You can no longer get along in Berlin without a decent amount of money. €1500 / month for everything is a good standard, but it’s true that many people get by on much less. But make sure you come with some kind of cushion for emergencies.
Some example realistic costs:
-Rent and utilities (warm, in a shared flat in Kreuzberg): €600
-A transit pass: €81/month or get a bike
-Mobile phone/ Internet: €50
-Health insurance: depends, try to come on a European Medical Card initially
-€30/ day on food (less if eating very cheaply at home), incidentals, and going out
-€20 for a gym membership at McFit
At €2000 you are doing very well. It’s of course easy to spend much more.
You can keep down costs by:
-shopping for groceries at the Turkish supermarkets on Kottbusser Damm. They have very good fruit and veg. Shopping at Rewe, a German chain, is more expensive and the produce is inferior.
-use a student card to get cheaper tickets to museums, the opera, concerts and cinema. Or get a Classic Card for classical concert tickets if you are under 30.
-you can drink beer in public in Germany. This isn’t as louche as it sounds! A favourite student activity is buying beer at a Getränkmarkt (a wholesale drinks shop. They are found all over. A beer can cost a little over 1 Euro) and you can drink it on a bridge (such as Admiralbrücke in Kreuzberg) where there’s quite an indie scene.
-Drink beer or sekt at bars, not cocktails and liquor. Beer is always cheap.
-Note that street food though not very healthy is very cheap: especially Currywurst and Doner (about €4). Going out for a cheap sit-down meal and a beer usually costs about €20, although you can eat something semi-takeout for more like €7-10.
-Note that in many clubs and bars you will be charged a Pfand, or deposit on your glasses. This can get expensive, so bring your glasses back to collect your cash.
-For under €20 you can still have a great night out: drinking 2 bought beers in an industrial space with friends (€3), going for Falafel (€4), drinking a beer in a cool bar (€3), going to a great club (€5 at SO36 for example at the door, then €3 for a half litre of beautiful German Pilsner).
-You could on the other hand spend more than €2o0 for a great night out: aperitif at a terrace in Mitte (cocktail: €12), good seats at the opera or Berlin Philharmonic (€60; or else get cheap seats for €25), a great meal at a Michelin restaurant (three courses plus wine: €150; or just order a main à la carte and a glass of wine for €60), slip home to change and then another drink at a cool bar (€8), then clubbing in a big industrial space (€8-14 entry, plus €4 per beer, €7-10 per cocktail).
Here’s the index to the Moving to Berlin Guide, click on what you want to read next!
-Media, Films, and Books about Berlin
This is an independent guide to Berlin, with no ghostwritten content and no sponsored links or tips, from The Needle.
Never miss a post! Subscribe:
For a history and portrait of Berlin, do check out my book!
(the author asserts his right to copyright, revised 04/2019)