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Making the best of your money

The currency used in Germany is the Euro.

Divided into 100 cents, it’s available in a range of denominations from 1 cent coins to 500 Euro notes.

If your bank has interests in Germany, find out more whether you can use your account abroad as this may ensure a continuous rating, useful if you decide to move back home. Should you decide to open an account in Germany, there are some reputable banks including Westdeutsche Landesbank, Postbank and Deutsche Bank all offering good accounts for expats.

You’ll need an initial deposit (or transfer funds from a bank at home but this will take longer), plus your passport, residence card, and some proof of where you live.

Everyday tips for saving money

Haggling isn't common in Germany, and if you don't have a Lidl or Aldi nearby, you might feel that you're always paying full price, or waiting for the sales to come around. Many expat discussion boards attest to furniture and cars being more expensive in Germany than elsewhere, which is surprising, given the point of origin of many of the best-known brands.  A saving grace in the early days might be hiring a car when you need one, and taking a trip to Ikea to buy furniture items.  Scouting pre-loved or second-hand stores or online websites are a good way to pay less for good quality items and you can always upgrade once you're settled and find a pattern of spending you're comfortable with.

As Germany can be expensive for some things, you might find it worth investigating importing certain items from other countries. Gas, tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol are some of the basics Germans are willing to cross borders for. 

Saving money in Germany can come down to making sensible routine choices, as it would in your home country. Limit the number of times you indulge in luxury activities, such as eating in five-star hotel restaurants or buying goods you know you’re paying a surcharge on, and try to think like a tourist until you settle in. In the early days, explore your city on foot and find out what can be done for free, when attractions are cheaper or offer 2-for-1 deals, and scout around for happy hours at bars.

As well as consulting websites such as TripAdvisor for small ways to save money or the best places to eat for less, try to get local advice before you make the big decisions like where to rent, whether to buy, or just to hire a car. We strongly recommend you do your homework in advance if you want to pick up a place at an inexpensive bilingual school in your area.

Make sure your job offer suits your lifestyle in Germany. Work out your likely necessary expenses and then consider the things you'd like to spend money on in your free time and investigate as much as you can about the destination and see how your sporting, artistic, or cultural preferences fit with your new life.

Fundamentally, living economically in Germany will be similar in approach to that in your home country. Take some time to do some research, leave yourself a window of time, and hunt down a bargain or two online.

Don’t waste time or take risks searching for insurance cover among agencies you’re not familiar with in a country you don’t yet understand. Talk through the issues that will be part of your new lifestyle and get the cover that suits what you need — no more and no less.

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