If you are moving as a couple to Germany, the cost of living is one of the most essential aspects. You need to make sure your salary and savings suffice and secure you a good life in a new country.
In Germany, couples spend on average about 2,923 EUR per month. Your cost of living will mainly depend on the location and the housing situation. Major cities like Munich and Hamburg have the highest prices nationwide.
Germany is a desirable country to live in for singles, couples, and families. However, average monthly expenses are different for everyone. This article looks at the budget and the cost of living for a couple in Germany.
How much does it cost for a couple to live in Germany?
According to the Federal Statistics Office, the average German household spends an average of 2,507 EUR per month, where 923 EUR goes to housing, energy, and maintenance. Most couples spend around 356 EUR on groceries, 325 EUR on transport, and 239 EUR on leisure per month.
When making a budget for your future life in Germany, consider the average income of a typical household, which is 3,994 EUR. With that said, the average household spends about 64% of its available income on living expenses.
In contrast, singes have an average income of 2,176 EUR and spend about 78% of it just to pay the bills. Therefore, as a couple, you might have a budget of over 4,000 EUR per month, which gives you a great lifestyle anywhere in Germany.
The cost of living for a couple mainly depends on the city they live in, so in Munich, you need at least 2,500 EUR for basic life. A better lifestyle can be achieved starting from 3,000 EUR.
For a middle and upper-class life, you should strive for at least 5,000 EUR and above in a shared income.
Between 1,500 EUR and 2,500 EUR per month can be enough in smaller, less expensive cities.
Cost of living vs. location
The cost of living in Germany widely depends on the location. So some cities are almost half more expensive than the average:
|Munich||Bavaria||+ 44 %|
|Stuttgart||Baden-Württemberg||+ 27,1 %|
|Frankfurt||Hesse||+ 24,3 %|
|Freiburg||Baden-Württemberg||+ 19,4 %|
|Heidelberg||Baden-Württemberg||+ 17 %|
Average cost of living for a couple in Germany
According to German statistics, the average cost of living for a couple without children in Germany is as follows:
|Item||Amount (EUR)||In %|
|Food and drinks||402||13,7|
|Clothing and shoes||113||3,9|
|Free time and leisure||332||11,4|
Most people in Germany rent apartments instead of buying. Thus, renting is very popular. This factor drives housing prices up in all major German cities.
Besides, apartments often come unfurnished and even without a kitchen. So, you should budget for this as well. Read this article on “why German apartments don’t have kitchens.”
Here is an example of typical monthly rent prices for apartments in Munich (EUR):
|One-bedroom in the city center||1,000 – 1,500|
|One-bedroom outside the city center||750 – 1,200|
|Two-bedroom in the city center||1,500 – 1,900|
|Two-bedroom outside the center||1,200 – 1,500|
|Three-bedroom in the city center||1,900 – 3,000|
|Three-bedroom outside the city center||1,300 – 2,200|
Despite being the capital, Berlin still has affordable rents in some areas. Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Berlin are the most expensive cities for renting. They also have seen some of the most significant increases in rent costs in recent years.
The kitchen is another expense to consider. It’s not unusual for outgoing tenants or homeowners to take their kitchen cupboards, sink, and appliances with them.
Buying a kitchen and light fixtures plus installation can easily cost thousands of euros. So check this article about kitchen prices in Germany and how much it costs to install it.
Your apartment will almost definitely be the largest factor influencing your cost of living as a family in Germany.
If you decide to live in a major metropolitan area, this will definitely have the most significant impact on your living costs. Furthermore, some cities have a particularly tough market for tenants. It might take a while until you find a place to live.
Expats can expect to pay around 17-20 EUR per square meter in cities like Munich and Frankfurt for a solid furnished apartment in a better-than-average neighborhood.
The price falls to 14-15 EUR in the other large cities, and in Berlin, rents are around 12-13 EUR.
However, rents drop significantly for families who choose to stay away from major German hubs or prefer more rural locations. You can find homes at around 6 EUR to 8 EUR per square meter.
For example, in Leipzig, you will get the best value for your money in terms of rent and other goods and services across the board.
Don’t forget about the rental deposit. Landlords require 2 to 3 rents to be paid as a security deposit before the moving-in date. The money will be paid back to you after you move out.
Bills for utilities come in addition to the rent as a monthly expense and are paid by the tenant (in most cases).
Average utility costs are around 100 EUR – 180 EUR for a couple living in a 1-2 bedroom apartment.
In Germany, people pay around 2,50 EUR per square meter for utilities when living in an apartment. Utilities include:
- hot water
- gas or electricity (usually you will not have both)
- trash collection
- snow removal
- janitorial and landscaping services
A phone line and fast internet connection cost you an additional 30 EUR per month. German households also pay an extra 15 EUR for TV (which is mandatory).
You can also get a VPN and enjoy your Netflix and Amazon Prime. NordVPN is the best VPN provider you can find.
