Cost of Living in Germany
If you’re planning to move to Europe, Germany most likely is one of the first destinations popping up in your mind. It is not a secret that Germany is an attractive country. But so far you haven’t made a detailed investigation on what the living costs may be like if you ever decided to move to Germany. Are they relatively higher than other EU countries? What about the purchasing power? How much of a budget would you need to allocate every month for a preferred standard of living?
The idea of moving to Germany may be quite intimidating at first when you look from a cost of living perspective since it is one of the richest countries in the world, but when compared to some other major EU countries -like Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, etc.- we can say it is even rather cheap. In this article, we will take an extensive dive into the cost of living in Germany with all relevant answers to your potential questions.
Let’s get the ball rolling!
Is It Expensive To Live in Germany?
The first question comes out of the blue. No big worries. We can say that the average cost of living in Europe is much higher than that of Germany. So it would not be fair to call Germany an expensive country to live in. But that is of course fully dependent on your preferred lifestyle, where you would like to lodge in, and what type of activities you are planning to do every month. If you have a family then you will need to allocate more budget to your accommodation needs for instance when compared to a loner student’s flat.
Purchasing Power in Germany
As far as the purchasing power per capita is concerned, there is significant diversity among urban and rural districts across Germany, and even between each of them. Not surprisingly, large population density areas like the metropolitan cities of Hamburg, Münich, Stuttgart, and Düsseldorf enjoy higher-than-average purchasing power. However, this is not the case for all metropolitan areas. Berlin for instance is around 10 percent below the national average.
Germany Purchasing Power vs. Other Countries
- Local purchasing power in Germany is 3.24 percent higher than in the US
- Local purchasing power in Germany is 30.07 percent higher than in France
- Local purchasing power in Germany is 9.70 percent higher than in the UK
Living Costs in Germany
Germany’s living costs are fairly higher in the South and West than they are in the North and East. South Germany is the most expensive region to live in. Prices are reasonably lower in the East part of the country. If you are a student, your monthly budget needs to be around €850 without rent, but this may rise to €2,800 for a family of four.
Now let’s have a closer dive into living costs by relevant items.
Renting apartments is more popular in Germany than buying them. Because of the supply and demand gap, you may encounter tough competition when trying to rent a flat in Germany. By region, prices differ considerably. If you live in a certain metropolitan city, like Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, or Hamburg, you may have to allocate nearly 50 percent of your monthly budget to rent. But for a single person who prefers to be located in Leipzig for instance, a one-bedroom apartment flat may cost even below €700, which is the national average. The same apartment in Munich would cost around €1,100. Just to give a bird’s eye perspective, the national average for German rent per square meter is €9,82 in 2022.
If you are into cooking, you will save money by dropping into a grocery shop rather than eating out in a restaurant. Grocery shopping costs in Germany are still relatively lower than in other parts of Europe, despite rising inflation. In Germany, a single person would spend around €200 per month on average for grocery shopping while a family with two children will have to spend two times more than this budget. It is worth mentioning that there are some discount supermarket chains like Lidl and Aldi where you can buy food, beverages, and tobacco at a considerably low price.
To give you a better understanding here’s a list of prices for some common grocery purchases in supermarkets:
Milk (regular), (1 liter)
Loaf of White Bread (500g)
Rice (white), (1kg)
Eggs (regular) (12)
Local Cheese (1kg)
Chicken Fillets (1kg)
Beef Round (1kg)
Not surprisingly this is dependent on your choice of food and the type of restaurant you wish to eat in. In a moderate restaurant, two people will pay something like €50 on average for a three-course meal. Divide this cost by half for a relatively inexpensive one. If you go for a budget meal it would cost around €8 per person. Broadly speaking, eating out in Germany is nice and affordable.
Talking about electricity, a unit price per kilowatt hour is unfortunately quite expensive in Germany. The estimated monthly basic utility cost for an 85-square meter apartment is around €240. That covers expenses like water, gas, electricity, and garbage disposal. But if you consider living in Munich and Frankfurt, then add €20 to €40 on top of this cost. Additionally, for a 60 Mbps (or more) unlimited internet service, a €35 budget on average is necessary. One minute of prepaid local mobile tariff is roughly €0.10.
Public transportation is quite appealing when you live in Germany. It decreases the cost of living to a certain degree as well compared to other European countries since pricing is fairly reasonable. A one-way ticket may range from €2.30 to €3.50 based on the span of travel. In case you commute to work every day or as a student, you travel regularly, it is better to take advantage of the reduced rates of a monthly pass. The average rate is around €70. If you wish to use your car for convenience purposes, that surely will be a more expensive option. One liter of gasoline costs €2.20 in 2022. Taxi usage may be another option for occasional travelers. In that case, be aware that rates vary significantly per city, but the normal tariff for taxi starts is around €3.50 on average.
In Germany, the minute you enter the country, you have to be already covered under a health insurance plan. This is obligatory and there are no exceptions to it according to your income level or period of stay. Public health insurance plan applies to all residents, is regulated by the government, and thus charges relatively lower premiums compared to private health insurers. The monthly premium cost to incur if you are in a public healthcare plan varies roughly between €70 to €80 per person. Wanting to increase your coverage under the scope of a private healthcare insurance plan always comes at a cost. This is shaped by the individual needs and preferences and so there is no standard premium tariff applicable to each person.
How Does the Cost of Living in Germany Compare to Other Countries?
Now that you have a basic understanding of living in Germany, see the sections below where we compare the costs with other countries, with the help of figures from the Numbeo.
Living Costs in Germany vs. Denmark
- Consumer prices in Germany are 18.27 percent lower than in Denmark (without rent)
- Consumer prices including rent in Germany are 16.42 percent lower than in Denmark
- Rent prices in Germany are 11.33 percent lower than in Denmark
- Restaurant prices in Germany are 34.65 percent lower than in Denmark
- Groceries prices in Germany are 18.91 percent lower than in Denmark
Living Costs in Germany vs. France
- Consumer prices in Germany are 10.03 percent lower than in France (without rent)
- Consumer prices Including rent in Germany are 6.28 percent lower than in France
- Rent prices in Germany are 3.21 percent higher than in France
- Restaurant prices in Germany are 20.04 percent lower than in France
- Groceries prices in Germany are 30.64 percent lower than in France
Living Costs in Germany vs. the US
- Consumer prices in Germany are 14.34 percent lower than in the US (without rent)
- Consumer prices Including rent in Germany are 25.60 percent lower than in the US
- Rent prices in Germany are 44.19 percent lower than in the US
- Restaurant prices in Germany are 18.73 percent lower than in the US
- Groceries prices in Germany are 30.83 percent lower than in the US
The Bottom Line
There you have it. Germany is a country that is popular among digital nomads and expats who want to live in an EU country with high living standards.
Have you ever lived in Germany? Have you ever thought of living there? Let us know…