Cost of living in Germany for an Indian family

Congratulations on making a decision to work and settle in Germany with your family.

If you are wondering how you can get a job in Germany while you are still in India, then you might want to read this article first – Jobs in Germany for Indians. 4 proven ways

Continue reading if you have already figured out a way to get a job in Germany from India.

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The first thing that comes to mind when you decide to move to a different country is the cost of living.

Germany is one such country where the cost of living varies a lot depending on the city where you are planning to work and live.

The cost of living in a major city like Berlin is much less as compared to the cost of living in the tech and startup hub – Munich. (source)

In this post, I will try to cover the various metrics that will help you understand the cost of living for an Indian family in Germany.

What is the cost of living in germany for Indian family?

You are married and have one or two kids and want to travel to Germany with your family?

Let’s identify the different items where you will have to spend your monthly income.

I have tried my best to show you the cost of living in Germany in Indian rupees so that you get a rough idea about the actual expenses as soon as you land in Germany.

1. Apartment rent

If you are in India and staying in a city like Delhi, you might be paying around Rs.20,000 – Rs.30,000 for a 2BHK apartment in a good locality.

In Germany, the same will cost you around Rs.70,000 – Rs.80,000 in cities like Augsburg or Berlin and over Rs. 1 Lakh in cities like Munich.

Below is a chart that shows the average rent in some of the major cities of Germany in Euros per square meter.

Average rent in cities of Germany
Statistics source

The rent will also include heating charges and maintenance costs.

These are included as part of your monthly rent (known as nebenkosten) and vary based on your usage of the heating equipment and other services.

While we are talking about the monthly rent, it is also important to remember that when you rent an apartment, you are required to pay two months’ rent in advance (in general).

This can of course vary from city to city.

2. Grocery

Groceries take up a huge portion of your income especially if you want to continue with your Indian food habits.

The local groceries and food items in Germany are moderately priced and comparable to Indian prices.

You can do weekly shopping at the discounted supermarkets in Germany like Lidl.

I always prefer buying groceries, vegetables, and fruits from Lidl and it costs around 35-40 Euros per week. This is equivalent to Rs.3,500 and sounds reasonable.

The expensive part of the groceries is when you want to buy an Indian-origin product.

For example, if you are a north Indian and prefer eating chapati two times a day, then you will definitely buy wheat flour from the nearby Indian / Pakistan store.

Don’t be surprised if they charge you 10 Euros (Rs.900) for 5 Kg of wheat flour.

In my family, we also prefer eating chapati two times a day and we usually buy 10-15 Kgs of wheat flour in a month.

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Other than wheat flour, we also buy lentils (daal), Pulses, and Indian vegetables like ladyfinger, Bittergourd, etc.

On average, we spend around 100 Euros per month just buying things from the Indian store. This is approximately Rs.9,000 per month.

3. Electricity

In Germany, you get the option to choose your electricity provider.

In general, for a family of 3, the monthly electricity bill could be around 50-60 Euro which is approximately Rs.5,000 – Rs.6,000 per month.

Again, it depends a lot on how much you cook at home, how often you use the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and other electrical appliances.

In Germany, it is not common to have an Air Conditioner or a ceiling fan.

It is also to be noted that the electricity bill is automatically deducted from your bank account every month.

The amount deducted will be the same each month for the whole year.

For the next year, fresh readings are considered and the monthly bill is adjusted according to your previous year’s consumption.

4. Transportation

Germany has a very good public transport system which is reasonably priced.

As soon as you find an apartment to stay in for a longer period in Germany, I would suggest you opt for an annual public transport ticket in your city.

In my city, I have taken a pass that covers my travel starting from 9 am onwards and costs me around 30 Euros (approx. Rs.2,700) per month.

Since this is an annual pass, the money gets deducted automatically from my bank account.

Are you looking for free resources?

You can access a bunch of free resources on this website ranging from a free Resume`, CV, and a cover letter template to Free apps to learn German.

You can buy the same pass for your spouse as well and you don’t have to worry about tram or bus tickets for the whole year.

If you have kids who are below 14 years of age, then you don’t need a separate ticket for them.

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You can take up to 4 children below 14 years of age without having a separate ticket for them.

5. Childcare or Kindergarten

Even though higher education and schooling are free in Germany, childcare and Kindergartens aren’t.

