Money and Budget
Keeping Tabs on Your Spending
Are you very organised and find it easy to stay on top of your finances? You can definitely allow yourself a treat now and then, but it helps to keep a steady eye on your student budget.
First of all, you should make sure you have sufficient funds in your bank account for your time at university. International students from countries that are not part of the EU/EEA or Switzerland generally have to prove they have enough money in the bank to cover tuition fees and living expenses before they receive their entry visa to Germany. You can do this by opening a blocked account (Sperrkonto) at a German bank. This is an account that only allows you to withdraw a certain amount each month. At present, the minimum amount you need to have in your account is 8,640 Euros per year, of which you can then withdraw a maximum of 720 Euros per month. You can open a blocked account at any German bank by email or letter from your home country.
Living costs differ according to life style and location. Rents are generally much cheaper in smaller towns than in big cities like Munich.
Generally, you need to keep in mind that you have to pay a fee (around 50 Euros per semester) for your local Studentenwerk (Student Services). Added to that are costs for books and learning materials, your health insurance, and sometimes tickets for public transport.
Here is a list of the average monthly expenses for students in Bavaria:
250 to 600 Euros (depending on location and type of housing)
|Health insurance||70 to 80 Euros per month for students from non-EU countries that do not have an insurance treaty with Germany|
|Transport costs||30 to 65 Euros|
|Books / learning materials||30 Euros|
|Telephone / internet||20 Euros|
|TV / radio||20 Euros|
|Going out / sports / clothes||80 Euros|
|Total||Around 650 to 1,050 Euros|
How to Open a Bank Account
Girokonto (current account/ checking account)
Even if you have already opened a “Sperrkonto” (blocked account) in Germany, it is useful to open a current account as well, once you have moved to Bavaria. A current account allows you to withdraw money, arrange standing orders to pay your rent or set up direct debits with other service providers. Most banks give students free current accounts or better interest rates. You should shop around to find the best offer. If you are staying in Germany longer than a few months, many banks are also likely to offer you an EC debit card that allows you to withdraw cash from ATMs or pay for items in shops.
Credit cards in Germany can be quite expensive. Many banks charge yearly fees of around 40 Euros for credit cards and are also reluctant to give them to students without a steady income. However, EC debit cards are far more popular than credit cards in Germany anyway. Even when making purchases online, you can often get by without a credit card by using a process called “Lastschriftverfahren”, which means that money is directly withdrawn from your current account.
Sparkonto (savings account)
If you are planning to put some money away for a rainy day, opening a “Sparkonto” (savings account) is a good idea. These accounts are usually free and provide better interest rates than current accounts.
Make an Appointment
Whether you want to open a current or savings account or apply for a credit card, it is useful to phone your local bank branch in advance to arrange an appointment. The advisers should also be able to tell you which documents you need to bring along to complete the process (usually a passport and proof of address in Germany).