Living cost in Cologne/Germany

Hi All!

I hope this question wont be too difficult to answer.  I would like to know how much a household should earn to be able to live fairly okay in Germany/Cologne.
The houselhold would consist of myself, my wife and our 1 year old daughter.
I'm from South Africa so I really dont have a clue.  Would a total household income of 2500 euro be enough? or am I being crazy?


Hi theone, :)

I hope other members will be able to give you soon the information on the cost of living in Cologne.

I wish you good luck

Hi theone,

first of all you should ensure that 2500,- Euro income is after tax. In case it is before tax in my opinion it wonīt be enough for 3 people to get along with.
Beside that there are other different factors such as:
Which area do you want to live in and what space do you need? Cologne City for example is quite expensive. Living outside the Cologne area is much more cheaper.
How much do you spend on grocery shopping per week? I assume a familiy of 2 adults and 1 child probably needs 150 Euro - 200 Euro per week including diapers, baby food etc.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration. 2500 Euro can be much money or not :-)



If it is net the net salary it should be fine. However there are several other smaler cities around where costs of living are cheaper and public transport is good. I am also South African and we live 20 minutes outside of Cologne. If you need assistance let us know.


Thanx for the reply Mimpca.  I must say I might have posted my message wrong in that I am actually also going to be based in Dueren, Kreutsau in fact.
My wifes' mom is from there so we'll hang out there until we will be okay.
It's nice to know that there are fellow South Africans in the same area.
I guess once one has a job everything will fall in place.  We are anyway not big spenders so living small wouldnt be a problem for us until we're settled.
How are you finding Germany thus far and or have you been there for long? Was it easy finding a job?

Awaiting your reply.


Hello Theone,

I have been here for two and half years. I am just starting to Enjoy Dueren now but the first year was difficult. Growing up in a big city and so close to Sandton City, Dueren was not what I wanted. Thank God for the public transport here, I was spending most of my free time in Cologne.
I really struggle to integrate with the German culture being different especially in small cities so it took me few months to adjust. Football is big here, people donít really talk about rugby not even on TV, I have a pay TV so sometimes I watched rugby on the British or French channels.
Regarding work, I wanted to learn German before looking for a job, I did German course for 1 year and had my child the year after. My husband is working with an ok income so it allowed me to stay at home with my 12 months old baby. I know most of people will tell you that it is difficult to find a job without speaking German but once in a while you find job advert in the Cologne newspaper for English speaking people.
Any change is difficult, leaving your friends and family but once you have adjusted to the life here, you will love it.
Do not hesitate to contact me once you are here, I can assist you with a place to go for changing your driving license etcÖ.

Hallo Mimpca,

It's nice to hear from you again. I like your honesty. Many people can be so negative on this site so it's nice to hear from someone real for a change.
Talking about rugby - I have already set myself up with the Cologne Rugby Club.  I actually played rugby profesionally for the Gauteng Lions (I'm from CT though) for 4 years from 2000-2004 and then for Western Province but only sevens and so on.

I guess your German is coming on very well then?  Did you have to pay for the course or is there some allowance which one can use for such courses?
Is your husband German or SOuth African if you dont mind me asking?  If he is South African and missing some live rugby then he could always come and watch me play when I am at Clogne Rugby Club.
It seems as if we have have a child the same age.  Our baby's name is Lilly and she turns 1 this coming Saturday the 9th of July and it's my birthday this Wednesday, the 6th.
I have been working in the accounting environment for the last 8 years but I guess it will be difficult to find something in that direction at first so I will be doing a TEFL course (English Teaching Course) just to have something else on my CV as well.
Do you know any other other South Africans in the area? 
I must say that I am anyway looking forward to coming to Germany so I cant wait for the next 3 months to pass.

Thank you for reaching out and I will definitely stay in contact.

Enjoy the rest of the day and sorry for all the questions :)

From a cold South Africa

Hallo Theone,

Great to hear that you guys are looking forward to coming to Germany:)
My German is ok, I donít need a translator to appointment anymore which is great and I am more independent. I still struggle with the pronunciation but some of my Afrikaans speaking friend didnít struggle with German at all especially the pronunciation.
My husband paid for the course but it depend on your income, from no income to 1500 Euro the government will pay for it, if you have a higher income you pay with a small discount.
My husband is 100% German; we worked together at Ernst and Young Johannesburg. He still works at Ernst and young here in Cologne and DŁsseldorf. My husband knows the Cologne rugby club, he had an ex school friend that played there but now he moved to Singapore I think.
Oh Yeah,Lilly is exactly 1 month younger than Miya. I will organize play dates with your wife and LillyHappy birthday to both of you. I hope you will celebrate well especially that you will be leaving SA soon.
It wonderful that you will be doing TEFL as a back u, I donít think you will struggle with that on your CV.
I donít know any other south African this side only in Stuttgart and Munich. I was lucky to have met some German ex colleague from Ernst and young and other English speaking foreigners in Cologne
You will enjoy being this side of Germany especially that you can travel to Belgium, Holland and France in one day:)

PS: the weather is good at the moment this side, hope you will enjoy the sun shine when you get here!!

Enjoy packing and see you in few months

Hi Mimpca,

Are you on Facebook perhaps?  I've been telling my wife about our chats and she is happy about the play dates you mentioned so she would not mind getting into contact with you as well.
Once on there, we can keep in touch that way.
You can check for my profile as well - Melvine Smith and my wife Yasmin Smith.
Are you still at home and or planning the next one (lol) or are you working again?  My wife is looking forward to having our next baby as the maternity leave is apparently nice and long and you still get paid a nice portion of your salary or something like that.
We had a bad experience here with the birth of Lilly so my wife is looking forward to some quality care.
I submitted my visa application today at the German Consulate and all went well so we are very happy.  Now we just have to make sure that we get everything sold - car, household stuff, etc.  Did you also have to go through that schlepp?  That is maybe the one thing I am not looking forward too.

As you mentioned, the travelling is probably the one thing I am looking forward to so I cant wait for us to be settled in and start exploring Europe.

Hopefully we see you on facebook.

Keep well

Hi Mimpca,

I trust you are doing well.  You never answered my last message so I'm just hoping that you are okay.

Keep well

Hello from sunny Deutschland!!!

Happy belated birthday. Hope you were spoiled
Yeah,so excited that you guys have introduced    your visa application.  All the best with selling of your good, it get a bit stressful. People offer you low prices sometimes because they know that you are desperate to get rid of your staff.  Just spread the news about you getting rid of your good. Ask your friends to tell people around them about you guys selling your belongings. Maybe it will go faster.
I was coming to join my husband in Dueren, so just had to get rid of my furniture and my car. I was so desperate to sell my furniture that I lowered the prices, I even had big discounts for people that bought more than 2 items I took some other staff to cash converters. The only thing that I didnít negotiate was my car.
Yes, i am on facebook. I couldnít find you but i think I find Yasmin. I sent her a message but probably she hasnít seen it yet. You can find meí Martine Caspersí.
I am still at home not planning on the next one soon My husband travels a lots for work, it is a bit hard without family members around. Yeah,they look well after you this side when you give birth. You get around 67% of your net salary for a year while staying at home. I got 300 Euro for 1 year because I never worked here.Not only that you get a mid wife to visit you for few days, the medical aid assist you to attend a kind of gym to assist you wth your back and stomach after birth.

Wishing you guys all the best with packing.Stay strong because it is for the next big chapter of your life.

Have a great weekend and hoe to hear from you guys soon.

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