Cost of Living in Germany
If you’re planning to study and live as an international student in Germany, it’s good to know and have accurate expectations about the cost of living in Germany. This article covers all the details you need to know.
Are you a student who just received an admission letter from a university abroad and now you’re floating above the clouds from the excitement of getting to know what the future is holding for you?
But, the next moment you start thinking of how hard it will be to you to deal with all responsibilities and challenges studying abroad causes. Abroad in Germany, you won’t only devote yourself of keeping the track with your studies and your university grades, but you’ll have to tackle some other living issues, most of the time all alone.
Having a better understanding of what awaits you across the border and how you can overcome the problems it carries this experience prior to your depart is, to a certain degree, decisive of your success.
Sounds a bit scary, right? However, there’s no reason for your excitement to shrink. The only problem you’re having at this point is the lack the proper information to help you have an idea of what it expects you in Germany. This is what we will go through together on this article.
Despite some German universities have reintroduced tuition fees for international students, the majority of them carry free-tuition higher education. The only university payment you need to care as an international student in Germany is a so-called semester contribution, a fixed amount of money you pay for specific university services like bus traveling, administrative assistance, sports facilities, dining halls and so forth.
Although the tuition-free education in Germany alleviates a great financial burden for you, there remains the cost of living. Germany is not that expensive country to live as a student, but delving deeper to find a better deal will amount to large savings. Overall, the total cost of living in Germany depends on factors like the location where you’re settled and what type of lifestyle you make. In industrial big cities prizes of apartments, food, clothes are higher. By contrast, in less-populated areas, you can expect cheaper prices for some products and services.
Choosing the proper place where to live, eat, buy, carry on social needs will save quite a lot of money. Furthermore, by cutting down some extra expenses you may have had in your home like regular night-outs will count for additional savings. The information below will definitely help you make exact calculations of how the cost of living in Germany is and in return you’ll be able to know how to reduce it at maximum.
The triangle of the three most important issues for you as an international student are normally housing, food and traveling. Once you get confident in tackling these three challenges others are supposed to be easier.
Average Rent in Germany
The first and the biggest concern for every student in Germany is finding a suitable place to rent. As you can normally expect in downtown areas prizes are higher and thinking of handling it all alone apparently impossible for your budget. For this, we suggest you find someone with whom you can share the apartment and hence the renting cost.
Big cities like Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt are mainly more expensive than other cities are, like Leipzig or Karlsruhe. Depending on where you’re aiming to find an apartment and what conditions you’re looking to have prices range at a wide scale. If you’re thinking of a one-bedroom apartment at the center of the city, the monthly rent is less than 700 euros. On the other hand the same apartment with one bedroom, in peripheral areas will cost you around 500 euros per month. If you’re looking for a perfectly furnished apartment, large and located near the center of the city than the rent per month will range from 1,000 euros to 1,500 euros.
How Much Does Food Cost in Germany?
If you’re miserable in the kitchen you better start learning how to cook on your own because eating in German restaurants is not a good option if you’re planning to save money.
At the present, a meal for two persons in a medium restaurant may cost on average 45 euros. In a smaller restaurant, the price for a meal may vary between 8 to 14 euros.
Followed by any casual dessert or any drink the price will surely climb higher and higher. For example, half a liter of German domestic beer costs 3.50 euros, as opposed to an imported beer which costs 3 euros. If you choose to have a cappuccino instead of a beer you’ll have to pay 2.64 euros. A 0.33-liter bottle of water costs 1.77 euros and a soda costs 2.17 euros.
You can give yourself the commodity to eat sometimes out in a restaurant but don’t do it often since there are better options. Universities have usually their own cafeteria and Mensa incorporated within the campus, which offer a variety of good foods at a low cost.
These dining halls use a flexible membership system which allows the student to charge his MensaCard a certain amount of money he possesses and then use that card to get his meal whose cost is normally cheaper than 5 euros.
If you take the courage to learn some basic skills in the kitchen to cook tasty dishes, this is still better for you because you’ll save some additional money for sure. Well, you may not be skilled enough to cook a restaurant-alike meal, but it is totally worthy. The cost of elementary food and drinks in Germany are not that high. Below is the average cost of some of these amenities:
- White bread (500g) – 1.24 €
- Milk (1 liter) – 0.71 €
- Eggs (12) – 1.64 €
- Rice (1kg, white) – 2.03 €
- Potato (1kg) – 1.06 €
- Onion (1kg) – 1.09 €
- Tomato (1kg) – 2.62 €
- Chicken (1kg) – 7.53 €
- Beef (1kg) – 65 €
- Apples (1kg) – 2.22 €
- Banana (1kg) – 1.58 €
- Oranges (1kg) – 2.29 €
Transportation Costs in Germany
As a student, you’ll be moving around during all the time. Hurrying to arrive on time in your classes, moving back to your apartment, going to meet a colleague on the other side of the city, going to shop, it may be stressful activities for everyone. Making the prominent selection of what type of transport to use may not only save you time, which is surely important but money too, which are by no doubt the biggest problem for a student.
As mentioned above, the semester contribution payment will cover your university bus ticket. If for whatever reason you have to take another type of transportation you might appreciate knowing how much it may cost to you.
By far the best way of moving from a destination to another one is using a bicycle, especially in over-crowded cities during rush hours. Among other traveling options you have surely the public transport is the cheapest. Currently, a one-way ticket on the local public transport costs 2.00 € on average. If you’re a regular traveller on the same line, then you can purchase a monthly ticket which costs 70€ on average. The initial taxi’s cost is averaged at 3.50€, while the kilometer varies between 1.55€ and 2.50€. If you possess a car you should know that the prize of gasoline ranges from 1.25€ to 1.49€.
Average Utilities and Bills Cost
Besides housing rent, you will need to cover monthly bills for heating, electricity, water and garbage. Unfortunately, the price of electricity in Germany is quite higher despite a slight decrease introduced in 2018. Currently, in Germany, you will have to pay 29.42 cents for a kilowatt hour (CT/kWh). Given this and the other amenities’ cost on average for an apartment of 85 m2, the total monthly cost is 215.21 €.
Other Expenses You Need To Consider
Aside from basic needs already mentioned there are also other expenses you have to cover while studying and living in Germany. For example, you may need to get yourself a pair of new shoes or buy some new clothes to adjust to the new season. In Germany the quality of clothing is superb, but so is the price too. A pair of jeans will cost you around 50 and 100 euros, while a pair of shoes (Nike Running shoes for example) will cost you between 60 and 120 euros. For a pair of Business shoes, you will have to pay a higher price ranging between 70 and 150 euros.
Another important thing you need to be aware of in Germany is that health insurance is mandatory by law regardless of your residence status. Thereby, you will have to pursue a health insurance plan from the very first day you enter the country. You can learn more about the health insurance system in Germany and how much insurance plans cost in this article.