Tips to save money in Germany

Tips to save money in Germany

This guide shows you different ways to save money in Germany. Most of those tricks do not require you to change your lifestyle.

Change electricity and gas providers every year

Most electricity and gas providers offer a bonus for new customers. In the first year, their service is cheaper. After one year, the price goes up. If you don't cancel your contract, it will be renewed automatically for 1 more year.

If you switch to a new electricity provider every year, you always get a new customer bonus. If you do this, you will save over 100€ per year. This is not a secret; many Germans do it1, 2. Use Verivox to find a cheaper electricity provider. It takes less than 30 minutes to switch. Verivox will automatically transfer your contract to the new electricity provider. Check24 has a similar service.

Each company has a different cancellation period (Kündigungsfrist). For example, Vattenfall has a Kündigungsfrist of 6 weeks. You must cancel your contract at least 6 weeks before it ends. If you don't, it is renewed automatically. Put a reminder in your calendar every year.

Consider private health insurance

Public health insurance is usually the best option. However, in some specific cases, private health insurance makes more sense. For example, if you are a freelancer with a high income, you can save up to 500€ per month with private health insurance, and you get better coverage. This happened to me. Feather helped me find better, cheaper health insurance.

This is not a simple decision. Private health insurance is not always a better option. This decision has serious long term consequences. Talk to a health insurance broker first. Their help is free. I worked a lot with B-Protected, and I can recommend them.

Public health insurance has a 3 month Kündigungsfrist. If you decide to switch to private health insurance, you must stay another 3 months on public health insurance.

Related guide: Private vs. public health insurance in Germany

Lower your rent

You might be paying too much rent. Many apartments in Germany are priced above the legal rent limit (Mietpreisbremse). If this is the case, you can hire lawyers to get it reduced.

Wenigermiete.de is a company that helps people get their rent reduced. Our review of Wenigermiete explains how it works. Your tenant's association can also help you with this.

Related guide: Should you trust Wenigermiete?

Choose a bank with low fees

Some banks charge a monthly fee to keep your money. Some banks also charge you fees if you use another bank's ATM. There are many banks with no monthly fees, and no ATM fees. N26, ING DiBa and DKB are the most popular ones, but there are many other options.

Related guide: Which German bank is the best for you?

Get a yearly public transit pass

If you buy a yearly pass (BVG-Abo) instead of monthly tickets (Monatskarten), you can 280€ per year1. If you only take the train after 10AM, get 10-Uhr-Karte and save 477€ per year1.

Related guide: The BVG's 10-Uhr-Karte

Move to a cheaper area

You do not need to live in the centre of Berlin. There are many great neighbourhoods just outside the Ringbahn. I moved from Mitte to Pankow, and I save 400€ per month on rent.

Don't forget that moving can cost a lot of money. Last time I moved, I spent around 500€ on painting supplies, moving boxes, truck rentals and new appliances. If I hired a moving company, I would have spent even more.

Related guide: How to find an apartment in Berlin