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11 Tips for saving money in Germany

Do you always end up with too much month at the end of your money? Do you tend to spend more than you’d like? Want easy and effective money saving tips that actually work?

Here are 11 tips on how to save money at the end of every month. 

Saving money in everyday life

monthly savings per household in Germany

Source: Statista 2018

Money saving tip no. 1: Change your energy provider.

Energy costs are among the most important overhead costs in our household budgets and make up for around 8 to 10% of our monthly net income. But tariffs can differ between providers, which means that comparing prices is always worthwhile. Luckily, websites such as Check24.de or Verivox.de make comparing prices of German energy providers convenient and easy. Just enter your postcode, the number of people living in your household and your estimated energy usage into the comparison tool, and it will provide you with a list of the cheapest providers to help you save money in Germany.

Adjust the filter to only show providers who offer eco friendly energy. That way, you’re saving not only money but the environment, too! 

Money saving tip no. 2: Figure out which appliances consume most energy in your home and reduce their usage to save money.

Another thing worth changing when it comes to energy is how much of it you actually use. Did you know that an old heating pump, an electric stove or a freezer may guzzle electricity to an extent that just one of these appliances could have you pay more than EUR 100 yearly in excess costs? 

But don’t worry, you don’t need to head to the retailer just yet. Start off by taking stock: How old are your household and kitchen appliances? Could any of them be replaced soon? Most modern household appliances are more efficient and environmentally friendly, which means that your initial investment in buying them will soon be made up for by the lower energy costs. Make sure that you dispose of your old appliances responsibly, though, or donate them to someone who needs them. Either way, ensure that they’re put to good use.

Another tip to save money: Unplug any appliances you aren’t using. Even in standby mode, they consume a considerable amount of energy.

Money saving tip no. 3: Sell things you rarely use or don’t use at all.

Are your shelves full of things you hardly ever touch? Are your cupboards and drawers about to explode? Maybe now is the right time to declutter your apartment and get rid of things that are just sitting around and gathering dust. 

Take a look around and ask yourself for every object you see: When was the last time I did actually use that? Would I really miss it if it was no longer there? Using Packmee or the Deutsche Kleiderstiftung, you can donate old clothes and shoes to those who need them most. Surely you can part with appliances or household items you no longer use, especially if they go to others who would use them. Alternatively, take a few pictures with your smartphone and post them on websites for selling preloved items, such as Shpock or Vinted

As a side note, you can also find great second-hand clothing or used appliances for yourself at vintage markets or charity shops! Buying there instead of buying new things, you’ll save yourself some money whilst doing your bit for the environment.

Saving money when grocery shopping

Saving money in your everyday life is particularly easy when shopping at the supermarket. Below, we’ll give you some great money saving tips.

Money saving tip no. 4: Make a shopping list — and then stick to it.

Honestly, do you tend to impulse buy on occasion? Do you often take home more from the shop than you originally intended? Over time, things like that can really eat into your budget. So, what can you do about it? 

Very simply, write a shopping list.

Think about what you want to buy in advance and write it down. With your list in hand, you can then strategically navigate through the supermarket and buy what you need (and only what you need!). 

Walk straight past all of those tempting discounts and special offers, and you’ll be surprised at how headstrong you actually are! Be proud of the fact that you’re saving money whilst being disciplined.

Cooking or preparing your meals yourself not only saves you money, but it also saves on tonnes of unnecessary packaging used in the production of ready meals. 

Tip: Share your shopping list with family and friends using Bring!, an app developed in Switzerland. With the Bring! app, you can get your shopping done more quickly and avoid doubling up on things you don’t need as well as prevent food waste.

Money saving tip no. 5: Take advantage of special offers and promotions.

No, you don’t need to start stingily hoarding vouchers! Still, reducing your expenditure on food by 15 to 25% by taking advantage of special offers can reduce your monthly costs by EUR 50 to 100!

Take a look at flyers or at the website of your local supermarket to find out about the latest offers. Cross-check with your shopping list to see whether anything you currently need is on offer. 

Some offers may even inspire you to come up with new recipes! Do you want to try something new to save money? Is there anything on offer that you could use to whip up an interesting new dish? Be creative here and dare to experiment.

Money saving tip no. 6: Buy supermarket brands instead of brand-name products.

Did you know that supermarket-brand products are often produced by the same manufacturer as their identical brand-name counterparts? In many supermarket chains, you’ll always come across two different versions of the same product: the cheaper, less spectacular supermarket-brand product and the more popular branded one. 

