How to save money as an international student in Germany

There are many things to consider as an international student in Germany, and how to save money is one of them. It can be overwhelming to set a budget before pursuing an education in a foreign country, as there are so many unknowns before you get there. From the cost of groceries to entertainment costs, it is challenging to know exactly where your money will be going, and that’s before you’ve even downloaded a currency converter app!

While Germany is one of the more affordable options in Western Europe for international students, it is still important to follow some key budgeting tips.

In this blog post, we will share useful budgeting tips for students looking to make their money stretch in Germany and ways you can maximise your money in one of the most popular student destinations in the world.

How can international students create a budget before arriving in Germany?

Planning a budget before you board a plane is essential as an international student in Germany. The best way to save money before you even make a transaction is to spend time researching. Learning about the country you are about to call home for a semester or more and gaining budgeting tips is key to saving money while you study.

No matter how much you prepare, you will always incur some unforeseen expenses that should be accounted for in your budget. Other than that, creating a rough budget is straightforward and will benefit you throughout your time as an international student in Germany.

Here are the main expenses to consider before making a budget, with estimated costs according to Study in Germany:

German blocked bank account

To be granted a visa to study in Germany, you must have proof of €11,208 for one year, which works out to be €934 per month.

Tuition fees

It is important to understand the difference between public and private universities in Germany. Most public universities have scrapped tuition fees and require small semester fees of around €100 – €200, whereas private universities still require tuition fees of up to €20,000 per year.

Health insurance

Another consideration when it comes to budgeting and saving is health insurance. You should expect to pay around €100 – €150 per month for health insurance coverage as an international student in Germany.


One of the key budgeting tips for international students is to explore your options when it comes to housing in Germany. Nationally on average, students pay around €410 per month with most students staying in dormitories. Students can also choose to stay in shared apartments and private accommodation. In cities like Berlin, finding affordable accommodation can be more of a challenge, but it offers more variety than the national average. In Berlin, expect your student accommodation to cost between €500 – €1,300 per month depending on your living situation.

Food and grocery shopping

The good news as an international student in Germany is that groceries are affordable across the country and will cost you in the region of €200 – €300  per month for food and groceries.

Public transport

Working out public transport costs can be challenging as it is hard to know how much you will be travelling around while evaluating other options such as cycling or driving when you get there. Germany is known for its efficient public transport system, and students in Germany can enjoy cheap public transport with the Semester Ticket. This pass covers buses, trams, and sometimes even trains in your city and surrounding areas for the entire semester. All students contribute a small fee, keeping the cost low for everyone. The national average cost for a Semester Ticket is around €180 per semester but prices can vary depending on the region and the included transport network.

Can an international student save money in Germany?

While it may feel like a big expense to study abroad, there are many ways to save money as an international student in Germany.

Here is a list of our top five best budgeting tips for international students in Germany

  1. Budget for entertainment costs – You can’t put a price on enjoyment. Studying abroad is all about having fun and experiencing new things. It is important not to miss out on having fun and making memories for life because of your budget.
  2. Explore student scholarships – Scholarships and funding are a great way to cut down on costs and can give you the boost you need to maximise your study abroad experience.
  3. Take advantage of student discounts – One of the best budgeting tips is using student discounts everywhere you go. 10% here and 20% there can go a long way for international students. As well as discounted public transport, students are eligible for discounted rates for entertainment and leisure activities such as museums, theatres, restaurants and shops in Germany.
  4. Find a part-time student job – Perhaps the most obvious way to save money is by earning money alongside your studies. Not only is a part-time job a great way to save money, but you will also be immersed in the German lifestyle and interact with locals day-to-day. International students can work up to 120 full days or 240 half-days every year.
  5. Make friends with other international students – Surrounding yourself with fellow students in the same financial position as you is a good way to explore the country and share costs with others. As they say, sometimes the best memories are the memories shared.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common student discounts available in Germany?

There are many student discounts in Germany that you can take advantage of as an international student. Students can receive discounted public transport throughout the country, as well as entertainment and leisure activities such as entrance to museums and theatres and discounts at restaurants and shops.

How can I control my budget with student discounts in Germany?

Student discounts in Germany are a good way to save money on a wide range of things like public transport costs and entertainment and leisure activities. Saving 10% on a coffee won’t seem like a lot at the time, but at the end of the semester, the discounts allow you to control your spending in Germany. 

What are some tips for international students to save money on food in Germany?

Unsurprisingly, cooking at home is cheaper than dining out in Germany. One of the best budgeting tips for international students in Germany is to cook as much as possible at home and see dining out as a treat perhaps on the weekend. Buying and cooking in bulk at home can save money on food and provide you with life skills at the same time.

What are some tips for international students to save on transportation in Germany?

In Germany, students can save money on transportation in several ways. Firstly, Germany is a very active country, and many people cycle to work and school. Buying a bike can be a very cost-effective solution to saving money on transportation costs. The country’s public transport system is also very highly regarded for efficiency, speed and cost for students who can benefit from schemes like the student semesterticket and the D-Ticket monthly pass.

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