Cost of Living in Germany: Education and Living Costs You Need To Know

I am moving to a new country yay! There’s so much to see! So many things to do, so many things to explore! But I am afraid of living costs. Will I have enough money to go till I find a job? After meeting the basic needs, can I jump to luxury? Yes, we all suffer from these kinds of panic before moving to a new country. It’s pretty obvious! As the standard of life varies from one country to another, so anxiety triumphs over excitement. So, let’s just see how is the standard of living or the !

If you are comparing several countries in Europe, you’ll be glad to see how Germany is cheaper in terms of living! With the number of facilities, you’re getting your transportation, healthcare, education, shopping, etc. Germany seems quite reasonable from the other Western European countries.

In the OECD Better Life Index, Germany ranks in a notable position. However, the cost of living varies according to your lifestyle and the area in which you are living. But before discussing the living costs, let’s have a quick peek about some important topics.


  • The biggest barrier to a job is language. Be it a part-time job or a full-time job, preference is given to German speakers.
  • You can work under multinational food chains, but that’s only for big cities like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt without knowing the language.
  • For a job, permanent residence is necessary.
  • In IT-based sectors, qualification matters only.
  • For a part-time job, you need to sign an 80-hour work per month contract.

These are the important things you need to know before starting your life in Germany! Time for some important Q/A! 

Photo by Leon from Pexels

Cost when moving to Germany?

For those who are relocating to Germany, you need to factorize more than the total monthly costs. For renting an apartment, you need to pay a generous amount of advance plus the cold rent for 2-3 months. Here’s a thing which may seem a bit odd. This will just be counted as the basic rent and other utilities will not be included here. The moving fees, transportation fees for moving, however, depends on you. 

Is Germany costly?

Well, you can say Germany is cheaper than Western Europe but costlier than Eastern Europe. In my opinion, lifestyle totally depends on you. If you want to sumptuous meals every time, or afford an apartment, then prices will eventually rise up. But if you can adjust with the hostels, or share, at the end of the month, you save a lot!

As I said, it’s a choice! Besides, it also depends on the location you will be staying on. Like living in a posh area in the centre of Munich will definitely be costlier than other smaller states. Making a smart, flexible plan regarding financial management will definitely make a change. 

What is the housing cost in Germany?

It hurts me to say this, but the housing cost in Germany is a bit high. However, you’ll face no sorts of restrictions in buying properties. Properties in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Cologne generally are cheaper. You can get properties under £3000 per square metre here. Yes, it still looks expensive but tries comparing with Berlin, Bavaria, Stuttgart, Hamburg! And Munich beats all by offering £6,300 per square metre! If you’re still looking for better deals, try the suburbs. 

What is the house rent in Germany?

Before renting an apartment, it’s better to understand the context of the rental advertisements. Kitchen, bathrooms, halls are not counted as rooms, but a 4-room house refers to a house with two rooms, a dining and a living room. It’s noteworthy people actually have to work overtime for paying their house rents. If you’re a student, you’ll need to spend around £250 as house rent excluding other utilities. The rentals vary from £250-£800 depending on the area and the type of house you are living in. This cost doesn’t include the internet, television, and trash disposal costs. Do read thoroughly about the payment scheme before signing a contract. 

How are the Utility Costs in Germany?

Germany is best known for using energy-efficient equipment and processes for minimizing electricity and gas consumption. Beware of green taxes as they charge you more! However, you don’t need to worry about the landline charges as they tend to be the same everywhere. But it’s mandatory to pay a fixed amount for television and radio services even if you’re not using them. You can calculate a £2.50 budget on an average per square metre. 

How are the Transportation Costs in Germany?

In this part of Europe, transportation costs are reasonably cheap. However, depending on city prices may vary from £60-£90 a month. It’s better to use a BahnCard for discounted rates. InterCity trains can sometimes offer special discounts. Bus fares tend to be a bit cheaper. But don’t forget the tickets while traveling otherwise get ready to pay a fine of around £60.

You get lucky for transportation if you are a student! Free commutes every time! Just punch your student ID and travel. The student ID also permits to travel one or two cities. In Germany, most people do not use cars. But if your lifestyle requires cars, I have to tell you fuel price and tax rates are rising vertically only!

What is the Study Cost like in Germany?

Yes, we are all aware of how Germany owns some top-ranking universities! Students globally are attracted to Germany because of the waivers and discounts they offer. Some top-ranking universities offer 100% scholarships! No wonder, Germany became the hotspot for students! What I like most about their education system is, public schools do not require fees at all!

Otherwise, in private schools, tuition fees get higher, although variation can be seen for different grades and different states. The fees wound up to £1600-£1800 per year on an average! 

How are healthcare costs in Germany?

All residents must have Germany Health Insurance. The insurance costs vary according to age, health conditions, and your preferred healthcare company. For students, the basic starts at £80. For professionals, it can range from £160-£400.

What are the food costs like in Germany?

In this part of Europe, supermarkets don’t stock items. For this, you may have to head on specialist stores. Sadly, prices are higher there. However, in supermarkets, you’ll find staple foods at a pretty basic cost. But yes classy supermarkets tend to charge higher. You can budget around £40-£50 for a week. This is the per-person cost only.

