This information was compiled by Americans (German/Americans) who currently live in Germany, or go back and forth. Exchange rates make a difference, at that time January 2018 it was 1 Euro = $1.18. Update: At this time, May 2019, it is $1.12 per Euro.
Per Facebook group ” Americans living in/considering moving to Germany “
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
2. Housing: Rent is comparable, or less, except Munich which is the most expensive city. House prices are higher, mainly because of the material and high lot/ land prices. Down payment is 10 to 15% (US 3 to 5%). Home loan interest rates are lower in Germany, like 2.5% Property taxes is 10 times less of the US, average $350 a year, because school taxes are paid by Federal and State. Be prepared to possibly buy a kitchen. You also need to install lamps and closets
3. Healthcare: Germany has the oldest (140 years) Healthcare systems, and 95% of residents are covered. Cost 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. Higher income earner can buy Private Health Insurance, which is higher and less regulated.
Over- the-counter drugs cost more the US counter part in Germany, but you can have the Doc to give you a prescription and pay a small fee (5 Euro).
ADAC offers Insurance for Guests up to one year (50 to 100 Euro a month).
4. Energy cost: Electric and energy to heat a home is more, no air conditioning bills in the summer 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
5. 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
6. 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
7. School/College Costs:
German Public Schools are equivalent to US Private or Prep schools at zero cost
College is generally free, except some administration fees and books, combined about $260 a year
About 40% of young people doing an Apprenticeship. It is paid by employer, and students get a wage, about ~$1000 a month
8. 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 a month, the same for the each additional child.
Maternity leave and Mother & Child Protection at the Workplace
9. Leisure: No Entrance fees at most festivals. Lots of free/cheap activities for children and families. Example is free access to many parks and lakes (with the option to pay for things like boat rental, bike rental etc.)
Examples: 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
10. Vacation days: All together 38 days: 24 paid vacation days, one national public holiday for which all workers receive a day off, called German Unity Day. In addition, there are between nine to 13 paid religious holidays. Compared with the US chart
11. 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