Kindergarten in Germany

A monthly fee of around 120 Euros (Rs.10,000) gets deducted for a child who goes to Kindergarten.

But you don’t have to worry because if you apply for Kindergeld, you will receive around 220 Euros per month into your bank account.

In general, you don’t have to worry about your child’s expenses when you are in Germany. It is usually taken care of by the government itself.

You can apply for a Kindergeld only once you have a valid residence permit in Germany.

You can read more about the eligibility and rules for the Kindergeld here.

6. Mobile and Internet connection

Once you land in Germany, you need a mobile connection to speak to your friends and relatives back in India.

Of course, you can use the hotel internet connection and speak to your family and friends over skype, zoom, or WhatsApp for the initial days.

Getting a phone number in Germany is a bit different and you can easily get a SIM card from any of the nearby Supermarkets.

Once you get the SIM, you can follow the instructions on the packet to activate the SIM.

I am using a provider called Lebara that offers unlimited free calls to India at a monthly fee of 30 Euros (Rs.2,700).

For the internet connection, there are several options like o2, M-net, Vodafone, etc.

I personally prefer and use o2 and they charge around 35 Euros per month for a 100 Mbps connection.

You can easily stream 4k videos on YouTube using this plan and can watch a lot of Indian shows and movies on YouTube.

Tax in Germany

I won’t cover much about taxes in this article because it needs a lot of description and asks for a separate write-up.

In general, you end up paying around 30% of your gross salary in Germany as tax (for a married person).

So, if your gross salary as per the contract is say 5,000 Euros per month, you will get only 3,500 Euros in hand.

You can use a tool like this to get an idea about the monthly in-hand salary you will receive after all the tax deductions in Germany.

Make sure that you plan all your expenses accordingly to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Average monthly expense for an Indian family of 3

Below is a summary of living expenses in germany for indian families. This is a table that I created from my own monthly expense sheet when I lived in Augsburg.

ItemExpense (EUR)
Rent850
Electricity60
Grocery160
Indian products100
Childcare120
Transportation60
Shopping100
Mobile bill self30
Mobile bill spouse30
Internet35
Radio tax20
Saloon50
Misc100
Total1715
Approximately 1700 Euros or Rs.1.5 lacs per month

How much is a good salary in Germany?

Unlike India, the salary in Germany doesn’t vary a lot for a person with a similar skill set and experience.

Usually, the employer offers you an annual gross salary which you can negotiate a bit.

Ideally, anywhere between 45,000 to 60,000 Euros annual gross is a good salary in Germany for a developer or an IT professional.

If the employer is offering you more, then just go for it.

Salary also varies based on the city where you are going to work. e,g in Munich, a salary of 45,000 Euros might not be enough whereas, in a city like Augsburg, it is considered a good salary.

So, do your own research before accepting a salary offered by the employer.

You can use websites like Glassdoor to check the average salary in a particular city for a specific job or industry.

Salary of software engineer in Munich
Data Source

Finally, it is not always about the cost of living based on which one should be selecting a country for relocation.

There are several factors that should be considered. The most important factor for me was the standard of living.

Germany offers a high standard of living and a very safe environment. An ideal combination that will attract any Indian job seeker.

I hope this article helped you understand the various expenses that you might have to bear once you land in Germany.

Use this information and create a budget plan for the first 2-3 months before moving to Germany.

I wish you good luck and welcome you to this amazing and beautiful country called Germany.

52 thoughts on “Cost of living in Germany for an Indian family”

  1. This is simple and comprehensive, divided into key topics. I could very much relate to the figures and the content . Very useful for anyone who wants start their life in Germany.

    Reply
  2. I really wanted to know and understand about all the expenses breakup and this article covers it all. Very useful. 10/10

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot for the feedback Satyam.
      I am happy that I was able to answer your queries through this post.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for the comprehensive details on the expenses bit. It’s a lot helpful. By any chance can you throw some light on schooling for a 1st grader. Considering if I don’t want my child to go for all German state school.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback Sheetal.

      My daughter is still in Kindergarten and hence I do not have much idea about the schooling here.
      In general, if you are looking for a private or international school where the language is English, then be ready to spend some 1000 euros per month on your child’s fee.

