Cost of Living in Berlin
Living expenses in Berlin + saving tips
As we all know, Berlin is the capital of Germany. However the cost of living in Berlin is significantly lower than in world’s other megapolises such as London or New York. But how much money does one actually need to live in Berlin? This is what we’ll be talking about in this article and also how you can save money when living in Berlin.
Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, assist foreigners with starting and developing their own successful businesses in Germany as well as obtaining German residence permits through business and the EU Blue Card. Please contact us to get an individual consultation.
Please note that this article is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the mentioned organizations. The information is intended for informational purposes only.
Living expenses in Berlin
1. Cost of rent in Berlin
This is the most cost-intensive category of living expenses in Berlin. As we’ve already mentioned in one of our previous videos, finding an affordable apartment is not that easy and it takes time. That’s why it makes sense to budget for the costs for a furnished apartment in the first few months since it’s a lot easier to find such apartments. However they cost significantly more, so it needs to be accounted for in your cost of living in Berlin.
There are three general rent options: a furnished apartment, an unfurnished apartment and renting a room.
A. Cost of living in Berlin in a furnished apartment
The cost depends on the location. In includes water, electricity and heating costs.
Here is the average cost of living in Berlin in a furnished apartment:
Cost of living in Berlin for single person: 25 sq m (269 sq ft): 1200-1500 euro/month
Cost of living in Berlin for a couple: 50 sq m (538 sq ft) (1 bedroom & 1 living room): 1400-2000 euro/month
B. Cost of living in Berlin in an unfurnished apartment
The cost of living in Berlin, Germany in a regular unfurnished apartment is significantly lower. Usually such apartments have no furniture at all, no kitchen or even lamps. You’d have to buy your own furniture. Remember that when planning your living expenses in Berlin. Also please keep in mind that there are two types of rent in Germany: cold rent (Kaltmiete) and warm rent (Warmmiete). Warm rent includes water and heating costs (Nebenkosten). Here we’ll be takling about warm rent. But please note that electricity is not included in warm rent.
Here is the average cost of living in Berlin for single person in an unfurnished apartment assuming it is a one-room apartment:
1-room apartment, 30 sq m (323 sq ft): 400-600 euro/month
1-room apartment, 40 sq m (430 sq ft): 500-800 euro/month
Please note that in Germany the living room is also considered a room.
Here is the average cost of living in Berlin for a couple in an unfurnished apartment:
2-room apartment, 60 sq m (645 sq ft): 700-1450 euro/month
3-room apartment, 85 sq m (915 sq ft): 1000-1800 euro/month
A 2-room apartment means 1 bedroom and 1 living room.
Electricity is, of course, another part of the cost of living in Berlin. The electricity costs in Berlin depend on the provider. On average they would be around 40-45 euro a month per person or around 70-80 euro a month for 2 persons. You can save by choosing the most inexpensive provider. Moreover, often providers offer new clients a bonus which could allow you to reduce your living expenses in Berlin.
С. Cost of living in Berlin in a room
You can save quite a lot on rent and reduce your overall cost of living in Berlin if you choose to live not in an apartment but in a room in a so-called Wohngemeinschaft (WG). A Wohngemeinschaft is an apartment that is shared with multiple tenants.
The prices vary between 350-600 euro per month. The price depends on the size of the room and the location.
Watch our video about the cost of living in Berlin:
2. Cost of food in Berlin
One more vital category of cost of living in Berlin. Food expenses in Berlin depend on whether you cook at home or eat out at cafes or restaurants. They also depend on the shops you buy food in. If you cook at home, this significantly reduces your living expenses in Berlin.
When it comes to grocery shopping, there are three general options:
The most budget-friendly option for grocery shopping in Berlin is discount stores, such as Aldi, Penny or Lidl. Although the choice there is limited, the price is a lot lower than at regular supermarkets, which allows you to lower the overall cost of living in Berlin. When shopping at discount stores it’s possible to keep your expenses within 200 euro per month.
Such as Rewe or EDEKA.
The choice at supermarkets is much wider than at discount stores, but the cost of foods there is higher. However, many shops, such as for example EDEKA, have sales promotions for different kinds of goods every week. Sometimes the discounts can reach up 50%, so it might be even possible to buy good fresh groceries at an even lower price than at discount stores. But you need to keep an eye out for the offers if you want to cut your living expenses in Berlin.
