10 Ways to Save Money While Studying in Germany

Although you will be able to work while studying, if you plan to support yourself during your studies it's likely that you'll face some lean months in Germany. Here are some tips to help you stretch your Euros while still living life during your studies.

1. Don't wait until the last minute to book your bus or Bahn tickets

Depending on where you study, local travel should be covered by your semester fees (80 - 300 euros per semester). But if you decide to travel out of state, you'll usually either want to bus or Bahn. If you plan ahead and book early, you can save a lot of money - otherwise tickets can be prohibitively expensive. Don't wait - book early. 

2. Discount supermarkets are your friend

When Aldi first came to the United States, many people were uncomfortable with their model, which was low are frills and prices. In Germany, Aldi and other discounters like Lidl, Netto and Penny offer significant savings and good quality, and are a great way to stretch your monthly food budget.

3. Get a bike

Germany is dramatically more bike-friendly than the United States. There's even a 62 mile "Bike Autobahn" that authorities plan to expand into a national bike highway. Most of Germany is flat and very bike-able, and cities all have dedicated bike-lanes to make life much safer for cyclists.  If your city doesn't have very good public transportation, this is a great way to get around and avoid expensive taxis. 

4. If you want to do some pleasure reading, use your library back home instead of buying

It's unlikely that you'll have much time to do any reading outside of the required texts, but if you do want to do some pleasure reading, you can download e-books directly from your library at home through the Overdrive app. You can download the books from anywhere and although it may take some time (there is a waitlist for popular titles), it can save a voracious reader hundreds of dollars a year.

5. Look into open museum days

On normal days, you'll be able to access museums and other cultural institutions at a reduced fare, but cities across Germany also offer open museum days. In Cologne, for example, cities museums offer free entry every first Thursday of the month.

6. Take advantage of your student discounts

Most student discounts are only available for those under 26, but be sure to check into the discounts offers by business and government offices in your city. Student health insurance, for example is available to anyone enrolled under 30. 

7. Practice your German on the cheap

Instead of paying for expensive private courses, if you already meet the requirements to study, set up a tandem with someone from your university or the local community. You can also sign up for classes at the local VHS, which will offer courses at a fraction of the cost of a private school.

8. Group passes are your friend

Each state in Germany has a pass that allows up to five people to travel on one ticket for the day. If you're planning to travel around your state or in a nearby state, this ticket or the similar "Schoenes Wockenende Ticket" are great ways to save money.

9. Always pay on time

It's easy to miss a payment or forget to pay your Rundfunkbeitrag for a month, but be careful to avoid this if possible. If you fail to pay on time, you'll be assessed fines which can easily double what you would have paid if you had paid on time.

10. Skip the gym!

Gym fees are generally pretty low in Germany compared to the United States, but if you'd like to avoid the 20-25 euros per month, just sign up for a few university sports courses instead. Most universities offer dozens of classes, so you're very likely to find something that fits.