As per OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Better Life Index, Germany has an above-average ranking when it comes to well-being and quality of life. Even after such high standards in the country, bills in major cities of Germany are quite less compared to other countries in Europe like London, Paris, Zurich and Rome.
This article will provide brief overview regarding cost of living in Germany. This will include housing cost, education, groceries, public transport, healthcare and more.
General Cost of Living in Germany
An average household expense in Germany is around 2700 euros a month, according to Federal Statistics Office. Out of this amount, 900 euros is allocated for housing, maintenance and energy. Along with that, an average 350 euros is spent on groceries. For transport, another 350 euros is spent and over 280 euros for leisure activities.
Mercer’s Quality of Living survey has ranked German cities quite highly when it comes to standard of living. In the survey of 2019, 7 cities from Germany were featured in the list of top 30. Out of those 30, 3 were listed in the top 10 i.e., Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. As per HSBC, Germany is considered among the best countries for expats.
When it comes to poverty, people who earn less than 14000 euros per year are considered at risk. Over 15 percent population lies under this category. The group of people who make under the mentioned amount are listed below:
- People living alone
- Single parents
- People with low level education
Average Cost of Living in Germany
The living expenses on monthly basis on average is around 1200 euros. But still, there are many different aspects which can affect this number, location in particular.
following are the cost of living for a single person in Germany:
Rent: From 300 euros to 700 euros – this goes from shared flat rooms to a single-bed apartment in the city
Utilities: Around 220 euros which includes TV, mobile and internet.
Travel: over 100 euros.
Eating and Drinking: Around 150 to 200 euros.
Health Insurance: Around 110 euros. This is the average rate for students who have applied for public health insurance. The amount can be higher for others. In some cases, the amount is covered partially from the employer as well.
Going out: This depends on the lifestyle. But on average, 50 to 150 euros.
Total: Over 850 to 1500 euros
If we try estimating for a couple who share accommodation, the cost of living will be about 50 percent more than this.
Living Cost in Major Cities
Cost of Living in Berlin, Germany
Even though Berlin is the capital, it is one of the cheapest cities in Germany. Though rental price varies, the west is more expensive than east. Berlin has multicultural population. Because of that, it’s quite easy to buy street food like kebabs etc. There are many open-air street food markets in the city.
Cost of Living in Munich, Germany
The cost of living in Munich is higher than Berlin. The city has a strong economy, therefore high rent and living costs. Its hard to find a single-bed apartment in Munich for less than 1000 euros. Students who plan to move Munich should always try their best to attain student accommodation so that their monthly expenditure can be kept low.
Cost of Living in Cologne, Germany
Though Cologne is not as expensive as Munich, it is still more costly than Berlin. Here, single-bed apartment prices start from 800 euros. The city has a hefty population of students there.
Cost of Living in Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg can be compared to Cologne as it has rental and living prices slightly higher than Berlin. A single-bed apartment can cost over 900 euros a month. This city is also popular among students and professionals. Because of that, flat and housing demand is high just like in Berlin.
Cost of Living in Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt is widely recognized as one of the expensive cities for living. This city is second to Munich only. A single-bed apartment in Frankfurt costs about 900 euros a month. A good option to live for less in Frankfurt is the farmer market. For drinks, it is a relatively cheaper option than bar.
Salary and Wages in Germany
In Germany, the average gross household income is around 4800 euros a month. For single men, the average earning is 2800 euros a month. On average, this is 500 euros more than a single woman makes. In case of annual disposable income, a German household makes up to 30000 euros a year which is higher than OECD average. This figure puts Germany above all of the neighboring countries except Switzerland and Luxembourg.
The minimum wage in country is 9.60 euros per hour. If a person is working 40 hours a week, they will make a gross salary 1664 euros a month. The hourly wage rises two times in a year and will potentially reach 10.45 euros by mid-year. The monthly minimum wage of Germany is less than Belgium and Netherlands but higher than Poland, France and Czech Republic.
Housing Costs in Germany
The cost of housing in Germany is relatively high but it depends on the kind of property one chooses and the type of area they are living in. Suburbs offer the best deals as compared to all locations. For expats, there is no restriction and they can buy any property across the country.
Renting in Germany is common among expats. It is vital to understand the advertisements for rental properties. For instance, if an advertisement for a four-room apartment is published, it means it contains 2 bedrooms, a dining room, and a living room. Bathrooms, halls, and kitchens are not recognized as rooms.
For renting purposes, the costliest cities are Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. In contrast to that, the cheapest are Leipzig and Bremen. Following is the average rental cost per month for a single bedroom apartment:
- Munich: 1280 euros
- Berlin: 960 euros
- Frankfurt: 1035 euros
- Leipzig: 590 euros
- Bremen: 690 euros
As compared to other major cities in Western Europe, rent in Berlin is quite cheaper than most. The average rent is lower than below mentioned capital cities:
Property Cost in Germany
Property prices vary on broad scale all across Germany. The cost of properties is significantly high in Berlin. In 2020-2021, an 11 percent increase was observed.
Bavaria is expensive as compared to other places. A house in Bavaria will cost three times costlier than the neighboring southern cities. The median property price in Munich is 7882 euros per square meter.
