This information was compiled by Americans (German/Americans) who currently live in Germany, or go back and forth. Exchange rates make a difference, at this time it was 1 Euro = $1.18
1. Food: About 30% less, especially cheeses, wurst and alcohol Not beef, that’s higher. No hormones or antibiotic. Trader Joes is owned by Aldi. Food quality in Germany is like shopping at an (expensive) American health food store, but paying discount prices. Germany is pork country, that and chicken is affordable
Here is a book I highly recommend before moving:
2. Housing: Rent is comparable, or less (except Munich), house prices are higher, mainly because of the material and high lot/ land prices. Down payment is 10 to 15% (US 3 to 5%). Interest rates are lower in Germany. Property taxes is 1/10 of the US (school taxes are paid by Fed and State). Be prepared to possibly buy a kitchen. You also need to install lamps and closets
3. Healthcare: Depends on your income, about 8% for the employed with Employer contribution (7%). No deductibles, no network, no bills in the mail. About 120 non-profit insurance companies to choose from. You also can buy private Health Insurance, which is higher. Over- the-counter drugs are higher in Germany, have the Doc to give you a prescription and pay a small fee. ADAC offers Insurance for Guests up to one year (50 to 100 Euro a month).Paid sick leave up to 6 weeks. Rehab €15 a day. Assisted living for you, and you are getting paid to take care your parents, children
Energy cost: Electric and energy to heat a home is more, no air conditioning bills in the sommer though.
While energy costs per unit may be higher in Germany, you may end up paying less than you would in the US because the buildings are generally MUCH better insulated in Germany
4. Car: Insurance depends on your driving. Best bring your 10 year driving record (original signature) from your current American Auto insurance. I heard HUK car insurance will accept it. Gas is 3 times more, but distances are shorter. Public transportation is more extensive and more affordable, and public access to exceptionally well maintained hiking and cycling networks free in Germany. Cars are not always necessary
5. Internet und Cell phone: The Mobile plans are less, also Cable TV. There is a monthly mandatory fee to watch general ARD, ZDF TV though
German Public high schools are equivalent to US Private or Prep schools at zero cost
College is generally free except some administration fees and books.
The fees are an approximate:
Semesterbeitrag 131 Euro:
Beitrag für das Studierendenwerk (45 Euro)
Verwaltungskostenbeitrag (70 Euro )
Beitrag zur Verfassten Studierendenschaft (16, Euro)
About 40% of young people doing an Apprenticeship. It is paid by employer, and students get a wage.
7. Childcare: In many federal states the Daycare (over 3 years) is free or a small amount up to ~$170 a month. Under 3 year old babies in diapers cost about $50 more.
You will get Kindergeld $200 per child 1 and the same for child 2 per month, and more for further kids.
8. Leisure: No Entrance fees at most festivals. Lots of free/cheap acitivities for kids and families. Example is free access to many parks and lakes (with the option to pay for things like boat rental, bike rental etc.)
Example 2: Membership fee for a kids soccer club is 50 Euro/year. That includes travel costs and team shirts.
Kids drama class: 30 Euro for 6 months
9. Taxes: The 19% VAT is included in the prices. What you see is what you pay. Property taxes are very low because Schools get paid by German State and Federal tax. Income taxes are progressive, also higher, but not more than 45% for the highest earner
If you know more examples, please fill me in
If you coming over as a tourist first to check things out, I highly recommend getting a Rick Steves “Germany” book. I helped me to find places I would’ve never thought of. You can purchase them right here