In our last article, we looked at what people in tech earn in Berlin. We also said that the German capital has gotten more expensive than it was some 10 years ago.
Here are a few interesting facts:
→ Berlin is less expensive than major European hubs like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich or Frankfurt.
So, how much money you actually need to feel comfortable in Berlin?
Let’s start with the most budget-consuming category — accommodation.
Renting in Berlin: accommodation prices
As of 2019, the rent prices in Berlin vary from 8 EUR/m2 to over 20 EUR/m2 depending on the district. At the very edge of the city, you can find flats for as little as 7 EUR/m2.
Below, we’ve estimated what you will normally pay in differently priced areas for a 3-room apartment, a studio apartment and a room in a shared apartment.
You can see the respective areas on the map.
If you’re looking for a 2-room apartment (55-65 m2), here is what you would pay in 15 popular neighbourhoods:
Note: Once you find an apartment, be prepared to pay the price of 2 monthly rents as a security deposit.
Your monthly expenses by categories (excluding rent)
Utilities & electricity
The average monthly cost of utilities (heating, gas, maintenance and ground tax) in Berlin depends on how big your apartment is, what you pay for your rent and what’s written in your contract. On average, people pay 2.60 EUR/m2.
Together with electricity charges (around 50 EUR/month per person), expect to pay between 140 and 270 EUR monthly.
Depending on your Internet provider and desired bandwidth, you will pay 20-40 EUR/month for the home Internet.
On top of this, mobile phone usage and Internet will cost you 20-30 EUR/month.
If you prefer cooking at home, spending on food between 200 and 300 EUR might be the limit. And eating out or ordering food all the time will cost you more or less 900 EUR/month. So, with balanced eating behaviour, you’ll be giving away between 300 and 600 EUR/month on food.
A single ticket in Berlin (AB, or within the city borders) costs 2.80 EUR and is valid for 2 hours. A monthly ticket (Berlin A+B) is 81 EUR. You can also order a yearly ticket and pay 63.42 EUR/month.
The fun stuff: Culture and entertainment
There are a lot of things to do in Berlin. The city has over 175 museums (a museum ticket: 8-16 EUR), galleries in almost every neighbourhood, around 100 cinema theaters (a movie ticket: 7-12 EUR) and a ridiculous number of nightclubs (club entry fee: 2-15 EUR).
How much you will spend on clothes depends on your preferences. You can completely refresh your entire outfit at Uniqlo for as little as 100 EUR or spend 100+ EUR on a pair of locally designed pants.
Expect to spend at least around 30 EUR monthly on household chemicals and cosmetics. If you prefer expensive cosmetics, get ready to pay much more.
Depending on what you are looking for, you will pay something between 20 and 50 EUR/month. Or nothing if you exercise on your own :)
Your average total expenses in Berlin
Now, let’s assume you are a moderate spender and see how much of your income you will spend on different categories.
Say, your gross annual salary is 60,000 EUR. If you are single and don’t have children, you’ll get around 2,972 EUR/month net.
Here’s what your spendings might look like:
“Other” might include clothes, furniture, household appliances, electronics, education or your favourite hobby — whatever you are up for.
Please keep in mind that this graph is only an approximation based on the current prices and average needs of an urban resident.
Resources & hacks
→ A map to check how much % of your monthly net income you will spend in different districts: Mietkarte Berlin.
→ A calculator that estimates (very roughly) your potential monthly expenses in Berlin based on how you live.
→ A Facebook group for Berlin expats where you can ask anything and get answers.
→ Free Your Stuff Berlin is another Facebook group where you can find useful things for free.
Moving into a new apartment means you’ll need to get new furniture and all kinds of household items. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to spend a fortune and buy all that. There are at least 3 ways to get them at little or no cost:
– from previous tenants who might leave you some of their stuff for a symbolic price;
– from the Free Your Stuff Berlin Facebook group;
– on the street—no, really!—you’d be surprised to see how much stuff people just put outside for others to take.
Are you in tech and interested in moving to Berlin? Feel free to contact us anytime: