Germany is a preferred destination for students and families from almost all parts of the world, owing to its various advantages. Germany offers superior quality of life in tandem with ample job opportunities and interesting traditions and cultural facets. Germany has one of the world’s most well developed and biggest economies with a stable and well-developed labor market. Germany is one of the most preferred countries for research, innovation and successful professional careers. Add to that its rich history, tourist landmarks, intriguing castles and the beautiful architecture all around. The beautiful German towns aside, there are heritage castles and innumerable landmarks including museums, cultural centers and other buildings which draw thousands from various corners of the planet. However, before zeroing on anything, it is important to delve deeper into the cost of living in Germany.
An interesting fact to remember is that German university students usually stay closer to home while attending their universities and many people live in their parents’ homes. The remainder usually chooses cheaper rentals and apartments. A smaller chunk of students reside in dormitories. The cost of living in Germany for international students is mostly non-prohibitive particularly when compared to average living costs in Europe.
Being flexible with your budget and location will help you thrive in Germany on a budget. Average cost may hover around 850 Euros as living costs. Costs of clothing, food and cultural activities are just a little more than the average in the EU (European Union). Students in Germany usually spend roughly 850 Euros every month on average as living costs. You will require approximately 10, 300+ Euros annually in living costs and close to 40% of global students will want to find student residences owing to lower costs hovering around 300 EUR per month. Costs can increase to 1300 EUR every month, depending upon lifestyle preferences.
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Cost of living in Germany for a family and students
The costs of living in Germany for Indian students or international students hover around EUR 733 every month for Berlin and EUR 799 every month for Munich. This refers to costs of living per month for single persons excluding rental costs. Including rental costs, it goes up to EUR 8, 796 and EUR 9, 588 in Berlin and Munich respectively on an annual basis.
The cost of living in Germany for a family stand at EUR 2497 in Berlin and EUR 2747 in Munich every month or roughly EUR 29, 964 and EUR 32, 964 in Berlin and Munich respectively. University students may expect to spend EUR 588-613 in cities in Germany with low cost of living.
Berlin is one of the cheapest cities in Germany in terms of low-priced food availability, street-food markets and one bed flat rentals from EUR 600 onwards. Munich has slightly higher living costs with one bed flat rentals starting from EUR 1000 onwards and reasonably priced food and other costs. Cologne is costlier than Berlin with one bed flats starting from EUR 800. Cologne offers numerous cheap options for eating out and so does Hamburg. Rental prices are higher in Hamburg with one bed flats starting from EUR 900 every month. Frankfurt Main living costs include one bed flat rentals starting from EUR 900 each month and you can enjoy cheap food and beverages in various zones.
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Average cost of living in Germany- Items & Costs
Wondering what is the minimum cost of living in Germany? Here is the list of key items with accompanying costs.
1. Average Rent in Germany
Average rentals vary from one city to another in Germany. Some cities are cheaper like Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne while Munich and Hamburg may be slightly on the costlier side. Here’s taking a look at the average rentals in Germany from one city to another (1 bedroom flats in city centre)
a) Berlin- EUR 739
b) Munich- EUR 1, 030
c) Frankfurt Am Main- EUR 900
d) Cologne- EUR 800
e) Hamburg- EUR 900
2. University Tuition Fees
University tuition fees hover around the competitive mark in Germany although they may be quite expensive for international students when you factor in living and food costs along with other tertiary expenditure. In most cases, tuition fees for master’s degrees (people who have obtained bachelor’s degrees in other parts of the globe), usually vary from one university to another. They may range between EUR 20, 000 at public universities or roughly US $24, 000 and EUR 30, 000 or US $36, 600 across private universities.
You can save at least INR 20 lakh on your course fees and living costs with upGrad Abroad. Here’s how- upGrad Abroad offers 1 year online and 1 year offline study programs in Germany encompassing disciplines like Data Science, International Management and Cyber Security. Now, consider the fact that average annual tuition fees will be somewhere around 14, 990 Euros in Germany at Universities while you will also have to deposit 10, 332 Euros in a German bank account as the proof of having funds for food and living expenses. This works out to 25, 322 Euros in total. It is almost equivalent to INR 22.5 lakh for a single year. However, upGrad’s unique model has you studying for a year online at reputed institutions such as IMT Ghaziabad and IIT Bangalore while course fees for the 1st year of online study hover around INR 2.5-3.35 lakh on average. Hence, you stand to save at least INR 20 lakh on your education costs for the first year with this unique model offered by upGrad Abroad. This helps you pursue your dreams of global education without having to stretch yourself thin financially.
3. Food Cost in Germany
It is important to take a closer look at food costs in Germany while planning your budget. Staples are not that costly in the country although premier supermarkets such as Tegut and Rewe can be costly. Aldi and Lidl are supermarkets where you can shop to save roughly 10-15% on average. Basic foods may cost somewhere in the EUR 40-50 every week ballpark. Dining out is quite affordable with lunch costs ranging between EUR 5-11 and evening meals varying between EUR 10-20 per individual. A couple of German beers or a glass of wine will set you back by EUR 10 as well.
