Cost of Living in Germany
Contrary to what many people think, Germany perfectly balances the individual’s average earnings and the cost of living.
Basic expenditures in Germany are slightly higher than in other leading European cities, but wages tend to be higher in many cases too.
Like any other cosmopolitan and well-developed urban city, rent in German cities swings from over-the-top to modest. Cost depends on your chosen location: Munich is the most expensive city with rent averaging €10 per square meter; Berlin remains the ideal expat location and the exception among Germany's large cities offering no more than €4 or €5 per square meter. Almost 30 percent of income goes to cover rent and utilities.
"Rents are very high in Heidelberg. Buying is much more than I am used to in the US."- Sarah Fancy Fürstenberger, Expat in Heidelberg, Germany
Average rental prices per calendar month (pcm):
- One-bedroom apartment city centre - €652 pcm
- One-bedroom apartment Outside city centre - €471 pcm
- Three-bedroom apartment city centre - €1,230 pcm
- Three-bedroom apartment Outside city centre - €900 pcm
The next expenditure on the list after rent is food, personal effects and transportation expenses. Shopping is much like in the US and other urban European cities, modern malls are everywhere, branded items are pricey, and essentials are widely available. For those fond of tailors, remember that clothes are specified in centimetres and not sizes.
Average food prices:
- Meal for two in an inexpensive restaurant - €10
- Three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant - €43
- McDonalds combo meal (fast-food chain prices) - €7
- One litre of milk - €0.70
- One dozen eggs - €1.80
- One kilogramme of chicken breasts - €6.80
- One bottle of domestic beer - €85
- One bottle of imported beer - €1.25
- One bottle of mid-range wine - €5
"The thing about Germany, though, is that food is often much cheaper than in Serbia, which is actually crazy, because the wages here are at least three times higher than in Serbia."- Tihana Smiljanic, Expat in Germany
Travelling to the neighbouring countries is a great idea when in Germany. Travel may cost as little as 100 Euros, but come winter, where fuel costs are high, expect to add more to your travel budget.
Earnings and status determine the individual tax rate. In Germany, taxes go as high as 44.3 percent for an individual. There are also deductions due to Value Added Tax (VAT). If you own a business that trades, then trade tax is also due.
Expat Services in Germany
Don't miss our Expat Services in Germany