In restaurants, you’ve to spend around £5-£11 for a budget lunch. A glass of beer or wine charges you £10 more. But for grand restaurants, pay £30-£40 excluding the tips! 

How are the Childcare costs in Germany?

Eastern Germany takes pride in its excellent childcare service. It’s becoming more and more widespread in Western Germany too. The busy lifestyles people maintain there may not be suitable for child-raising. So they opt for childcare centres! The public childcare centres cost around £250-£400 on an average per month whereas the private institutions range from £600-£900. For older children, the rates are lesser.

What are the tax costs in Germany?

The residents residing in Germany pay tax on worldwide income. The tax rate is progressive in Germany, which rises from 14%-43%. For married couples, income taxes are charged jointly. Besides, a 5.5% tax is mandatory for integrating Eastern German states. 

How are pension costs and social security?

These are not included in the tax system. However, you’ll find a deduction from salaries for this purpose. Social security accounts for 40% of your wages. They cover your pensions, unemployment problems, health insurance, etc.

Statistics of average costs:

  • Rent- £250-£300 (students) or £700+ (family)
  • Utility Fees- £220-£250 (internet, TV, phone, inc.)
  • Travel- £0 (students)-£100
  • Food & Drink- £150-£250
  • Outings- £20 (varies according to lifestyle)
  • Health Insurance- £105-£120
  • Others- £25
  • Total – £750-£1500

A descriptive study of living costs in major cities:

Living Cost in Berlin:

Though Berlin is the capital of Germany, it’s still one of the cheapest cities! However, you will find many variations in rentals. While on the west side, rents are pricey whereas the east side remains budget-friendly. You will love the cheap street foods here, thanks to the multicultural residents! If you are still having budget problems, try the suburbs of Berlin!

Living Cost in Berlin
Photo by Shvets Anna from Pexels

Living Cost in Munich:

I don’t prefer this part much as the lifestyle here isn’t suitable for all. The rents, the foods, the utilities are comparatively very high. It seems quite impossible to find a one-bedroom flat under £1,000. My advice to the students will be to try sticking to the student dormitories as they will cut costs. But don’t forget to book in advance because the chasing after dorms are high. This state has a lot to offer!

Living Cost in Munich
Source: Pexels / Pixabay

Living Cost in Frankfurt:

This ranks as the second most expensive city in Germany. You get a one-bedroom apartment for £900 a month. Want to know a secret? Try the farmers’ markets and switch to shared apartments. See the changes in your pocket!

Living Cost in Frankfurt
Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels

Living Cost in Cologne:

In this part of Europe, socialization matters most. The best part is, it’s not as expensive as Munich or Frankfurt but still not as cheap as Berlin. The rents can be a bit high nut it’s adjustable. As socialization is vague here, you will find restaurants and cafes at very cheap rates!

Living Cost in Cologne
Sourc: Pexels / Pixabay

Living cost in Hamburg:

The prices in Hamburg can be compared to Cologne except the rentals can be a bit high. This European part is famous for students and entrepreneurs. So certainly demands for houses or lodgings are high. So, the lifestyle is not that expensive, and everything lies within the range. 

Living cost in Hamburg
Photo by Christian Richert from Pexels

Living Cost in Heidelberg:

This city is best known as the historic town. But it also revolves around research, especially in universities. The smaller flats are cheaper and really popular among students. The suburbs are suitable for families though it’s hard getting the right deals! Affording apartments can be hard here!

Living Cost in Heidelberg
Source: Pixabay

I would say, according to lifestyles, the standard or cost of living varies significantly among the rural towns and major cities. Sill there’s a comparative percentage that research shows:

  • 36% cheaper than the USA
  • 21% cheaper than the UK
  • 22% cheaper than Singapore
  • 17% cheaper than France
  • 14% more expensive than Spain

This is a comparative study when compared to other countries. But these conditions can vary depending on city, house, lifestyle, etc.

Which is the cheapest city to live in Germany?

Undoubtedly, it’s Berlin. Despite being the capital of Germany and being a major tourist attraction, the price range of everything lies within your hands. And if you are trying hard, it’s not quite impossible to rent a one-bedroom apartment for £500.

Which is the most expensive city to live in Germany?

The list is long, but it starts with Munich. Rest goes by Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Stuttgart. The rentals are the major problems here. Sharing an apartment can save a lot!

Tips that save money in Germany:

Sharing apartments:

Sharing houses or flats are much cheaper than affording your own place. This technique saves hundreds of euros,

Student Concession:

Germany is the best abode for students. The shops, cafes, theatres, parks, etc. try to offer their maximum discounts to students! Remember to avail them!

Travel Card:

Try to use the BahnCard while traveling. They cut down expenses. For students, try to find a university that offers free transportation anywhere or use the BahnCard50 and enjoy 50% discounts on travel! 

Use SIM cards:

Using SIM cards, and depending on internet-based services, you can save up to £15. But remember to have a reliable WiFi connection nearby.Lastly, try keeping your expenditure to £850 per month. Hope you enjoy a great stay!

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