EUR 30-40 per head can cover a good meal in a standard German restaurant. Tips are usually not covered under this head and are usually between 10-15% of the bill amount. Here is a list of items with their average costs in Germany:
a) White Bread- EUR 1.27-1.43
b) Milk (1 litre)- EUR 0.71-0.84
c) Rice (1 Kg-White)- EUR 1.79-2.15
d) Tomato (1 Kg)- EUR 2.61-2.82
e) Eggs (12)- EUR 1.61-1.78
f) Potato (1 Kg)- EUR 1-1.32
4. Transportation Costs in Germany
Transportation costs in Germany usually hover around EUR 1.33 for every 0.25 gallons or 1 litre of gasoline while monthly bus passes cost around EUR 81. A single-use bus ticket will cost you EUR 2.70 while taxi tariffs stand at EUR 20 for 8 kilometers or a 5 mile trip.
5. Average Utilities and Bills Cost
You will currently have to fork out 29.42 cents for a kilowatt hour in consumption or CT/kWh. Considering utilities, monthly costs may hover around EUR 215.21. Living with roommates means splitting these costs. Germans pay close to twice the per kilowatt of power as compared to residents in the U.S while paying lower in overall utility bills owing to energy efficiency of appliances. Bills come on a quarterly basis in Germany and average energy costs for a single person in a 45 square meter studio in Berlin will be EUR 95-120 each month. The rate is approximately EUR 2.50 per square meter. Hence, monthly utility costs will vary between EUR 200-250 across cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne. Monthly internet bills hover around EUR 30-40, depending upon your chosen package. This includes fixed landline charges as well. An added cost is the compulsory German television and radio license.
Tips to Save Money in Germany
Here are some handy tips for saving money during your time in Germany:
1. Subscriptions to gymnasiums and fitness facilities may touch upwards of EUR 20 every month; therefore join the sports club of the University instead to save money and maintain your health and fitness levels. Sports clubs usually have nominal charges with their own gymnasiums, sports like Handball and Ultimate Frisbee and many other activities throughout the year.
2. You will find numerous second-hand and thrift stores in Germany including many shops selling footwear, ornaments, clothing and furniture at attractive bargains. These charity shops or Kleiderkammer are excellent places to find bargains without denting your wallet. Many bigger German towns also have flea markets or Flohmarkte on a regular basis, which offer great discounts on a variety of items.
3. Travel by bike- Cycling is a great option to driving and commuting by public transport. Cycling is hugely popular in Germany with an estimated 43, 000 miles of cycling pathways present in the country.
4. Share when you can- It is always cheaper and more fun to share with roommates and friends. This arrangement is common in Germany where it is known as Wohngemeinschaft or WG. Here, flat mates usually join forces to sign their tenancy agreements, thereby saving a whopping EUR 100-200 individually in several scenarios. There are several online portals such as WG-Gesucht and other communities for finding flat mates.
5. Enjoy leisure activities for free- Germany has several free and fun leisure activities that you can enjoy in your spare time. Some of the best experiences are also totally free. You will not have to spend anything for cycling or walking along the Rhine or even reading to your heart’s content in the English Garden in Munich or simply unwinding with new friends at the Tempelhofer Field in Berlin. You can visit local parks for several games of Frisbee and football and Germans are always welcoming in these scenarios.
6. Make use of the Aktionstage– A few days on the calendar will give you more value for your money. For example, you can check Action Days or Aktionstage where these feature several enticing discounts on diverse activities and attractions. 19th May is International Museum Day and several museums throughout Germany open for visitors with absolutely free entry charges. Every cinema will come with the Kinotag where admission prices come down sharply to EUR 5-6. Check whether the local cinema has a discount offer before booking your seats likewise.
7. Neighborhood Fairteilers deserve special attention- Germans are mostly obsessed with fair pricing and the Fairteiler movement has gained much traction as a result. Fairteilers or fair sharers in Germany are those who get food that is donated by people before sharing it at hugely subsidized costs to people who need the same. They may also take unsold food from the supermarkets that would have been wasted otherwise. Those on shoe-string budgets may find these options really helpful. You can use the dedicated website for food sharing and call up all outlets throughout Germany.
Cost of living in Germany – FAQs
Q1. What is the cost of living in Germany for international students?
A: On average, international students will have to spend EUR 588-799 every month on cost of living in Germany.
Q 2. What is the cost of living in Germany for a family?
A: The cost of living in Germany for a family will hover between EUR 2497-2747 every month.
Q 3. What are average food costs in Germany?
A: Average food costs may be EUR 40-50 per week for staples and EUR 30-40 for a meal at a standard German restaurant.
Q4. What is average rent in Germany?
A: The average rent in Germany hovers between EUR 739-1030 on average.