Life in Germany is relatively inexpensive: if you compare the cost of living in big cities in Germany with that in other cities around the world, you will find that it is fairly low.
There are also considerable variations within Germany, however: life in a major city in the west of Germany is far more expensive than in a small town in the east of the country. This is mainly due to the costs of renting and buying a home.
Naturally, this will depend to a large extent on the location of the house or flat, and how it is equipped. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that you will have to spend roughly a third of your income on a place to live.
When planning your stay, you may also find it useful to know that German households spend on average around 480 euros per month on food and clothing. In total, you can expect to spend around 2,700 euros on living expenses.
These figures apply to the average household – from those living alone to large families. Students and doctoral researchers must prove that they have an income of around 10,400 euros per year if they apply for a visa to study or do a PhD in Germany.
However, this is not normally enough to cover all living expenses: according to a 2016 study conducted by the German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk), a student in Germany has on average 918 euros per month to pay for rent, food, clothing, travel, study materials, leisure etc. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Statistical Office, the average single household in Germany needs 1,706 euros per month.
Good to know:
- Prices in Germany are moderate as compared with those in other European countries, and are only 6.8 percent higher than the EU average. By way of comparison, prices in Denmark are 41 percent and in the non-EU country Switzerland 62 percent above the EU average.
- Prices in Germany are fairly stable. For years, inflation has been well below 2 percent.
- On average, rents and living expenses are significantly lower in eastern Germany.