Electricity also comes as an additional bill of around 50-60 EUR every month, depending on your expenditure.
You can choose your electricity provider and switch to the cheaper one. Learn more about electricity in Germany in this article. German homes rarely have AC or a ceiling fan, so it provides another way to save some money.
In Germany, the average couple spends 402 EUR on food and drinks. Standard groceries are generally affordable in Germany compared to most other European countries. Discounters such as Aldi and Lidl offer unbeatable prices.
You only find lower average prices for a standard shopping basket in some Southern and Eastern European countries.
However, middle-class German families like to shop in the next price category supermarkets, such as Rewe, Edeka, and Kaufland. In those stores, items cost significantly more, but the quality is often higher.
Monthly public transport pass costs between 56 EUR and 120 EUR, depending on the city and the number of zones included. Couples spend about 385 EUR per month on transportation by using public transport or private cars.
Transportation is very efficient in Germany but can cost you. Intercity trains are costly. Traveling by bus is usually cheaper than by train. Monthly passes within one city are generally quite affordable.
Monthly tickets give you access to all public transport in the city, including the subway, trains, trams, and busses.
If you want to drive a car as a primary way of transportation, consider its costs in the first place. Owning a car isn’t cheap in Germany, especially regarding fuel, insurance, parking, and maintenance. Read this article about the costs of owning a vehicle in Germany.
Taxis are costly in Germany and should be avoided. You will quickly pay 15 EUR even for a very short trip.
4. Mobile and Internet
On average, couples in Germany spend about 70 EUR per month on mobile and the internet. That includes bills for smartphones and home internet.
We all need to stay connected, especially with our children and partners. A typical rate for a SIM card with enough internet data is around 20 EUR per month.
There are several options for the home internet connection like 1&1, O2, M-net, Vodafone, etc. They all have different rates and speeds. You can expect to pay 35 EUR per month for the okay speed. To find the best rates check out online calculators like Verivox and Check24.
5. Health insurance
You and your other half will spend 14,6% of the gross income on health insurance. This applies to people with public health insurance. Nonetheless, statistics say that couples in Germany spend about 141 EUR on health on average.
In Germany, everyone with public health insurance pays the same amount, 14,6% of the gross monthly salary. The employer contributes half of it. Therefore, employees pay only 7,8% of their gross income.
An employee with salaries up to 64,350 EUR can enjoy public health insurance; however, self-employed and people with salaries above 64,350 EUR can opt for private coverage, which has its benefits.
Generally, the cost of public health insurance tightens the employee’s income and, hence, can’t be reduced. Yet, private insurance rates are calculated differently and usually are lower than public ones.
The private insurance rate isn’t based on income and varies from provider to provider. As a result, you might save a buck by getting private coverage instead of public.
Besides, in Germany, you rarely have to pay additionally from your budget when using health insurance. It covers your medical bill completely in nearly 100% of the cases.
In Germany, couples spend about 332 EUR on free time and leisure. It might include dinner at a restaurant, visiting a museum or movie, and maybe a weekend trip to nature. All costs have to be considered.
Couples spend on average about 191 EUR on eating out. It includes lunches during the workweek and dinners from time to time.
Whereas the average German eats out in a restaurant 136 times a year. One person’s average spending for eating out ranges between 147 EUR and 226 EUR per month.
Meals in restaurants generally have good value. Prices are slightly higher than in southern and eastern European countries. Expect to pay around 12-15 EUR for a meal.
Bakeries and takeaways fast food shops are 2-3 times cheaper.
Drinks are around 3-4 EUR for a half-liter draft beer and approximately 5-6 EUR for a glass of good quality wine. A coffee costs around 2-3 EUR in a local coffee shop or major chain.
Cinema tickets are priced at around 12-15 EUR.
For relaxed weekends away, you can look into three or four-star hotels, including breakfast, averaging between 80-125 EUR per night.
Salaries in Germany
Generally, someone earning between 2,500 EUR and 3,500 EUR has a decent salary to live in Germany. With that income, you can afford a decent life in a large German city, including renting a two-bedroom apartment and some leisure activities.
A couple will need double of that to have a comfortable lifestyle and save money every month in Germany.
Overall, Germany’s very good annual average salary is between 64,000 EUR and 81,000 EUR. A family of four and more can live comfortably on that money.
Salary varies depending on the location. In Munich, a salary of 50,000 EUR will be enough for a couple, but not for a family, whereas, in Leipzig, it’s a good wage.
Here are the top-paying German regions:
- Baden-Württemberg – €46,620
- Hesse – €46,329
- Hamburg – €45,571
- Bavaria – €45,124
- North Rhine-Westphalia – €43,829
Furthermore, these German cities pay the most to the skilled workers and executives:
- Stuttgart – €54,012
- Munich – €53,662
- Düsseldorf – €50,626
- Wiesbaden – €49,611
- Hamburg – €45,780
Read more about salaries in Germany.
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