Below mentioned is the average property price per square meter for major cities:
- Berlin: 4743 euros
- Munich: 7882 euros
- Dusseldorf: 3338 euros
- Frankfurt: 4138 euros
- Cologne: 3609 euros
- Dortmund: 2071 euros
- Stuttgart: 4037 euros
If you are planning to Buy a House in Germany: Click Here
Domestic Bills Cost in Germany
If we measure the electricity by Kilowatt-hour in Germany, the prices are highest all across Europe. At the same time, an average household uses less energy compared to other European countries. Utility bills are received on quarterly basis in Germany. The utility cost on average including electricity, gas, water and waste disposal for an apartment of 85 square meter is around:
- Berlin: 234 euros
- Munich: 257 euros
- Dusseldorf: 217 euros
- Frankfurt: 279 euros
- Cologne: 249 euros
- Hamburg: 233 euros
Just like many other countries, Germany is also transitioning towards renewable energy which has caused a shift in electricity and gas bills. Though renewable energy will reduce the utility bills, the green taxes will eventually leave a person paying more.
Do you know that you can save money by changing electricity providers in Germany? This is one of the cost-saving hacks which is recommended by Germans.
Internet/Phone in Germany
The internet cost in Germany is around 35 to 40 euros per month. There is a fixed charge of landlines from service providers. Concerning living cost, a German television and Radio license (ARD) is mandatory for those in Germany.
Healthcare Costs in Germany
Expats have to opt for health insurance in Germany. They can get the basic package which is around 110 euros for students and around 160 to 400 euros for professionals. The cost of insurance varies depending upon person’s age, cover and the service provider.
The employed expats can pay off their insurance from their respective company insurer. Those who are self-employed, have to opt for private health insurance.
In exchange to this, German residents have full access to free or subsidized healthcare all across the country.
A detailed comparison between Public and Private Health Insurance can be found: HERE
Transport Cost in Germany
The standard of public transport is exceptionally high in Germany, that too at a reasonable price as compared to other countries transport systems. This helps further in reducing the cost of living in Germany.
The monthly expense ranges from 60 euros to 90 euros. Depending on the number of covered zones, a 1-way ticket costs around 2.7 to 4 euros in Germany. At times, there are special offers as well to facilitate customers. People who commute to their offices via train can purchase a BahnCard as it offers reduced rates. The same card can be used on buses as well.
Buses are relatively cheaper than train but the fare is calculated on the basis of distance traveled. Just like majority of countries, fare is paid on bus instead of prepaid tickets. As mentioned earlier, the travel cards can cover the bus fare as well. The system of transportation across the country is well organized. If any passenger is found without a ticket, he/she will be charged a fine of 40 to 60 euros.
Buying a car is expensive as compared to local public transport. In the major cities like Munich and Berlin, expats do not need to have a car apart from convenience purpose. The fuel prices recently are around 1.42 euros
Taxis are also available but fares vary from city to city. The starting fare is around 3.2 to 3.6 euros. Similarly, starting fare is 3.7 euros in Munich, 4 euros in Berlin, 3.5 euros in Hamburg, 3.5 euros in Frankfurt, Cologne and Dortmund.
Study Cost in Germany
Germany is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to education. There are a number of universities that land in top global rankings of best universities. Studying is free for students in some of the universities. This is one of the boosters for country’s reputation in terms of a student hotspot.
The level of education is also high-standard. In Germany, public schools do not charge any fee. This is a good option for expats given the fact that their children learn the language at rapid pace.
If the children are not proficient in the language, then the alternate solution is sending them to international schools. Though, tuition fee is a disadvantage since it is expensive. The fee, of course, vary among different institutions.
The average cost of school begins at roughly 16000 euros and goes up to 20000 euros a year for comprehensive schools. The fee is around 30 to 50 percent less when it comes to junior schools. There are bilingual schools as well which cost over 600 euros a month.
Childcare Costs in Germany
The childcare system of the country is exceptionally strong. A number of cities also offer daycare subsidies. The ratio is high in East Germany, but gradually increasing in West Germany as well.
Costs regarding childcare vary all across Germany. Subsidized care is offered based on income in childcare centers that are owned by the state. In Berlin, public daycare centers are free. On the other hand, international and private daycare facilities are costly. For a private nanny, the average monthly salary is around 1500 euros.
Food and Drink Costs in Germany
The upmarket stores like Tegut and Rewe are expensive in Germany. Although, staple foods are not comparatively cheaper. If shopping at Aldi and Lidl, one can save around 10 to 15 percent.
A German spends over 14 percent of his income on food, drinks, and tobacco. Over 200 euros are spent on groceries on a monthly basis. A couple’s average spending is 365 euros a month, whereas a family of 4 is likely to spend around 500 euros.
Eating out is considered an affordable commodity in Germany. There are still some high-end restaurants where prices can surely differ. An average household in Germany spends 157 euros on dining outs per month. An average lunch is easily around 8 to 10 euros. For a bakery snack along with a sandwich, the average price is 5 euros. In the same manner, a dinner at a typical restaurant cost about 10 to 50 euros per head. Around 10 to 15 percent is the tip charge which is usually not included in the bill.
Beer and Wine
There are different sizes in which German drink beer and spirits. For a small beer, the average price when drinking at a bar or somewhere outdoor is 3.5 euros. Beer bottles on the other hand can be purchased for a mere 0.63 to 1.67 euros.
A normal-ranged vodka is priced around 12 to 14 euros. Budget and affordable vodka will cost 5 to 9 euros. Prices vary according to different supermarkets.
Leisure Activities in Germany
The clothing prices in Germany are almost similar to those in neighboring countries. Dresses, for instance, can cost about 35 euros if purchased from a chain store. Similarly, a good pair of jeans with exceptional quality will cost around 76 euros.
For those thinking about joining sports clubs or gyms, membership costs around 30 euros on average. The rental cost of an hour-long tennis court session costs about 20 euros. If one is willing to save on monthly expenditures, they can get themselves a pair of good runner shoes which costs about 78 euros.