If you are considering moving to Frankfurt, this is probably one of the two most important things you are going to search for. The second is salary levels in Frankfurt and they go hand in hand when you have to decide whether the relatively low salaries of Germany will match the slightly high living costs in Frankfurt.
Trouble is that as you have probably found, almost all of the info you have found online is either a national average and in addition, almost all of the job postings ask you to state your required salary. Salaries in Frankfurt are on average higher than the rest of the country but so is the cost of living. However there is also a large disparity across the city.
Single person: €250/mth is just about the bottom end of the scale for a single room studio apartment, but at under 20sqm, don’t expect any luxury. Reasonable studios and 1/2 room apartments go from about €500 to €800 with the upper end being €1500. For students, you may want to consider joining into a group of 3-4 people and for €300 each you could get a very nice shared apartment with all the mod-cons. These prices are for unfurnished places as there are very few furnished options. Add about €200 per month on for furnished apartments, but it will just be cheaper to pop to IKEA when you first arrive.
Couple: Starting a about €400 for rock bottom 2 person studio apartment, but reasonable quality would be between CHF 700 to 900. Bear in mind that many landlords won’t rent to you if they think that the apartment is too small for the number of people. So don’t think you can squeeze a family of 4 into a 1 room apartment to save money.
Family (3-4 people): You need to start looking at apartments marked 3 rooms (zimmer) or upwards. The cheapest I have seen is about €800/mth for a small 3 room flat, but if you have a child you should think of the area and basic hygene standards and start budgeting for €1100 upwards. Nice 4 room apartments start at around €1500 and go up well past €3000 depending on the area and building.
And if your budget is above this then you probably don’t need my advice 🙂
City transport: €80/mth. If you are lucky to work for a larger organisation, they will offer you a Job Ticket for about half price. The tickets work on all S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses and trams, but check the zones if you are leaving the city. If you are planning on travelling around the country regularly by train, have a look at the Bahncards. For a fixed fee you will get either 25%, 50% or 100% discount of tickets. But you’ll need to do the maths yourself on this depending on how much you need to travel to make it worthwhile.
City Parking costs about €60 per year but don’t forget that you need to budget for parking at your apartment in case you don’t want to fight for a spot on the street. This is rarely included and can cost anything from €70-120/mth depending on the part of the city. Landlords rarely include the parking for free but often have it as an extra rental cost. If you get an apartment in an inner-city area like Bornheim, Sachsenhausen or Bockenheim you’ll find yourself driving in circles every evening looking for a parking space. More on cars in another post though…
The actual cost of food is pretty standard around Germany if you shop at Aldi or Rewe. The big difference is when eating out. A cheap hot meal will cost about €5-10, an average restaurant will be €15 and a nice place will about €30-40 per person. There are some really pricey places around, costing a lot more, but if you are thinking of these, then you can probably afford to skip this section…
In case you don’t want to do your research elsewhere, this is the amount I budgeted monthly for one working adult for some of the other generic costs:
– Apartment €700
– Groceries €200
– Health insurance €250
– Health costs €50
– Mobile phone €20
– Facilities (TV, phone, internet, water, etc.) €200
– Miscellaneous €800 (trust me, this part disappears quickest of all)
Did I miss anything?