Why is the branded product more expensive than the supermarket one? Is it the quality? Not always. Tests undertaken by Stiftung Warentest show that no-name or supermarket-brand products are often of the same, if not better, quality than some branded variants. 

The price difference is mainly down to one thing: Brand manufacturers spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising their products — costs that you pay when buying them. If you want to avoid those extra fees, try buying the equivalent supermarket-brand product in the future. 

Money saving tip no. 7: Don’t ever go shopping on an empty stomach.

Have you ever gone shopping when you were starving and then bought too much food? Were the products you threw into the trolley mostly highly caloric and sweet treats? As many amusing memes tell us, we’re not ourselves when we’re hungry! This has even been proven by science. Don’t use this insight as an excuse, but rather take it as a practical life hack: To save yourself a nasty shock at the checkout, have a snack before you shop. 

On a full stomach, you can relax when breezing through the aisles, ticking off your shopping list as you do so. Live cheaper, healthier and be more appreciative of the little things — that’s the way it should be! 

More tips to save money

Money saving tip no. 8: Sell your car and use car sharing instead.

Did you know that on average, Germans spend around  EUR 379 monthly on transport? If you live in a bigger city and own a car, using a car-sharing service could be a great and much more cost-efficient alternative for you. Cars do give you more freedom and mobility, but they also contribute significantly to your overheads. 

If you take into consideration the gradual depreciation of the car, maintenance, insurance as well as the frequently occurring repair costs, you end up having to pay a huge four-figure sum every year. In many German cities, you can, for the most part, get to and from your destination using public transport.

Should you ever need a car, just try and find the closest car share! Share Now and Flinkster, among others, offer modern car-sharing services in all major cities in Germany. They also offer hybrid and electric models, which are both a money-saving solution and a way to reduce CO2 emissions!

Money saving tip no. 9: Get on your bike.

Whether you need to go to the supermarket, your local doctor or your university campus, many routes can be easily covered by bike. Making short journeys by car means high fuel consumption as well as unnecessary expenses. At peak times, in particular, you’re better off just using your bike. You’ll probably also find that you get to where you need to be even quicker. 

Zipping to your destination by bike not only saves you money and helps the environment but keeps you active at the same time. Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend heaps on an expensive racing or city bike to get started. Remember those charity shops we mentioned earlier? Try and find yourself a well-maintained second-hand bike that you can use to get around sustainably and without damaging the environment around you. 

Save money with structured finances

Money saving tip no. 10: Set up a standing order (Dauerauftrag) to your savings account.

Saving money requires discipline. While it would be much easier to spend our money on the endless temptations advertised to us daily, in the long term we’d run out of money for the financial goals that are actually important to us. 

Setting up a standing order, or “Dauerauftrag” in German, is an effective hack to automate money saving. Choose one of Yova’s monthly savings plans to invest sustainably. 

This way, you don’t have to take care of making the investment monthly because your savings plan will take care of it for you — no extra discipline required! You can save money and invest in your future — making a sustainable impact.

Join our waiting list and be one of the first people to try out Yova once we have launched in Germany to start saving money now.

save money in Germany, monthly investment

Money saving tip no. 11: Open a free current account (Girokonto).

Whether you’re getting paid, withdrawing money or transferring household expenses, a current account, known as a “Girokonto” in Germany, will always remain at the epicentre of your finances. Unfortunately, most major banks charge an annual fee for a current account.

Modern banks such as Comdirect, N26, Revolut and Tomorrow Bank offer their accounts free of charge. Who likes putting up with annual charges anyway? Many users find that this kind of direct banking service works much better for them.

Using a smartphone app, for example, you can easily access all banking services, and banks like Revolut even offer free multi-currency accounts, so that you save money on conversion fees when you next travel abroad! 

Tomorrow Bank not only offers a free current account, but it also makes sure that your money is used to support sustainable projects. For example, every Euro you spend using your Tomorrow card will ensure adequate protection for 1m² of rainforest. 

Some providers even offer a free debit or credit card as part of their accounts.

Let’s summarise…

Saving money is easy and effective, but you need to be disciplined, plan your approach and heed the right advice! The money you save can then be used for things that are truly important. This may range from planning your retirement to making a sustainable investment with Yova.

Join our waiting list and be one of the first to experience Yova once we have launched in Germany to start saving money now!

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