is 2000 Euros enough to live a decent life in Berlin for a couple ?

Hi All,

Greetings!! :)

I work in India with Microsoft and have a offer of around 77000 Euros / year from Berlin based startup. I did the Tax calculations and after all taxes, my Net in hand per month would be around 4200 Euros. I am married and would be moving with my life. I have around 8 years experience in software.

I am planing to save around 2000 Euros per month after all my expenses. I checked on Numbeo, the cost of living for a a couple comes around 1900 Euros.

Just wanted to check , Is my assumption accurate ?  is around 2000 euros good enough for a couple to live ? I don't drink alcohal and do not party much.  Eating out on weekends , Cinema, Gym etc is what I am looking at. I am also a budding Stand up comedian, so would be trying my hand in English comedy as well in Berlin.

There is no yes or no correct answer to your question. What is sure is that this is a well above average income in Germany. How much you save will depend on your lifestyle. But saving that much a month is very ambitious. It depends on your priorities. The biggest monthly expense will undoubtedly be for accommodation. Do you want to live in the smallest possible place in the worse neighborhood  to save money or spend more and live comfortably? There is always a trade-off. Many people calculate their fixed monthly cost and then underestimate the one-off things or irregular expenditures like furniture, gifts, a new TV etc. But there are always extra costs… I congratulate anyone who has the discipline to regularly save but one should be realistic and not have it become an obsession so that one does without normal things just to save a bit more.

As far as doing comedy; good luck. You will need to verify if the conditions of your visa allow you to earn money in other fields than the one it was specifically issued for. But until one gets a certain level of fame, there is not likely much if any money in it anyway. There are often open-mike events at clubs where one can get experience but don’t expect more than a free drink and a meal as payment.

It is entirely unheard of and unrealistic to expect to regularly save half of your earnings!
I say this even though you are offered a far above average salary and only two mouths to fed from it.
It may be possible under such circumstances, but why would you want to move to an expensive place and earn well and then live like a pauper?!?
Especially in the first few months, when you still need expensive temporary housing or have a rented place to furnish, speak little or no German and don't know where to buy things at reasonable prices, you will need far more than later on!
Also, let me tell you from own experience that homesickness is an expensive hobby: Ethnic food is universally costly (and this includes your everyday Curry) and a trip home even more so. The faster you adjust yourself to fried sausages with Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and weekend trips to the Spreewald (great pickled gherkins there!), the cheaper you will live!

Thanks a lot for the reply. I really appreciate it.

I am ok to spend more money in the first few months.

My only thought process is, If I am able to live a good life in 2000 Euros per month , what is the need to live like a pauper ? 

So , are you saying that 2000 Euros is still less for 2 people to have a good time in Berlin ?

My calculation is : 1000 Euros accomodation + 300 euros groceries + 300 euros weekend outing + 200 Euros commute to work + 200 extra. Am I too conservative ?

How much you spend on a "god life" depends entirely on your definition of this "good life". I know people who are happy with below EUR1000/month (per person) and others who spend EUR10000 and still  want more!
The official poverty line (survival limit) is currently at EUR750/month (per person). With your EUR1000/month, you will not live "like a pauper" (I exaggerated a bot there), but it will not be a life of luxuries.
With the full EUR2000/month you'd have far more room for that!

Some more comments on your budget:
- EUR1000 accommodation: At EUR750 rent and EUR250 for heating, electricity and other utilities (a typical ratio), you will find a flat but not the best one.
- EUR300 groceries: If that is meant per person (so EUR600 in total) it is realistic, but does not include ethnic food and restaurant meals.
- You need another, similar amount for other expenses like toiletries, clothes, etc.
- EUR300 weekend outing: Only one weekend outing per month for the two of you??? A weekend trip further away, say Paris or Venice (which you DEFINITELY want to see!) will cost you EUR600 or more.
- EUR200 extra: A nice Indian restaurant meal for two (with wine) will cost you half of that, a flower buquet for your wife's birthday a quarter of it. You decide how much you spend or don't spend on such things - but experience shows that one spends more on such things than budgeted (and that is not a bad thing, especially if you have the money!).

