How much does it cost to live in Germany?

How much does it cost to live in Germany?

If you’ve ever thought about living in Germany, surely the question how much does it cost to live in Germany? has come to your head sooner rather than later. In fact, a few days ago, a girl contacted me through Instagram to ask me if it was realistic for a couple to live on 3,000 euros net per month. What do you think? I think it depends. The cost of living in Germany depends radically on where you live and your marital and family status.

We’re going to go in parts, figuring out everything we can to try to give you an idea as close to reality as possible.

How much does it cost to live in Germany?

Germany’s most expensive cities

If you are considering moving to Germany, I recommend that you go through the quick guide to renting a flat in Germany. Where you will familiarize yourself with the most common terms in this area such as Kaltmiete or Warmmiete. You will also get to know the most common flat rental practices in Germany. For example, they usually come unfurnished and you have to apply almost as if it was your life’s work. (This also depends on the area).

Karlsfeld and Munich

As I already told you, depending on the city, the rent or purchase price of a property will vary considerably. In order not to get too crazy about this topic and follow a line, I share this article from the February 2019 Spiegel newspaper. Here you find a list of the 30 most expensive cities in Germany. This list is headed by Karlsfeld, followed by Munich.

Rental price per square meter

But what does this mean in numbers? According to the same article, this means that the Karlsfeld square meter rent is around 10.62 euros per square meter in an average area (Kaltmiete, or rental price without taking into account invoices). Followed by the 10.45 euros that round the square meter rental in Munich. We are talking about middle class neighbourhoods. Neither the most trendy nor the most remote. And so, these prices are 53% above the average rental price of a normal area in the rest of Germany.


The third on the list is Stuttgart with an average rental price per square meter of 9.97 euros. According to this index, Hamburg is ranked 13th in the list. On average, the rental price per square meter of a 65 square meter flat is 6.92 euros. And here we see in number what we already knew. That the cost of living in Germany, or at least the cost of rent, will vary considerably from one city to another.

According to another source consulted, the average rental price per square metre in Hamburg in 2019 is 12.52 euros for a flat of 60 square metres. According to this other source, the average rental price in Germany per square metre is around EUR 8,54.

But what other aspects are important?

Marital status

Being single or married in Germany can create a substantial difference in your checking account at the end of the year. In particular, if one partner earns substantially more than the other, you can organise Steuerklasse so that the earner who earns more pays less tax than he or she would be entitled to. In exchange for the one who earns less, he pays more taxes than he would be entitled to. In the end, the difference can be around 100 euros more net per month. That’s about 1,200 euros more per year. If you want to come and live in Germany, you will need to know how taxes work in this country.

If you already know what you are going to earn gross and you want to translate it into net, these calculators will help you:

Brutto Netto Rechner

Gehaltsrechner 2014


Although you could write a book about taxes in Germany, two brushstrokes that will interest you. If you declare yourself Catholic, you will see 8% or 9% of your gross monthly salary fly. This is what the Kirchensteuer calls. The amount depends on the city you live in.

Bavaria 8%, Hamburg 9%, Berlin 9%… Consult your city here.

If you live in Germany, you will see that about 5.5 % of your salary is deducted from your solidarity tax Solidaritätzuschlag . A tax that arose in 1991 and that, contrary to what many think, is not collected to rebuild the eastern part of Germany.

Family benefits

In order to be able to properly assess how much it costs to live in Germany, all the benefits you will receive for your children in Germany must be taken into account. That’s assuming you have them, of course.

Elterngeld and Kindergeld in Germany

Starting with the Elterngeld , you may find it interesting to know that even if you have never paid contributions in Germany, just because one of your parents stays at home looking after a baby (yours, not the neighbour’s) during his first year, you will receive 300 euros tax-free. Plus almost 200 euros per child per month in Kindergeld. That’s 500 euros a month. Kindergeld is independent of family income. Both types of benefits apply throughout the country. Both payments apply throughout Germany, regardless of where you live.

Aid for nursery schools

But this is not the end of the story. Depending on the city you’re in, you may have the kindergarten (Kindergarten or Krippe, or both) paid in full or in part. In this sense, I can tell you that in the Hamburg area you have five free hours of childcare from the first year of the baby’s life. If you need more hours, you will have to pay for them. Although the amount to be paid will be subject to family income, it is around 200 euros for the first child. If you have more children then you have a bonus. If you’re interested in this topic, don’t miss out on the way day-care centres in Germany work.

In Berlin, kindergartens are completely free of charge. You only have to make a small monthly contribution for the meal. And in the Bavarian area they want to make them free from September 2019. Specifically, the places for children from 3 years. Places for children from 1 to 2 years old will continue to be paid for, although costs will also be reduced. In Hessen they are also fortunate to have free nursery schools from 3 to 6 years old. In Germany you start school the year you turn 6 or 7. It depends again!

Other aid according to area

In this area, Bavaria, you will also have another additional and exclusive help from this area, the Familiengeld. Specifically, 250 euros per month per child aged between 13 months and 3 years. If you have three children of these ages, the sum of the monthly allowance is 800 euros (250€ + 250€ + 300€ from the third. The hairs like escarpias make me think about it. Three children between two and three years old. Maximum madness).

To all this, tax-free aid. Don’t tell me you don’t want to think about it….

If you have older, school-age children, you’ll be interested in how the education system works in Germany. I can tell you that it is very exceptional for a child to go to a private school in Germany. With this I want to tell you that I don’t think you will have to count on this cost.

Cost of TV installation

Did you know that in Germany you have to pay 17.5 euros a month for a TV connection? They call it Rundfunkbeitrag. It doesn’t matter if you use it or not. Every inhabited house has to pay for it. The good news is that you pay the same if you only have a TV as if you have 10.

Other costs to live in Germany

We could crumble one by one, but we’d go crazy. The shopping basket is another big cost of a home. It is difficult to assess whether it is more expensive or cheaper than in Spain. But I can tell you that there is a lot of price competition between supermarkets and that for some products, Germany is even a little cheaper. (Not in fruits and vegetables. Meat and fish don’t either. But some cosmetics brands are). Supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi are great value for money. Then you have Rewe or Edeka, more expensive but with more varied products. I don’t think this means family bankruptcy, so I don’t go into much more detail.

Dining out, public transport, clothes… it’s a matter of adapting. There are all the prices. Coming from Seville or Jerez, I would tell you that Hamburg, when it comes to dining out, is expensive. My friends, coming from Madrid, think it’s cheap. Clothes… ZARA and all Inditex stores are 20% more expensive in Germany than in Spain, I think this gives you an idea.

And if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you will also be interested to know how much a pregnancy costs in Germany.

In a nutshell

If you are thinking about coming to live in this country, and you want to know how much it costs to live in Germany – and if the salary they are offering you gives you to be able to live as you want – I recommend that you do the following:

Find a flat in the area and the characteristics you would like to rent. (Or buy). In the city where you are going to come to live. If the rent (Kaltmiete, the amount of the rent without taking into account expenses) does not exceed 30% of the net family income you are going to have. (Or your individual income). Then we are doing well. (Multiply your Kaltmiete by 1,2 and you will have an idea of what your Warmmiete or rental will be adding invoices to it). This information usually comes in the description of the apartment to rent normally.

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