Germany is known for its high living standards and expensive cost of living, especially in major cities like Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg.
Living in Germany can be expensive in general, but it doesn’t have to be. With some simple tips and tricks, you can save money and still enjoy all the wonderful attractions that Germany has to offer. From using public transportation to taking advantage of discount websites, there are many ways to make your stay in Germany more affordable. Here are 5 hacks for saving money while living in Germany.
1. Save Money on Utilities: Switch Electricity and Gas Providers Annually
Switching electricity and gas providers annually can lead to significant savings of 100€ to 250€ per year. It only requires 30 minutes of effort. Many providers offer attractive bonuses for new customers, resulting in lower prices for the first year. However, it’s important to cancel the contract to avoid automatic renewal for another year.
To find a cheaper electricity provider, you can use Verivox or Check24, which offers convenient services for transferring your contract. Keep in mind that each provider has a different cancellation period, for example, Vattenfall requires a 6-week notice before the contract ends.
Additionally, this strategy can also be applied to car insurance, where contracts should be canceled 3 months prior to expiry. By following these simple steps, you can save money and improve your financial situation.
Easy Ways to Change Electricity and Gas Providers
- CHECK24 is a leading comparison site in Germany for electricity and gas providers. Compare prices and offers from different suppliers, filter by green energy, contract duration, bonus payments, and more.
- Stromauskunft is another reliable comparison site that helps you find the best electricity and gas deals in Germany. Simply enter your postal code, annual consumption, and preferred payment method to get a list of suitable providers.
- Ostrom is a digital, 100% green, and English-speaking energy provider in Germany. Enjoy flexible contracts, transparent pricing, and easy sign-up.
- Vattenfall is a national energy provider offering a range of electricity and gas products in Germany. Choose from renewable energy, fixed price, smart home plans, and more. Benefit from their customer service, online portal, and loyalty program.
2. Pick A Fee-Free Bank Account & Credit Card
In Germany, there are numerous alternatives to traditional banks that cost a lot for the paperwork and maintenance. By opting for a mobile bank like N26, you can easily save money at least around 150 euros annually. Commerzbank, the only traditional German bank that offers most services in English, is free if you receive a minimum of 700 euros in it each month.
When it comes to choosing the right bank account and credit card, it’s essential to consider fee-free options that align with your needs and financial goals. With these banks below, you can enjoy the convenience, flexibility, and cost savings that come with these innovative banking solutions. Start maximizing your savings today!
Top Fee-Free Banks to Choose From
- N26: A 100% mobile bank offering a free standard account with a Mastercard debit card. Open an account within minutes of your smartphone, enjoying features like real-time push notifications, biometric authentication, and Google Pay/Apple Pay.
- DKB: An online bank offering a free current account with a Visa credit card. Enjoy worldwide free cash withdrawals and additional benefits like cashback, discounts, and interest on your balance.
- Comdirect: Another online bank providing a free current account with a Visa credit card and a Girocard. Benefit from free cash withdrawals at any ATM in Germany and abroad, along with access to online banking, brokerage, and savings products.
- Commerzbank: A traditional bank offering a free current account with a Mastercard debit card and a Girocard, requiring at least €700 incoming per month. Enjoy free cash withdrawals at any Commerzbank ATM in Germany, along with branch service, online banking, and customer support in English.
Use Germany’s Best And Affordable Public Transportation
Potential savings: €250 to €500 per year
Here are three ways to save money on public transit passes:
The 49 EUR Monthly Pass:
The 49 euro ticket, also known as the Deutschland Ticket, is a monthly pass that lets you use all public and regional transport in Germany for just €49. You can travel as much as you want, wherever you want, without worrying about buying individual tickets or zones. You can also enjoy the convenience of having one ticket for all modes of transport, such as buses, trams, subways, regional trains, and even ferries.
If you want to learn more about the 49 euro ticket and how to use it, check out our comprehensive article on public transportation here.
Subscribe to a Pass
The pass is automatically renewed and payment is deducted from your bank account. Remember to cancel the subscription in advance. Note that the 49 EUR ticket should also be bought as a subscription.
Purchase a yearly pass
Paying once per year is cheaper than paying monthly.
Get a 10-Uhr-Karte
The 10-Uhr-Karte is a monthly public transit ticket in Berlin. It’s 26% cheaper than the regular monthly ticket. If you don’t travel during those times, the 10-Uhr-Karte is a good way to save money. The 10-Uhr-Karte is cheaper, but it is not valid between 3 AM and 10 AM on weekdays.
3. File For Tax Returns – Every Year
If you’re a regular employee without any additional side income, filing a tax declaration may not be necessary. However, it’s worth considering if you can save on taxes in Germany by submitting a tax return. The average tax return in Germany is approximately 1000 euros.
One of the best tax return software in Germany is Taxfix, which makes filing your taxes easy and fast. You can use Taxfix to file your tax returns for up to four years in the past and claim back the money you overpaid to the tax office. Taxfix guides you through the process with simple questions and automatically fills out the forms for you. You can also scan your documents with your smartphone and upload them to the app.
Taxfix can help you save money by finding tax deductions that apply to your situation, such as work-related expenses, travel costs, health insurance premiums, and more. You can also check your refund amount for free before you submit your tax return.