Thanks a lot for the reply. you really gave a realistic view. I really appreciate your response.

My assumption was EUR 300 for groceries for 2 people.

EUR 300 for outing I calculated for a month for outing. I mean outing within Berlin. I do not drink alcohol, so outing means  dinner + movie in Berlin only.

This was all as per Numbeo :)

But all in all, I got your point. To be frank , My aim is to pay of my loans and get free of corporate rat race. I believe the 3 most harmful addictions in this world are Drugs, Carbs and Salaries.

For that  reason only I was calculating a disposable income of 2000 Euros / month and I needed 18 months to get rid of the loan. My plan was to start my venture and focus a lot on stand up comedy, As Comedy Scene in India is booming.

because of my liabilities,  I am unable to think outside of 9 to 5 job.

But Thanks a lot for the eye opener. I will reject the offer in this case, As I do not want to float in the corporate life loop forever.

Why should you reject that job?!? It is an excellent opportunity and a salary you are unlikely to get anywhere else!

Thanks a lot for the opinion.

Its preety easy to get jobs with these kind of salaries. I work in a high profile company and any employer would love to have me onboarded. I am constantly getting calls from German companies with a salary bracket of 70 - 80k Euros / Annum.

Its a question of what I want , and by looking at the expense,  I believe my plan of saving 2000 Euros will go into vain.

Likely food costs are 300 Euro per person even if you cook your own food. One can easily pay 1000/month for rent these days for a small to mid-sized apartment but then need to pay additionally a few hundred for electricity and gas. You are leaving out health insurance (a sizable cost and not employer provided like at big companies in the US) and insurances for things like car, property etc. Then there are telephone and internet cost. Everyone in Germany also has to pay a fee for usage of TV and radio – even if you don’t own them. In the end there are MANY miscellaneous costs that come every month – in addition to occasional one-time or once a year expenses. Most people greatly underestimate the amount of money they really need until they see their monthly bank statement. With the salary you mention it would not be impossible to save say € 1000/month maybe even more  but 2000 simply sounds over-ambitious.

And again about the comedy; if it’s your passion then go for it. But until one makes it big and is say a regular on TV, then there is very little money in it. And it is very competitive. It’s a bit like acting. Of course there are Hollywood stars that make millions per movie. But for every one of those, there are a hundred who never make it beyond performing for free in local theater groups, or waiting tables or doing other lousy jobs waiting for that big break that never comes. Without a lot of talent one has little chance and even with talent one might never go anywhere. One speculating they will somehow make a career in comedy is like thinking you’ll hit the jackpot in the lottery.; could happen but don’t realistically count on it.

Note:Tom is a performing comedian and knows his stuff in this respect!

Guys, thanks a lot for the reply. This will surely help me to take a decision based on my priorities. I have calculated the net income of 4400 EUR after deducting Health insurance. I used … ermany.php

I think the realistic number of expense would be around 2500 - 2700 EUR.

1300 (Rent + utilities) + 600 groceries + 400 (4 weekly outings in Berlin) + 200 (transport) + 200 Extra

As far as stand up is concerned, I am taking it lightly only. I am in love with the art and want to produce genius jokes that work on a deeper level. a comedy that looks plain on surface but invokes a social issue awakening on deeper level. I know its difficult because of influx of so many comedians.

beppi :

Note:Tom is a performing comedian and knows his stuff in this respect!

Well, I'm a professional clown and juggler and comedy is part of what I do but I am not really a stand-up comedian. But I know how it is to be a performer and generally how the stand-up scene works.

But who knows, maybe you are just the right person at the right time and connect and go somewhere in stand-up. Just don't think of giving up your day job for it until you are certain it is not just a dream (and having confirmed your visa conditions will allow it as a primary income source).

is 1200 Euros good estimate for a house in berlin including utilities ?

Renting a whole house will most certainly cost more, but an apartment is possible - different sizes and locations cost differently, of course.

Thanks. I think I will take the plunge :)

New topic