Cost Of Living In Germany - Practical And Efficient Financial Planning To Consider Before Moving - A Home For Expats
cost of living in germany

Cost of living in Germany – Practical and efficient financial planning to consider before moving

With one of the most highly developed social market economy, the actual cost of living in Germany is rather comfortable and settling for expats in comparison to its European brethren. As a matter of fact, the cost of living in Germany is almost as laid back as 10% in comparison to UK, France, Norway or Switzerland – other popular countries to settle in.

How much exactly would you need then, you ask?

Well, this question is very much dependent on the lifestyle you choose to spend on. Your requirements would mostly govern your budget, but the good thing is that Germany offers you a range of monthly expenditure beginning from 900 EUR to any number you can willingly afford


  • Accommodation (including and excluding utilities)
  • Grocery Expenses
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Dining out
  • Internet and mobile provider
  • Taxation

Except for the high end expenses, the cost of living can be determined based on the below mentioned factors to sustain a certain standard of living:

 This article would provide an overview of the average costs for the above mentioned factors based on estimates for an individual. The item dependent pricing will be elaborately mentioned for making it easier for you to shortlist them according to your suitability and give you a clearer insight about your personalized monthly budget.

Accommodation

The first, foremost and largest expense in the cost of living is the housing budget. Though, it will vary according to the cities you decide to stay in and will be heavily dependent on the size and location of the property, we still present you the average costing for the most popular cities in Germany.

Cost of living in Germany
Finding Accomodation

Berlin

One of the most chic hangouts in the world. This city is the most popular city with expats in Germany.

Rent400 EUR800 EUR1,500 EUR
Room typeSingle Room in shared apartmentApprox. 50m² 2 bedroom apartmentApprox. 100m² 3-4 bedroom apartment
Berlin
Berlin Tower

A single room in a shared apartment can begin at around 400 EUR and can be as much as 600 EUR per month. For a 2 bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood and good location, the rent might average least 800 EUR including costs for water and heating. There can be additional expenses for the internet, TV, and electricity adding 100 EUR.

Hamburg

Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany and interestingly boasts of more living space per person than all the other major cities in the entire world!

Rent370 EUR900 EUR1,800 EUR
Room typeSingle Room in shared apartmentApprox. 50m² 2 bedroom apartmentApprox. 100m² 3-4 bedroom apartment
hamburg
Hamburg

Hamburg is the second most expensive city in Germany and the cheapest accommodation offered is in terms of shared rooms and rents. Flats and apartments begin at around 900 EUR and can go as high as 2000 EUR based on the size and location including utilities.

Munich

Munich easily showcases a large international community making life a lot easier for expats but at a higher cost.

Rent600 EUR1,200 EUR2,000 EUR
Room typeSingle Room in shared apartmentApprox. 50m² 2 bedroom apartmentApprox. 100m² 3-4 bedroom apartment
Munich
Munich

A single room in a shared flat will roughly cost 600 EUR and can escalate up to 900 EUR per month, more expensive in comparison to other cities. For an apartment with 2 rooms in a good neighborhood, you need to shell out at least 1200 EUR. A flat with 3 or 4 rooms and a separate kitchen can easily cost you 2000 EUR or more with dependent on location.

Nuremburg

Another impressive but a more relaxed option which offers a great lifestyle within your budget in Germany is Nürnberg (also known as Nuremburg).

Rent300 EUR700 EUR1,200 EUR
Room type Room in shared apartment50m² 2 bedroom apartment100m² 3-4 bedroom apartment
Nuremberg

Frankfurt

As Germany’s financial capital, it’s a fairly expensive city to live in, with monthly rent averaging over 1600 EUR for a flat with utilities.

Rent500 EUR1000 EUR1,600 EUR
Room typeSingle Room in shared apartmentApprox 50m² 2 bedroom apartmentApprox 100m² 3-4 bedroom apartment
frankfurt
Frankfurt

Grocery Expenses

The common single individual’s grocery consumption is estimated at around 50 EUR to 60 EUR per week but is again very much conditioned upon the taste and preferences of individuals.

Below listed is the typical pricing for essentials to let you customize your own weekly expenditure.

ItemQuantityPrice
Water1.5 litre0.43 EUR
Milk1 litre0.76 EUR
White Bread500 g1.34 EUR
White Rice1 Kg2.15 EUR
Regular Eggs1 dozen1.92 EUR
Local Cheese1 Kg8.32 EUR
Regular fruits1 Kg2.00 EUR
Regular Veggies1 Kg1.00 to 2.00 EUR
Chicken1 kg7.96 EUR
Beef Round1 Kg10.78 EUR
Wine (Mid-range)1 Bottle4.99 EUR
Domestic Beer0.5 litre0.84 EUR
Cigarettes20 pack6.40 EUR

Transportation

Moving around in Germany is usually by local trains, metro, trams, and buses. Germany also provides the flexibility to rent bikes on an hourly and daily basis. App-based cab services mostly operate in only some big cities. But, do not let it discourage you as there’s hardly any inconvenience because of the efficient public transport and hail taxi system.

Public transport:

A single ticket for public transport would cost you 2.8 – 3.4 EUR depending on the area. The tickets can be bought for individuals and groups (with discounts).

1 day ticket would cost you approximately 7 – 7.7 EUR

7-day ticket would be about 30 – 37.5 EUR

Taxis:

Taxis round to about 3.00 EUR fixed charge with addition of about 1.50 EUR per km and waiting charges of almost 30.00 EUR per hour.

Bikes:

A 2 hour rental would cost you about 6 – 8 EUR, going up to 10 EUR for 4 hours. Daily rental charges would be in the range of 12 – 14 EUR.

InterCIty Transportation:

The most prevalent express trains in Germany are the Deutsche Bahn – super-fast InterCity Express (ICE) trains. They zoom around the country at hourly and two-hourly intervals and link up all major cities.

The ticket pricing varies for different destinations but there are attractive discounts for short journeys and groups.

There are also three BahnCards offering reductions.

  1. “BahnCard 25” – In which, you need to pay only three-quarters of the ticket price,
  2. “BahnCard 50” – Pay half the ticket price
  3. “BahnCard 100” – Simply pay the price of the card and nothing else.

Healthcare

Public healthcare

In Germany, every employed worker has to pay a statutory healthcare insurance contribution as part of their social security contribution.

Contribution by employee = 7 to 8% of total income.

Contribution by the employer = additional 7 to 8% of employee’s income

Total contribution = 14-16%

The maximum amount is capped at EUR683 (inclusive of both employee and employer’s contribution) a month.

Private Healthcare

Private healthcare is limited to only a set of individuals including freelancers, students over the age of 30, people earning less than 450 EUR, or earning more than 60,000 EUR.

As, the cost of private health insurance not regulated by the government, the expense mostly depends on insurance companies’ monopoly.

This creates an anomaly as for people deemed as low-risk patients, the premiums could be around 170 EUR whereas for high-risk patients or older people this could mount up to 1500 EUR per month.

Dining Out

Dining out can range between 8.00 EUR – 9.00 EUR for a meal at popular fast-food chains without discount coupons. But, a full three-course meal at a regular restaurant would cost you 12.00 EUR and go up as high as 25.00 EUR.

  • A piece of cake = 3 – 5 EUR
  • A pastry = 1.2 – 2 EUR
  • A croissant = 1.2 EUR
  • Pizza = 7 – 10EUR
  • Ice cream dessert = 6 – 7 EUR

Internet and Mobile

Prepaid phones offer good flexibility since you pay as you go. As you need more credit you simply buy recharge cards. The minimum amount of credit that you can add is usually EUR 5-10. And a minute of Prepaid Mobile Tariff (No Discounts or Plans) would cost you around 0.10 EUR.

The other option is a contract phone. These do offer lower calling rates and better deals on new phones but these prices can be estimated on the basis of your need, the monthly fee, the connection cost, and the minimum monthly consumption.

It is not really common in Germany to get data plans with unlimited mobile internet. Presently, there are two providers namely Telekom and O2, which offer unlimited data plans. The cheapest unlimited data offer is provided by O2 for 39.99 EUR per month and Telekom is a little bit on the expensive side mounting to 84.95 EUR/month.

Taxation

 One another important aspect to include in your cost of living expenses is the taxation.

This would vary for individuals depending on their source of Income. It is advisable for you to go through the latest tax summaries to understand your tax rate and estimate your total cost of living in Germany accordingly.

You can refer the Complete guide to getting a Tax ID in Germany for a comprehensive insight of how to get started as a newcomer in Germany.

A detailed guide on German tax system can be found on Bundeszentralamt für Steuern .

Even if these numbers look a bit under or overwhelming, It is very important to remember they only provide the comprehension of a personal budget to form an overview of the financial planning required and are definitely not the guidelines to live by!