How to save money in Germany
by Erin McGann
July 27, 2020

Germany is not the most expensive country in Europe to move to, depending on where you choose to live, but there’s always room for more savings. You will find Germans, on average, think of saving money as a virtue, and there isn’t much in the way of taboos in asking for a lower price, or saying you don’t want to spend money on something. So, what changes can you make to save money in Germany?

So if you’re living in Germany, what are some ways you can save money?

1. The envelope method

Start out with a good budget. Write down all your incoming money and outgoing costs, and determine how much you will spend on groceries, eating out, and other stuff that you can control. Obviously things like your rent are fixed costs. A popular way of sticking to a budget is the envelope method: withdraw all the money you want to spend on groceries and eating out at the beginning of the month, and keep it in marked envelopes. That way you have a very visual way of seeing how far you’ve spent into your budget. Germany is all about cash, so this method to save money is very easy and practical here!

2. Check your insurance and your utilities

When you first move to a new country, you don’t always have time to do detailed comparison checks between which electricity company is the cheapest, or what exactly is covered by your liability insurance. But once you’ve settled in, it’s worth going through your utilities and services to see whether you might be able to get a better deal and save some cash somewhere else. Sites like Tarif Check and Verivox will let you compare liability insurance premiums, household utilities like power, internet, and gas, and even bank accounts. If you’re a full-time student with ID, definitely check for student deals as many utilities, mobile phone providers, and insurance companies have them.

3. Sportvereine

Joining a gym is quite expensive in Germany, yet as a nation, they take fitness and health very seriously. How does that work? Ah – you need to investigate the world of Sportvereine. These associations are all about making sport accessible at reasonable costs, and you’ll find everything from yoga to adult football to archery, and sometimes even a gym. This is a great way to meet local people as well, so look for one in your area to find out more. Each club runs independently, so it’s worth checking around for one that offers the sports you like. 

4. Flöhmarkte

Literally ‘flea market’, it means the same thing in German as it does in English: a pop-up sale of all sorts of things, sold by individuals. If you keep an eye out on poles and poster boards, you’ll soon notice signs for Flöhmarkte. From one-off single household sales, to full-neighbourhood extravaganzas, Flöhmarkte are definitely one of the cheapest ways to pick up household items and save some euros. It’s great if you need dishes, glassware, utensils, books, kids toys, or small items of furniture. Check Flohmarkt Termine for the sales in your area. There are specific Märkte for sales of kid’s stuff like baby equipment, toys, games, and clothes, and often these are advertised on poles near playgrounds. 

5. Free stuff

If you know where to look, there is lots of free stuff to be had. Check Facebook for local ‘free cycle’ or ‘free your stuff’ groups, though be prepared to jump on a listing right away, the best stuff goes quickly! There is a big movement in Germany for food sharing, and often there are websites or Facebook groups dedicated to it. Google ‘Fairteiler’ and your area, and you should come across some organisations. There are cupboards set up to share food as well, if you check FoodSharing.de, they have many of these listed. Spare vegetables, canned food that’s no longer needed, and more.

 

What about learning German for free? That’s a pretty ideal way to save money! Learn more about the Lingoda Sprint, and earn your German classes for free. 

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