Hello all you curious cats! Due to the success of my last post about my cost of living in Karlsruhe, Germany, I’m back to bare it all German-sauna-style yet again about my cost of living in Germany, but this time as a student in magnificent Munich. As I told various people in Karlsruhe I would be moving to Munich, the response was always “but it is so expensive there!” In a way, they are correct. Munich is arguably the most expensive city you can settle yourself in in Germany. However, in comparison to other large, metropolitan, and cosmopolitan world cities, Munich is IMO pretty affordable. I will admit that putting this post together stung quite a bit when reviewing what I used to pay in Karlsruhe. However, the education I’m getting would cost a fortune in the USA, so I feel like I’m making out like a bandit. You can judge for yourself as I go open book with about the monthly financing required gor my life as a student at the Technical University of Munich.
First, here are some photos of Munich because every blog post needs photos.
Ok, now we can proceed.
For a better grasp on these expenses and why they the way they are, I will provide a little overview of my life in Germany.
– While I do own still own a bicycle, I only ride it during the summer in Munich. I normally use the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and buses to get around. The bike is more set aside for recreation these days.
– I do 85 percent of my shopping at Lidl, one of the discount grocers in Germany.
– I love to cook, but due to time constraints I usually cook one big pot of something-or-another and eat it for four straight days.
– At work, there is an array of fruit and coffee. Therefore, I often find myself eating breakfast at work. We also have an extremely affordable and diverse cafeteria on campus.
– Speaking of campuses, I am a student and therefore benefit heavily from student discounts, mainly my public transit pass.
– My free time activities include watching beloved TV series, cooking with friends, going for walks, hanging out at people’s flats, and a drink or coffee in town now and then.
– My daily activities consist of going to my student job, which pays most of the bills, planning Europe itineraries, which pays the rest of the bills, and catching up with people. I hope this list includes regular blogging again soon.
I am actually writing this post now as I need to strictly evaluate my spending habits due to upcoming changes. I will be quitting my current job at the end of the month in order to participate in an additional study program for Technology Management. I will still be working, but only 8 hours/week at the university compared to the current 20 hours/week at a corporation. So, you can see why this would require budget reevaluation. I will be taking a loan from home to fill the financial gap.
– There is absolutely nothing luxurious about my lifestyle, but nothing uncomfortable either. Let’s just say that a 6 Euro bottle of wine is a splurge.
I have one 22 square meter bedroom in a 2 bedroom flat. The flat is one of two on the first floor of a 10 flat house. The flat consists of me and one roommate in our two separate bedrooms, an entry way, a full bathroom, a kitchen, and a closet. This cost also includes our utilities (electricity, water, and gas). The apartment came furnished (although honestly I would have rather moved into a blank slate).
We have a contract with MNet for 50,000 Mbits/second and a local phone line for 29.90/month. The router was included. We share it with our neighbors upstairs, so it is split four ways.
I am insured through one of the public insurances, AOK Bayern, on a student rate. It covers pretty much every thing I could dream of and I am fortunate to be insured at this fantastic student rate. Remember that time I got my wisdom teeth out for 10 Euros? Yep, that insurance. German health insurance is required for my residence permit and I am officially off my mother’s health insurance in the USA, so it is important that I’m well-covered.
O2 All-in-M, includes unlimited calling and texting to German numbers and 500 MB data with LTE.
O2 5GB data with LTE. I scored a mega-good deal on this plan and it is perfect for my tablet and commuting on the trains, which I get to do a lot of these days.
Every 6 months, I purchase an Isar Semester Ticket and pay the student rate of 146.50 Euros. This entitles me to 24/7 travel within the entire MVV network. I can go pretty dang far on this, to Freising, the airport, and as far south as Wolfratshausen and Holzkirchen.
The student fees for my study at the Technical University of Munich are 111 Euros per semester. 59 Euros of this go to the “student ticket contribution” and the other 52 euros is the “student tuition fee”. I broke down the actual costs of studying in Germany here.
This includes all food and drink (yes, alcohol too) purchased by me at the supermarket. I don’t skimp on food and eat salmon weekly.
TOTAL: 894.71 €
Discretionary Income Spending
This includes all meals eaten out, from the school cafeteria and döner kebab to ordering in to three star dining (ha!).
This includes going out drinking, going to the movies, bowling, hiking, etc. Clearly, I don’t do enough and hope to change this next semester.
This includes those purchases like “needing” clothes, cell phone charger going M.I.A., visa fees, or needing a pair of scissors. P.S. I might have an online shopping addiction.
TOTAL: 240 €
The Big Outlier: Travel
Travel expenses is a number I cannot quantify on a monthly basis. I typically budget €75 ($100 USD) per day for traveling Europe, everything included. My flights home have come in the form of generous gifts from loved ones, miles from my United Milage Plus Explorer Card, and great flight deals, most recently $815 trip that goes like this FRA -> EWR, BOS -> IAH, IAH -> FRA . I certainly consider myself a budget traveler, but budget travelers come in all styles. I do not hitchhike or CouchSurf. Rather, I search for budget accommodations and transport and splurge when that special, location-exclusive opportunity presents itself.
Sum It Up
On average, I spend €1134.71 ($1260) per month to live, in my mind, comfortably and enjoyably in Munich, Germany. Of course, when you throw in travel, things change, but these days travel for me is not the norm.
Does anything here surprise you?