If you decide to file with Taxfix, you only pay a flat fee of 39.99 euros per year, regardless of your income or complexity. You can also get a 10 euro discount if you use our referral link here. With Taxfix, you can complete your tax return in less than 30 minutes and get your refund within a few weeks.
Other Apps and Services to Easily File Tax Returns
While TaxFix takes the cake for the best Tax filing app, here are 4 other apps that you might want to consider,
- SteuerGo: SteuerGo is another online software tool that can assist you in filing your taxes in Germany. It offers various features and benefits tailored to your specific needs and preferences.
- Taxando: Taxando is a reliable online software tool designed to simplify the tax filing process in Germany. It provides user-friendly features to ensure a smooth experience.
- Smartsteuer: Smartsteuer is an intuitive software tool that helps you effortlessly navigate the tax return process. It offers a range of features to make filing your taxes in Germany a breeze.
- Zasta: Zasta is a comprehensive online software tool that makes filing taxes in Germany convenient and hassle-free. It offers a wide range of functions to cater to your individual requirements.
Filing your taxes in Germany doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With online software tools, you can save money and time on your tax returns and get your refund faster. Don’t miss this opportunity to claim back some of the taxes you paid in Germany!
4. Buy Refurbished Products To Save Money!
Why spend a fortune to buy new products from Amazon when Germany has some of the best options to buy refurbished products for less than half the original price and without compromising on the quality?
Refurbishment is the distribution of products (generally electronics) that have been previously returned to a manufacturer or vendor for any reason, not sold in the market or new launch of a product. Refurbished products are normally tested for functionality and defects before they are sold to the public.
Where to Buy Refurbished Products in Germany
There are many online platforms where you can buy refurbished products in Germany, such as Kleinanzeigen, Nebenan.de, and Back Market. These platforms connect you with sellers who offer refurbished products at discounted prices.
You can browse through different categories, such as electronics, home and garden, fashion, and more. You can also read reviews and ratings from other buyers to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the sellers.
Benefits of Buying Refurbished Products
In Germany Buying refurbished products in Germany has many benefits, such as:
- Save money: You can save up to 70% on refurbished products compared to new products. You can also save on shipping costs, as many sellers offer local delivery or pick-up options.
- Reducing waste: You can help the environment by buying refurbished products, as you prevent them from ending up in landfills. You also reduce the demand for new products, which saves energy and resources.
- Getting quality: You can get products that look and work like new, as they have been tested and certified by sellers or third-party experts. You can also get warranties and guarantees on some products, which protect you from defects or malfunctions.
5. Harnessing the Power of Student and Employee Discounts in Germany
In the realm of personal finance, it’s the little things that count – especially when it comes to saving money in Germany. Whether you’re a student juggling textbooks and tuition fees, or a full-time employee managing daily expenditures, discounts can make a remarkable difference.
Every penny saved counts, and a surefire way to do this as a student is by leveraging the various ‘Studententarife‘ or ‘Studentenrabatt‘. Don’t shy away from inquiring about these discounts whenever you’re about to make a purchase.
The availability of these benefits spans across diverse areas – from bank accounts, and mobile and internet service providers, to public transport and health insurance. Take full advantage of student price reductions at cultural events, gym memberships, and even on portals like studentenrabatt.de.
However, it isn’t just students who can relish these savings; employees in Germany can also cash in on ‘Mitarbeiterrabatte’, thanks to platforms like Corporate Benefits.
Regrettably, these perks often slip under the radar as companies sometimes fail to adequately communicate them. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to ask your supervisor or colleagues if your organization is associated with these portals.
Be a Smart Shopper
Being a smart shopper means taking a moment to visit these portals before your next spree. It’s easy to neglect such opportunities when you’re eager to click the ‘buy now’ button, but a minute’s pause could lead to significant savings.
So, whether you’re a student stretching your Euro, or an employee aiming to make the most out of your income, embracing these discounts can pave the way for a more financially secure future in Germany.
If you’re a student, you can enjoy lower prices on many things by showing your student ID or using a student portal. For example, you can get:
- Free or reduced bank accounts with perks such as free cash withdrawals, overdraft facilities, and credit cards.
- Cheaper internet and mobile plans with unlimited data, calls, and texts.
- Discounted public transport tickets with regional or national coverage.
- Lower health insurance premiums with public or private providers.
- Reduced or free admission to museums, theaters, cinemas, concerts, and other cultural events.
- Affordable gym memberships with access to various facilities and classes.
- And much more!
If you are an employee in Germany, you may also qualify for some employee discounts (Mitarbeiterrabatte) with other brands if your company is part of a portal such as Corporate Benefits. These portals offer discounts on hundreds of online shops and services, such as:
- Fashion and accessories from brands like Zalando, H&M, Adidas, and more.
- Electronics and gadgets from brands like Apple, Samsung, Sony, and more.
- Travel and accommodation from brands like Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, and more.
- Food and groceries from brands like Lieferando, HelloFresh, Rewe, and more.
- And much more!
Don’t miss out on these opportunities to save money in Germany as a student or an employee. Always ask or look for discounts before buying something, and compare different options to find the best deal. You will be surprised by how much you can save by using these discounts!
Saving money in Germany is possible and easy if you follow these five tips. You can reduce your expenses on housing, food, transportation, entertainment and shopping by making smart choices and using discounts. By saving money in Germany, you can enjoy a higher quality of life and achieve your financial goals faster.
We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Thank you for spending your time reading it. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you. Happy saving!