      Reply
  4. Hi Anoop,

    Thanks for the nice article. I am also an IT professional like you and might be relocating to Germany soon. Could you please give me an idea about how much it will cost me in a city like Cologn? Considering I am single, vegetarian, north-indian and preferably would like to have daal-roti for dinner atleast. 🙂

    Sorry if that’s too much to ask but would highly appreciate if you can help !!

    Thanks,
    Ankur Garg

    Reply
  5. Hello Anoop,
    Can you please also Shed some light on the Health Insurance aspects? I also got to know that there is a pension deduction. Can you please help with that as well?

    Reply
  6. Excellent write up. Explains in simple and easy to understand language about the move. Leaves the pros and cons for the reader to decide.

    Reply
  7. Hello Anoop,

    Hope you are doing well

    I will be moving to Berlin Germany
    Currently my employer mentioned that I have to manage each and everything for accommodation. They won’t be providing any hotel for initial stay.

    What would be a good location for family? can I get any sharing option if I will stay alone for some time? How can I book them and from where? What all things needs to bring in from India?

    There are many more questions if possible we can connect and talk, it will be super helpful

    Reply
    • Hi Anand

      1. Currently my employer mentioned that I have to manage each and everything for accommodation. They won’t be providing any hotel for initial stay.
      – This is common. You are supposed to take care of your accomodation yourself.

      2. What would be a good location for family
      – Anywhere within the ring of Berlin is a good location.

      3. can I get any sharing option if I will stay alone for some time
      – yes, you can

      4. How can I book them and from where
      – please check https://germanyiscalling.com/free-resources/

      5. What all things needs to bring in from India?
      – Mainly medicines and spices for the initial stay. Rest all you can buy here.

      6. There are many more questions if possible we can connect and talk, it will be super helpful
      – Please join the discord community here – https://discord.gg/zH8aBJB9TG
      You can ask your doubts and get expert answers (its free)

      Reply
  8. Thanks for providing such a valuable information. Can you guide if in the apartment do we have appliances such as dishwasher, washing machine, cooking top, microwave, oven and refrigerator.

    Reply
    • Hi Manju

      It depends on the type of apartment you book. E.g: If you book a fully furnished apartment from websites like housinganywhere, then you will get all these appliances included (most of them). These are expensive and really small apartments (Not suitable if you are moving with your family and are looking for a long-term stay).

      On the other hand, if you get a long-term apartment from websites like immobilienscout24, etc then the apartments are usually empty (sometimes fitted with a kitchen but without a washing machine or a fridge). If you find a long-term apartment with a fitted kitchen, it could have one or more of these appliances as well. You will have to check with the apartment owner before booking in this case.

      Reply
  9. Hello Anoop Nair,

    Thanks for explaining, really appreciate your help.
    Any idea how to take my parents (Mom/Dad) to Germany along with me for long team.
    My spouse and children got dependent visa. Not sure about parents.

    Reply
  10. Hello Anoop, Much appreciate your support.
    One more query…
    My date of joining in Berlin is 15th March and the Visa I got is also valid from 15th March.
    Not sure how to reach Berlin on/before my joining date? Any suggestions??I am travelling from India.

    Reply
    • Hi Ananda

      You can reach Germany only on or after your visa start date.
      My suggestion would be to inform your employer about the situation and postpone your joining date by 1-2 days. (You may also ask for paid vacation in this case).

      This should be doable and good luck!
      Thanks!

      Reply
  11. Above information shared is like family member advice 🙂 many thanks. For longer stay in Stuttgart with family(2A+2kids) which area the rent is low and get enough living space required with survival facilities?.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback Karthick

      I would suggest you first rent an Airbnb or temporary accommodation for a month or so.
      Once you are in Stuttgart, you can start your long term apartment search using one of these websites:

      1. eBay Kleinanzeigen
      2. WG-Gesucht
      3. ImmoScout24
      4. Immowelt

      I do not have much idea about the exact area that is suitable for your needs. But, once you are there, you will figure out this yourself.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  12. Hello Anoop,
    Nice information with details which every Indian would need. Can you also help with some links for rented apartments and what would be good cost of living near ingelheim.

