.

Despite not being much of a biking-fanatic before, I find myself preferring to bike everywhere in Oulu, as the landscape makes the journey really enjoyable.

Also, Finland is a flat country, so you don’t really need to be super fit to be able to bike in Oulu!

I took this photo during one of my bike rides to the shopping mall Ideapark, it’s actually only 5 minutes away from my apartment!

Finally, another major saving tip for new students would be to take advantage of the second-hand scene in Oulu. You can get the furniture for your student apartment for a really low price, and the same goes for your winter clothes! On the UniOulu Ambassador Blog page there are multiple blogs about how to master the second-hand hunting art, so make sure you check out those before you come to Oulu. :)

About the author

Núria from Barcelona, Spain, is a first-year master's student in Education and Globalization. Her hobbies include travelling, reading, and complaining about the cold weather despite being secretly in love with winters in Oulu.