What are the expenses of studying? #StayInBudget

Normally in your early twenties you think that you know roughly how expensive everyday life is. So, without much thought, you will fall into the student lifestyle and quickly stumble into unimagined costs.

In order to provide a brief overview, the Studentenwerk regularly presents a so-called Social Examination, which presents the economic and social situation of students. This study is a useful source of information, especially in view of the serious reforms of the higher education system. For example in the calculation of the BAföG amount.

The 20th Social Exchanges of 2012 is currently the most recent and lists amongst others the average cost of students per month. First of all, it is necessary to be aware of the fact that the figures are from 2012 and are not representative of the current situation at all. The 21st Social Exhortation is due to be published in the middle of 2017.

From the 20th, the following values ​​can be found:

Rent incl. Additional costs                                                                                                                              300.00 €

Nutrition                                                                                                                                                           165.00 €

Clothing                                                                                                                                                              52.00 €

Means of study                                                                                                                                                  30.00 €

Car and / or public transport                                                                                                          20.00 € / 40.00 €

Medical insurance, medical expenses, medication                                                                                       60.00 €

Communication                                                                                                                                                 33.00 €

Leisure, culture and sport                                                                                                                                68.00 €

Study and other fees                                                                                                                                        56.00 €

Total                                                                                                                                                                                    846.00 €



This is only the average value, the actual cost differ from  570.00 € – 1.100.00 €.

A decisive factor for this high cost frame is the different rent levels in the different cities. A more up-to-date source from the year 2015 lists the room prices for room prices from 65 cities in Germany and shows as the top rider with € 492.00 per room Munich, followed by Frankfurt am Main (€ 425.00), Hamburg (413.00 €) and Cologne (390.00 €). It is also to be assumed with these values ​​that they have increased again in the last 2 years. Even if you get the full BAföG amount it becomes very difficult in the “Top” cities to get a decent place that is affordable and in an acceptable environment. As a general rule, it should apply that about 35% of the total budget should be used for your rental.


Nutritional costs

To determine the nutritional costs properly is very difficult, as there are many different factors that are very crucial to the final costs. It starts with whether you share the household with others, or you live alone, like in a student residence or student apartment. The advantage of living alone is, with certain exercise, to reduce the risk of food spoilage to a minimum. This might sound a bit banal now, but it is hard for many students in the early days to buy the right quantities. Also, you have to decide if you want to cook yourself or would prefer to eat in the cafeteria. According to the Social Examination the total costs range between 152,00 € and 167,00 €, with the authors pointing out that many students had great problems explaining their actual consumption. That is why the authors estimate the actual consumption to be 80.00 € – 250.00 €, where the region is very important for the food prices and 80.00 € does not have to mean that you live at a subsistence level, but you optimized your purchase and  perfectly matched purchasing coordination on the basis of price offers in respective of discounters or supermarkets. And last but not least, the amount of food you consume per day is crucial.



Costs of clothing move in a rather manageable area and have only increased by 1.00 € since the last social increase in 2009. Many students were adequately equipped by their parents shortly before their departure, and they always see shopping as the first cut when the money is scarce during their studies


Means of Study

How much you spend on your teaching material is heavily dependent on the subject. Therefore, from the beginning, you should be aware of how much your course of study requires of you, in the field of expenditure. Fortunately, this is quite predictable, whereby the top are dental medical studies with an average of € 65.00 per month, which for many was not directly obvious. But especially in medicine and law, it is compellingly necessary to constantly obtain new editions in order to always have the most up-to-date knowledge available. Thus, in these areas costs range between € 40.00 – € 65.00 per month. The courses for Fine Arts and Architecture closely following with € 49.00 – € 52.00 per month. In these cases the costs are not to be measured by means of expensive books, but by the constant need for materials from the stationery stores. The lowest is spent on budget studies, physics, astronomy, mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering with an average of € 18.00 – € 22.00 per month. If you started your studies now and are realizing that you spend much less than is stated here, you have to keep in mind, that just before the exams the expenses for materials are going to increase rapidly. So you should always get a small buffer from the beginning.



To determine the actual travel costs difficult, since only 4 out of 5 respondents indicated costs in this area. They probably underestimate or forget the costs because the semester contribution, which often includes the ticket for the public transport, is no longer in the back of their head after the payment. If you have to pay your semester contribution in by yourself, you should always be aware that you pay about 40.00 € per month for public transport.

It is different if you have your own car, the monthly expenses can be on average over 120,00 €.



As a student, under certain conditions, you can be insured by your parents until the age of  25, which means, that the costs in this area can run against 0.00 €. If, however, you are older than 25, the costs rise very quickly to a significant amount per month. It is possible that as a 30-year-old student you have to pay up to € 128.00 a month for the health insurance alone.


Nowadays, you cannot imagine an everyday life without smartphones and the constantly being online is a vital part of your life. You are growing up with this technology, but usually only knows how expensive your own mobile phone contract is. And by the whole “Kombi” possibilities one loses relatively quickly the overview, of how much the individual services cost. If you do have the possibility to share the Internet and Rundfunkbeitrag costs, if necessary, with your roommates. On average, students pay about € 33.00 per month; A value most likely to continue to decline as a result of persistently high competition in the market.

Small tip: Always pay attention to the average value that you have to pay during the contract period per month. Often, for example, it is advertised to have a DSL connection set up for only 9.95 € per month, but in the small print it is written that one must pay from the 13th month of the month then 44.95 €. So you get quickly to a median of 27.45 €, which you have to pay during the contract period.



A student uses a little less than 10% of the budget for his leisure activities. There are differences, especially among the different sexes, because men (74.00 €) spent  an average of almost 10.00 € more than the women (63.00 €). But most of all, the number of inhabitants of the student’s place of residence determines for how much he spends every month for his fun. Due to the high availability, students in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants tend to spend about € 77.00 a month, while students in small towns with a maximum of 50,000 inhabitants just spend € 57.00.


Study and other fees

And, last but not least, you must never lose sight of the semester contribution. Otherwise it can happen that you are in the last month of your semester, that BAföG just freshly entered the account and then you have to spend everything again for the semester contribution. For this reason, you should be informed of the extent to which the contribution is made in your state or county, and share the monthly rate accordingly. If you are not a beginner or a senior, you may also have to pay tuition fees. You can find more information in the links below.


To summarize everything once:

Studying is not a cheap affair. If you look at it, we are really lucky here, because we have to pay “only” the semester contribution and not as in other countries the complete tuition. This overview also includes only everyday life and does not include costs such as The move, a new PC, holidays etc. But do not let any of them deter you, because there are many different ways to get money that is not from your parents during your studies. On our website we have a lot of information about it.

It is also important to remember that there are special tariffs for students, or the possibility living in a student apartment, that provides you with a fully furnished living space, where you save the costs of an expensive move and various acquisition costs.

You will always have a chance to study at your dream destination!



What is Rundfunkbeitrag?



Where do I have to pay which study fees?