    Reply
  13. Hello Anoop,

    I got an option to choose between Hannover and Essen for my new job in Germany.
    Which city you would recommend considering cost of living, transportation , finding a house, malls, shopping complex…

    Reply
    • Hi Ajay

      Sorry to disappoint you but I do not have much information about these cities. I would suggest using an online tool like numbeo.com to see the difference in the cost of living between the two cities.

      Reply
  14. Hello Anoop,

    I am travelling to Germany in July 2022 for my Job.
    I have taken 2 shorts of COVAXIN. Please help me to know what protocol is being followed for the people travelling to Germany with COVAXIN?

    Reply
    • Hi Amit

      As far as I know, Covaxin is not recognized in Germany and you will be considered unvaccinated.

      You will have to get new shots of a recognized brand (e.g Pfizer) once you are in Germany. One of the community members of GIC already shared this information on our discord channel here – https://discord.gg/zH8aBJB9TG

      Reply
  15. Hi Anoop,

    Great Blog and very useful piece of information.

    I am supposed to move to a work location in Munich in a few months.
    Since, it is difficult to find a rental in Munich, I am considering settling down with my family( incl 2 smalls kids) in a nearby city.
    Do have any suggestions on which cities can be considered for a work location in Munich, best suited for Indian families, possibly with nearby Kindergarten schools as well?

    Thanks,
    Prateek

    Reply
    • Hi Prateek

      Thanks for your feedback.
      I would suggest trying out Augsburg. It is 30-40 minutes away from Munich Hbf via train. The daily commute to Munich is also feasible.

      It is a city where I lived for 2 years and is a beautiful city with affordable rental apartments with all amenities within reach.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Hi Anoop,

        Thanks a lot for the suggestion.
        Let me look out for some rental houses in Augsburg.

        I will get in touch with you again, if I have more queries.

    • Hi Amit

      The calculation should be almost the same as I have mentioned in the post above for Augsburg. The only and the main difference will be the apartment rent. As far as I know, apartments in Munich cost around 1400 EUR per month. So, you can do the rest of the maths.

      I hope this helps.
      Thanks!

      Reply
  16. Thanks , Very Good Informative Blog. By Any chance do you have some idea regarding Rental cost for family of 4 in Augsburg. I am planning to Move with family of 4 , job is in Munich.

    Reply
    • Hi Naveen

      I would expect it to be around 2000 or 2200 Euros. Also when you have two kids, you get double the kindergeld so the expenses are not going to increase that much. The only major expense would be for the apartment rent (for a family of 4, you will have to go for a 3 room apartment).

      Reply
  17. Hi Anoop,

    Really this topic is very intersting and informative. I am negotiating a move to Germany with my employer and I will probably stay near berlin with my wife and my 5 year old kid. Can you help me understand the monthly expense to have a decent lifestyle (with probably some pan-EU vacation budget left) ?

    Reply
    • Hi Arnab

      You would need around 2k Euros every month for your expenses.
      If you get 4k Euros net, you will be left with 2k Euros which you can use for your travel, savings, investments, etc.

      You will also get over 200 Euros per month into your bank account as Kindergeld for your 5-year-old child.

      I hope this helps.
      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Hi Syed

      I understand your concern and it is a valid concern, especially during this time.
      But, I am still optimistic and I believe that this is just a temporary slowdown and things will get back to normal soon.

      Also, if you have a job offer from Germany and the employer is willing to continue with your employment, I do not see any reason to worry.

      I hope this helps.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  18. Really Great Initiative Anoop.
    Your content and presentation is very clear and easy.
    It gives very good information for Expats.
    Thanks for creating such a nice platform.

    All the best for your future aspiration

    Reply
  19. I am an Indian who is planning to settle in Germany with my German partner. I am well qualified with a decent job in India. I want to start my career there, however, as I don’t know Germany yet it seems like getting a job there will take some time. My partner in the other hand earning 4.911 euro gross salary and 2.800 euro net salary as bank employee in Waren (Müritz) within Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district.
    Is it good enough for a family? Is it a good idea to start family there before getting a job? What will be considered a good gross salary for a family of two?

    Reply
    • Hi B Paul

      I think the salary is good enough to sustain a moderate living style.
      You will be paying around 1k for rent and say 500-800 for the rest of the things including food, grocery, and other expenses.

      You can still save around 1k Euros per month.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply

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