Cost of living in Berlin, and Germany

This is how much it costs to live in Berlin, and elsewhere in Germany. This guide helps you make a budget before you move to Germany, and save money every month.

Cost of living berlin germany

Taxes, insurance and pension

Cost: Around 35% of your income. Use my tax calculator.

In Germany, a part of your gross income (Brutto) is for taxes and social contribution. Your employer automatically takes them from your paycheck. The money you keep is your net income (Netto).

{{ showExtraQuestions ? 'Hide options' : 'Show options' }}
Disposable income Health insurance Public pension Unemployment insurance Income tax Solidarity surcharge Church tax
Health insurance

Your private health insurance costs per month.

Public pension

Public pension insurance pays for your pension when you retire.

Your employer pays

You pay

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance pays for unemployment benefits if you lose your job.

Your employer pays

You pay

Income tax

This is the income tax you pay directly from your paycheque. It's missing some {{ childrenCount > 0 ? 'big ' : '' }}tax deductions. When you file a tax declaration, you can get {{ childrenCount > 0 ? 'a lot of ' : 'some ' }}money back{{ childrenCount > 0 ? ', especially when you have children' : '' }}.

Taxable income

Income tax rate

Solidarity surcharge

If you pay more than /year in income tax, you must pay a solidarity surcharge. It's a percentage of your income tax.

Solidarity surcharge is {{ formatPercent(taxes.solidarity.milderungszoneRate * 100) }} of all income tax above .

The solidarity surcharge is {{ formatPercent(taxes.solidarity.maxRate * 100) }} of your income tax.

Church tax

Your church collects a church tax. In {{ germanStates[germanState].englishName }}, the church tax is {{ formatPercent(result.churchTaxRate * 100) }} of your income tax.

Your income is too low to pay income tax, so you don't pay church tax.

You pay {{ formatPercent(100 - disposableIncomeRatio) }}

This is what you pay for all taxes and social contributions.

You keep {{ formatPercent(disposableIncomeRatio) }}

This is your net income. It's how much money you keep after taxes and other deductions. It's your money. You can spend it.

How taxes work

How to pay less taxes



Cost: 400€ to 900€ per month (room), 700€ to 1,500€ per month (apartment)

In Germany, there is the cold rent (Kaltmiete), and the warm rent (Warmmiete). The warm rent includes utilities (Nebenkosten).

Rent is often your biggest expense. Many immigrants get very expensive furnished apartments, because they can’t find anything else. After a few months in Germany, get your rent lowered or look for a cheaper apartment.

How to pay less rent


Cost: 45€ to 70€ per month

In Germany, you pay two power bills:

  • The heating and hot water that are usually included in your warm rent (Warmmiete)
  • The electricity and gas for your lights and appliances. This costs 45€ to 70€ per month

How electric bills work


Cost: around 35€ per month

For 35€ per month, you can get a 100 Mbit/s internet connection.

Compare internet plans

TV tax

Cost: 18.36€ per household per month

Every household pays the TV tax (Rundfunkbeitrag). If you live with other people, you can split the cost. In some cases, you don’t have to pay it.

You get a TV tax invoice by post every 3 months. You can pay it manually with a bank transfer, or automatically with a debit authorisation.

How the TV tax works


Cost: around 250€ per month

If you only eat at home, you should pay around 250€ per month for groceries. If you eat out, you will spend a lot more.

Cost of food and restaurants in Berlin – numbeo


Public transit

Cost (Berlin): 44€ to 86€ per month (monthly pass), or 3.5€ per ride


Cost: at least 100€ per month

Cars are expensive to own and maintain. If you have a car, you must pay for parking, car insurance, vehicle tax, fuel, tires and maintenance.

You need a driving licence to drive in Germany. It costs around 2,000€ to get. You can sometimes convert your foreign driving licence. It’s much cheaper. There is no yearly cost for a driving licence.

Cost of owning a car

Mobile phone

Cost: 7€ to 40€ per month

A basic pay-as-you-go data plan costs around 10€ per month. Plans that include a smartphone are much more expensive. It’s cheaper to buy the phone without a plan.

Compare mobile phone plans



Cost: 0€ to 10€ per month

Some banks charge a monthly fee. It’s usually around 10€ per month. Some banks also charge 5€ to 10€ when you use an ATM from another network.

Compare German banks

Liability insurance

Cost: around 5€ per month

Liability insurance is optional, but it’s really important to have. If you cause an accident, and someone sues you, the liability insurance pays for the damages. It costs around 5€ per month. Most Germans have it.

How to choose liability insurance


Cost: at least 50€ per month

If you have a dog, you must pay for dog food, liability insurance, health insurance, dog food and dog tax.

The dog tax is 120€ to 180€ per year. Dog liability insurance is required, and it costs around 5€ per month. Pet health insurance is optional, and it costs around 20€ per month. You can see the price of dog food here.

Having a dog in Berlin

One time expenses

Apartment deposit (Kaution)

Who pays it: People who rent an apartment

Cost: around 3 times your cold rent (Kaltmiete)

When you move into an apartment, you must pay a deposit (Kaution). You can’t touch that money until you move out.

If you live in a WG, the deposit is smaller. Sometimes, there is no deposit.

How apartment deposits work

Furniture, appliances, etc

Cost: 200€ to 10,000

When you move into your first apartment, you must get new furniture, new appliances, kitchen equipment, etc. In Germany, you might even need to buy light fixtures, and a kitchen counter.

To save money, buy used furniture. You can find free/cheap furniture on Kleinanzeigen and various Facebook groups.

Where to buy what in Berlin

Example budget

This is an example budget for a single person who lives in Berlin. It uses realistic values.


3,994€ was the average German salary in 2019.1 I used health insurance from Techniker Krankenkasse. I used the tax class for a single person without children.

Calculate your taxes

Description Monthly Yearly
Gross income 3,994 47,928
Church tax 59 708
Income tax 656 7,873
Pension insurance 371 4,457
Unemployment insurance 48 575
Health insurance 316 3,786
Nursing care insurance 71 851
Net income
This is the money you have left to spend
2,473 29,677


These are my real monthly expenses. This table does not include buying clothes, replacing broken things, or having fun. It only lists the bills I must pay.

My budget includes a motorcycle, and a garage (120€/month). You don’t need those. My rent is also very low, because I live far from the centre.

Description Monthly Yearly
Rent 678 8,136
Groceries 175 2,100
Electricity 50 600
Public transit pass 49 588
Internet 40 480
Vehicle insurance 25 304
TV tax (Rundfunkbeitrag) 18 210
Mobile phone 10 120
Liability insurance 6 74
Vehicle tax 4 47
This is how much I need to pay the bills
1,055 12,660

How to save money

How to save money in Germany

Sources and footnotes