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How much money does a student need to live?

How much money does a student need to live?

Starting to be a student is a massive shift in life. You move out from home, rent your first apartment, and get the chance to plan your life yourself for the first time. You will also face new financial challenges. Figuring out how much money you actually need to live can provide you with the confidence you need to start off right. Zuper has done some research for you and compiled a list of the most crucial expenses – and where you can save some real money!

Generally, the monthly costs for students can vary from 650€ to 1500€. In order to keep track of your expenses, it makes sense to set up a financial plan. If you follow this plan, it’s easier to recognize saving opportunities.

How much money does a student need for rent?

The rent depends heavily on the city you live in. There are significant fluctuations in the rental prices, as well as the cost of living. In Munich, you pay an average of 528€ for a room in a shared flat, whereas it’s just 264€ in Leipzig.

When looking for a flat, the general rule is that shared apartments are cheaper than living alone. If you go for a room in a shared apartment instead of renting your own, you can save up to 40 percent per m2.

BAföG offices have currently calculated 250€ for rental costs, although this amount isn’t even enough in the cheapest cities. Therefore it is crucial for BAföG beneficiaries to know all other costs to be able to save in other places.

How much money does a student need for food?

On average, students spend between 140€ and 213€ on food. This number heavily depends on a lot of factors. Cooking for yourself or with others can save you so much money compared to eating out, grabbing snacks on the go or even buying pre-cooked meals.

How much money does a student need for telephone/internet, etc.?

You should get along pretty well with less than 40€, as smartphone and internet contracts are getting cheaper and cheaper. If you live in a shared flat, the internet can be shared by all roommates, which makes the sum even lower for the individual. The same applies to the broadcasting fee. German GEZ is currently set at 17.50€ per month and can be easily shared between all flatmates.

How much money does a student need for insurance?

Until the age of 25, as a student, you’re covered under your parent's health insurance, which means that the coverage is free for you.

For older students (up to the age of 30 or 14th semester) there is a standard rate of 80€, but once again you should inform yourself individually about your individual health insurance. Without the standard rate, the cost of 190€ is a considerable expense.

How much money does a student need for tuition?

In Germany, state universities are free of charge, but that doesn’t mean that there are no tuition fees at all. This depends on the respective federal state, the university, as well as on the type of study, and whether you have already completed a bachelor's degree. You always have to pay a social contribution/semester contribution, but usually, the semester ticket is already included in this calculation. The monthly contribution costs can differ here from 12€ to 175€.

How much money does a student need for public transport and travel?

Local public transport is covered under your semester ticket in most cases. So, unless you own a car, you can get around pretty cheap. We found that students spend approximately 81€ - to 130€ for their semester ticket. Additional costs for long-distance travel or family visits aren’t included.

How much money does a student need for other expenses?

Around 60€ per month can be budgeted for clothes. For teaching material, it’s about 30€, but the costs are highly dependent on the respective degree program.


As a student, you can expect costs of 650€ to 1500€ per month. We didn’t include one-off expenses, like laptops or vacations, in our research, so make sure to budget for these as needed.

Keeping track of your expenses and staying within your budgets can be tough. Even more so for students with a limited income. Use Zuper to track your expenses with ease and take full control of your money!

The best savings tips for students:

  • As a BAföG beneficiary, you can free yourself from the broadcasting fee, even up to three years retroactively.
  • On Kleiderkreisel, flea markets, clothing exchange parties, and second-hand shops, you can discover real treasures, and you will do something good for the environment.
  • File your tax return. If you can claim your tuition costs as a loss at the tax office, you will have to pay less taxes for the first year or two in your job. Read here to what you should pay attention to.
  • Starting with the winter semester 2019/20, there will be a supplement of 155€ for health insurance for students over 30 years of age.
  • Food sharing is becoming increasingly popular. It’s free and you can easily pick up or distribute food yourself.
  • Use the sharing economy with apps like Momox or Rebuy.
  • Use bicycle self-help workshops at many universities.

There are many ways to save and thereby either omit the side job next to the university or save some money for the next big trip. Try it!

Paul Niklaus
Paul is a marketing manager at @ZuperBank. He's in love with marketing, standup comedy, and storytelling. In our blog, he shows you how to do the most with your money!
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