Prices are based on the Euro. €1.00 is pretty much comparable to U.S. $1.00 give or take a few cents, depending on the current market.
Like anywhere in the world, housing is going to be the biggest expense. Renting a flat can either be done privately through someone who happens to own an apartment they rent out, or a property management company. One warning, though. Either way, finding an apartment in any of the major cities is going to be a nightmare. Our prices include the “warm” rent prices. Warm rent usually includes waste disposal, property maintenance and water, sometimes even heating. Always make sure to double-check on what is included!
Room in Shared Flat: €200-€500 per month
Stand-alone Apartment: €600-€1,000 per month
When looking for a stand-alone apartment be sure to look at the warm rent price. Most landlords will post the cold rent (which is usually a good deal cheaper just to catch more prospective renters and when it comes to signing documents have the shocking, much more expensive warm price printed.
Utilities / Internet
Electricity: €60 per month – which is really high
Gas: €25 per month
Internet: €30 per month
The joys of universal health care. You have to love it. Germany’s health care system (compared to the U.S.) is phenomenal. As a student, health insurance costs around €80/month or as low as €26/month for international students. Since health insurance is universal, you aren’t just paying for yourself. You pay into the system. The costs for health insurance are based on your monthly income. This means, the more you make, the more you pay into the system. However if you’re working in Germany both you AND your employer pay for your health insurance. Currently the monthly contribution rate for statutory health insurance for employees is 8.2 %. So say you have to pay €164 for your health insurance per month if you have a gross salary of €2,000. And your employer pays almost as much per month for your well-being as you do. Great, isn’t it?
For anyone visiting Germany, most expenses related to your health will need to be paid with cash but will be reimbursed through travel health insurance programs if you have one. This aside, let’s dig a bit more into the actual prices.
Doctor’s visits: €0.00 – That’s correct. Free. There used to be a quarterly fee when getting a medical exam but now it’s free. Blood draws, tests and x-ray are also covered within the public health care system.
Prescriptions: Anywhere between €10 – €100 depending on the type of drug.
Over-the-counter Medication: Around €2 and up: Our tip, always ask the pharmacist for the cheapest brand possible. It could be a difference between spending €5 and €15. Also, if it’s not super urgent you can buy headache pills and the like online at mail-order pharmacies such as Sanicare which will save you a lot of money.
Dental: Expensive. Getting a regular check-up and basic cleaning is free. Getting a good cleaning is based on an hourly rate and varies from office to office. Expect to pay €60 – €90 per hour of professional tooth cleaning. Root canals, crowns and caries will run between €200 – €500 per tooth after insurance deductibles.
I’m still always very surprised when I go shopping in Germany. It’s so cheap. For two people, we spend on average €25 per week on food. That’s nothing!
Fast Food Combos: €6 – €10
Restaurant (meal): €13 (this is for a pretty standard chill restaurant)
Beer (in a restaurant): €3 – €4 /0.5 liter
Beer (from grocery store): €0.8 – €1.5 /0.5 liter
If you’re planning on moving to a big city in Germany transportation costs are going to be fairly cheap. Here in Hamburg we hardly ever take a bus or underground. Everything is either within walking distance or easily reachable by bike. The bike lanes in Hamburg aren’t the best, but they do the trick. We used to have a car but hardly ever used it in the city and opted to save a good amount of money by just selling it off.
Car (used): €2,000 – €10,000
If you are looking for a used car, make sure to know there are a lot of hidden costs and taxes for owning a vehicle. These can range from €100 to €500 per year. When buying a used one, make sure to look at the TÜV report. TÜV is the safety certification every car needs to pass to drive on the roads. The certification needs to be renewed every other year and costs around €150 – €400 including the mandatory repairs. Besides that, every vehicle needs to have a pollution standard. Cars with the number 4 are allowed to drive within cities. Anything with a number 3 and below have restriction to which roads they are allowed to drive on and also have higher taxes.
Car (new): €10,000 – €25,000 (Mercedes and Porsche not included in average)
Gas: €1.30 – €1.70 per liter super, diesel is a bit cheaper
Car Insurance: €500 per year
Bus/Underground Single Ticket: €1.60 – €3.20
Taxi: Base fee: €3.20 + per kilometer: €2.35- €1.45 depending on the distance
Train: €120 (one-way across Germany)
The Deutsche Bahn is expensive. We recommend either getting one of their BahnCards to get discounts on tickets or looking for “Spartickets” through L’tur. They sometimes have tickets starting at just €17.
Long-distance Bus: Starting at just €5 for a trip from Hamburg to Berlin
Cell Phone (contract): €15 per month
If you are planning on staying in Germany less than a year, getting a contracted phone just doesn’t really make that much sense. Our €15 plan through Base Mobile includes 100 text messages, 200 minutes and unlimited data.
Cell Phone (prepaid): €10 per month
If contracts aren’t your thing, go for a prepaid SIM card. €10/ month will usually satisfy most people’s cell phone needs and the hassle of canceling a contract won’t apply. Most providers also have prepaid data packages which are quite reasonable.
Landline & Internet: €30 per month
Together with landline and Internet our costs come out to about €30 per month. This also includes a flat rate for international calling. The internet in Germany is fairly good but if you are signing a new contract, it could take up to three months (in bad cases) to get your internet turned on. We have ours through Vodaphone and are quite happy with the service they provide.
Haircut (Men): €12 – €40 (depending on where you go and if you get a shampoo or not)
Haircut (Women): €30 – €120 (depending on where you go)
All of the prices above (except the women’s haircuts) are based on the prices we paid while living in Hamburg, Germany.
Below we have included some links to sites full of helpful information pertaining to living expenses in Germany.
For International Students:
Note: As mentioned above our living expenses in Germany are based on living in Hamburg. This and Munich are the two most expensive cities within Germany. Major cities like Berlin and Cologne are quite a bit cheaper to live in, but recent statistics show they are also on the rise. If you’re looking to save some money, smaller cities and villages are way more affordable.