13 Unexpected Things That Germans Usually Save On
You can find German tourists in any country of the world. Even though utility costs and food prices are rather high in Germany, the residents of this country know how to plan their budget, which allows them to buy expensive German cars and travel around the world. We decided to find out how they manage to save money without sacrificing their quality of life.
Germans never throw away food, but prefer to give it to those in need.
“In Germany, they hang bags of food for the poor, needy, and hungry. No public display, no video, no drama, no camera. Just pure service and goodwill.”
Even though Germans try to buy food in accordance with their shopping lists, they still sometimes end up with leftovers. And for these, there are special food-sharing websites or some people just leave food in bags on the streets.
Germans save on water.
Germany takes water conservation very seriously. They even calculated the costs of taking a bath and taking a shower. Taking a bath costs about €3, and taking a shower for about 10 minutes costs about €1.5. If you shower only once a day, you can save €180 per year. Water meters are usually installed in the bathroom next to the tap, so you can immediately track the amount of water used.
- A friend of mine who lives in Germany told me that if there is no dishwasher in the house, they fill the kitchen sink with water, add dishwashing liquid to it, and put all their dishes there. And it’s almost impossible to find a sink without a plug in a store.
- I had a German roommate who never rinsed his soapy dishes, and who didn’t even towel dry them either! Great guy otherwise, but that always seemed weird. I’ve never seen anyone from anywhere else in the world do that. © firegecko5 / Reddit
They go to student cafeterias for lunch.
For those who want to save on lunch, there is a great solution — a student cafeteria. You can have lunch much cheaper there than at a café or restaurant.
A bicycle is the best vehicle.
Germans care about the environment. This is why many people replace their cars with bicycles. This not only reduces fuel and parking costs but also contributes to protecting the environment. In addition, Germany has a very convenient public transport network. And if you buy an annual card and get a special subscription, you can save about €300 on transportation per year.
- In many cities, it is faster to go by bike, if you live within the inner city, than to use public transport. If you are planning to commute daily, I would invest €200-400 in a comfortable, dependable bike. This has always been the best solution for me. © Tough_Category / Reddit
They love an active lifestyle and know how to save on that too.
Gyms are very popular in Germany, with about 10 million members. However, the monthly membership fees are quite high, about €15 to €80. So, many people prefer to join sports clubs instead. Memberships to these clubs will cost you about €6 per month. And if you can’t afford it, you can always go to the nearest park and join a group of people who play soccer or frisbee.
They share fuel costs with co-travelers.
If Germans plan a long distance trip by car, they often share the cost of fuel with fellow travelers, who can be found on special websites.
Switching your electricity provider is a good way to save some money.
In Germany, some of the biggest monthly expenditures are utility bills. The cost of electricity and gas can be quite high. However, companies usually offer discounts during the first year of service. So, some people tend to replace their providers after this period. The main thing is to do it before the contract is automatically extended. In order to change the provider, you need to notify the company 6 weeks before the deadline (the exact dates are written in the contract).
- Switching your electricity provider every year usually saves you some money. But still, you shouldn’t forget that the less you use, the less you pay. © binned_alaska / Reddit
Everyone sends plastic bottles to recycling.
One of the reasons why the streets in German cities are clean is because the Germans send garbage to recycling stations and get paid for it. For example, you can get 25 eurocents for 1 plastic bottle, or a discount at a supermarket equal to this amount.
They share their belongings.
In recent years, Germans have adopted the concept of sharing and exchanging goods with their neighbors. There are special websites where you can put up anything for sale, offer it as a gift, or exchange it. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people. Also, you can find shelves or cabinets where people leave and take books almost on any street.
They can save on taxes.
Some taxes in Germany can simply be waived, like a church tax, which is approximately 8%. Usually hired employees don’t file a tax declaration. However, if you spend time trying, you can usually get part of your money back. This is why many people try to keep all receipts and any other documents proving their expenses. Filling in a tax return form can be quite tricky, but there are a few software programs that can help you do the calculations.
- You are free to submit a yearly tax declaration to your responsible revenue office and with that, you might get some money back (tax refund). You could also ask a tax accountant to help you prepare it, but this could cost a bit. You don’t have to submit one, but if you do it once, your revenue office might request another one the following year. © gekko88 / Reddit
They don’t always buy clothes in stores.
The Germans are quite picky shoppers and don’t really like to spend a lot on clothes. In addition, they prefer practical and comfortable items of clothing rather than fashionable things. At the same time, they are reluctant to throw away old or damaged things that can still be used. Furniture, accessories, or clothing can be bought at flea markets or thrift stores.
- We go to flea markets for children’s clothes, and we buy T-shirts and jeans online. © PatientPear / Reddit
They take time to find a proper place to live.
Finding a good apartment in Germany is not easy. The housing market is limited, so you’ll have to spend a lot of time finding a suitable place to live. The rent is divided into 2 types: “cold rent” and “warm rent.” Cold rent is a flat rate based on size, number of rooms, furnishings, and location. Warm rent is made up of the cold rent plus any additional costs or service charges. It’s worth checking whether your landlord charges for rent within the legal limits. If they charge more, you can hire a lawyer and get it reduced.
German women tend to not spend a lot of money on beauty procedures.
In general, women all over the world spend quite a lot of money on body hair removal procedures. But in Germany, about 30% of women are at peace with their natural body hair.