Even if your average Döner or beer is certainly cheaper than in other European capitals, it’s not always easy to get by on a student budget in Berlin. There are a few ways to save your precious cash and make the most of it so you don’t end up poor, but sexy. We give you a few tips for your main everyday expenses.
In most cases, rent is the single most important expense when being a student. For this, there are no magic solutions but to avoid the more trendy areas to reach a lower rent. Forget about Kreuzberg or Neukölln; think Moabit, Tempelhof or Schöneweide. There is more to life than being in the hip corner, so make sure to explorer lesser known areas. Remember that Berlin has an excellent transportation system. As long as you’re close to an SBahn or UBahn station, you’re usually only 30 minutes away from your favorite Kiez.
Furniture and equipment
If you’re only staying temporarily, you can avoid furnishing your home altogether by picking a furnished room. If not, Berlin is full of souls willing to give away their unused stuff. There are a few Facebook groups dedicated to connecting givers to takers. Don’t forget to check Ebay Kleinanzeigen or Craigslist as well.
Parties and entertainment
I know it’s tempting, but there is no need to enter a club every single weekend. Avoid cover fees by going to bars, private parties or open airs. It’s also very trendy to sit down outside a Späti and chill there, too. If you’re looking for more cultural events or concerts, you can look through the Gratis in Berlin guide which lists all free events in the city in different categories.
Don’t trash your stuff: fix it
Bad shit happens to good people. And it can happen to your stuff, too. We have all experienced an unfortunate incident with our laptop, phone, bike or camera. Instead of spending some cash on a new one, you can instead try to repair it in one of the several repair cafés scattered around the city. They have all the necessary equipment to fix your stuff, as well as experienced people to help you do it. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for you.
Getting a bike
Cruising Berlin with a bicycle is one the best experiences in the world. It’s as fast — or faster — as taking public transportation, it doesn’t pollute the environment, and it’s a great way to discover the sights. There are a few ways to get your hands on a cheap bike, but a lesser-know one are police auctions. The Polizei sometimes have hundreds of bikes every year that are never claimed by their original owner. This is your chance to get your hands on a good one (in good condition) for less than 50€.
Making both ends meet
If you still end up below the red line at the end of the month, you have two choices: first, you might want to consider taking a student job or switching your current one for something better. Studentenjob.de, Jobsuma and Jobmensa are three great websites to start your search. If you just want to cover exceptional expenses (such as a car), Settle in Berlin has also made a great guide on loans in Germany for foreigners with tips for students, too.
We hope this guide was useful and that it will allow you to save a bit of money for that flight ticket to go back home for Christmas, or that European tour you’ve been planning for two years now. Good luck!
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What other things do you do to live on a student budget in Berlin? Let us know in the comments. We have created, especially for you, a top 5 insanely cheap places where you can grab a bite in Berlin.