The expenses would depend on your food preferences and readiness to keep track of promotions. On average, they would be around 250-400 euro per month per person.
The most expensive ones that would affect your cost of living in Berlin are organic markets. Groceries there are significantly more expensive than at other shops. However, as a rule, you can find organic foods at supermarkets as well and they would cost much less than at organic shops.
Cost of meals at cafes and restaurants in Berlin
If you are used to eating out, this will essentially increase your food expenses and have an effect on your cost of living in Berlin. However, even though Berlin is the capital, prices at restaurants are generally lower than in other German megapolises, let alone such cities as Paris, London or Zurich.
Here are some examples:
- a meal at McDonald’s or an Asian bistro would cost you around 6-9 euro,
- a meal at an inexpensive restaurant would cost around 10-12 euro,
- a dinner for two consisting of two courses at a middle-class restaurant with non-alcoholic drinks or a glass of wine would cost you around 40-50 euro.
Now you have a general idea on how this category affects your living expenses in Berlin.
3. Cost of transport in Berlin
Next important category that belongs to the cost of living in Berlin. Public transport in Berlin works very well. You can find buses anywhere, there are also trams, subway (U-Bahn) and city trains. The city has a well-organized bikeway system and drivers respect bikers. Also there are car sharing services everywhere. There is no need to have a car, which is great news if you want to keep the cost of living in Berlin, Germany low.
The cost of a ticket that is valid for all types of transport for 2 hours in one direction is 3 euro. It makes sense to buy a monthly ticket that allows you to use all kinds of transport (buses, U-Bahn, trams and S-Bahn) within Berlin. The cost is 86 euro per month.
There are also 1 day tickets, 48 hours tickets and special cards for tourists. For students there are special discounted travel passes. Choosing the option that is right for you would allow you to keep your living expenses in Berlin within your budget.
4. TV&Radio tax (Rundfunkbeitrag)
The TV&radio tax (Rundfunkbeitrag) is 18.36 euro per month. This is an integral part of the cost of living in Berlin. No matter if you have TV or radio at home, in Germany every household pays the TV&radio tax.
5. Personal care products in Berlin
This category of your cost of living in Berlin includes shampoos, soap, detergents and cleaning products, tooth paste etc. On average, they cost around 30 euro per month per person.
Apart from discount stores and supermarkets, there are inexpensive shops in Berlin where you can buy personal care products, for example Rossmann and DM.
6. Cell phone services in Berlin
Nowadays, cell phone services are also an integral part of one’s living expenses in Berlin or anywhere else in the world. You’ll have two options: signing a contract with one of the providers (the usual contract time is two years) or getting the so-called pre-paid card. Buying a pre-paid card means that you buy a SIM-card and can stop the service any time.
Costs depend on the provider, the amount of data you require, whether or not you need the so-called flat rates (unlimited calls to landline and cell phone numbers).
On average, a package of 1 GB of data a month costs around 10 euro.
You can check the cell phone plans on the websites of the main providers such as T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 to plan this section of your cost of living in Berlin.
7. Internet connection (Wifi) in Berlin
This too is a part of our day-to-day life and a part of one’s cost of living in Berlin, Germany. Almost all providers give a contract for 2 years. Internet services are quite expensive. However you can often find a special offer (Angebot) such as a 30% discount for the first 24 months which is a great way to lower your living expenses in Berlin. However, if you want to benefit from a new discount by signing a contract with a new provider, you need to pay attention and cancel the contract in time (as a rule 3 months before the end of the contract), otherwise it will be automatically prolonged for another 2 years at a regular price with no discount.
On average, without a special offer the cost of 100 Mbps internet is around 35 euro per month, so add that to your overall cost of living in Berlin.
The main providers are T-Mobile, Vodafone and 1&1.
8. Health insurance in Berlin
This section is relevant for self-employed people and freelances. If you belong to one of these categories, then you pay for private health insurance yourself and need to include its price into your living expenses in Berlin. The cost depends on the provider, your age and health condition. It varies from 200 to 1500 euro per month.
So, to summarize it all, if you really want to save money and reduce the cost of living in Berlin and thus choose to rent a room, shop at inexpensive stores and look out for sales promotions and discounts, you can fit in a 900-1000 euro budget per month.
If you are interested in moving to Berlin, please contact us for an individual solution. Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, will help you open your own successful business in Germany and get the German residence permit through business immigration or help you obtain a Blue Card.
This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Each situation is unique and professional advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action.