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Moving from the UK to Germany: Budgeting and Expenses

6 mins and 32 secs
Moving from the UK to Germany: Budgeting and Expenses

Are you considering making the leap from the UK to Germany? Whether you're drawn by career opportunities, cultural experiences, or simply a change of scenery, moving countries is an exhilarating journey. However, amidst the excitement, it's crucial to address the practical aspects, particularly when it comes to budgeting and managing expenses. From navigating the financial aspects of the relocation process to understanding the differences in cost of living, there's a myriad of financial and cultural considerations to contemplate. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of moving from the UK to Germany, providing insights and tips to help you effectively budget and manage your expenses as you embark on this new chapter in your life. Let's dive in!

Preparing for the Move

Before moving to Germany, it is important to be prepared for the transition. As a destination for expats, Germany consistently scores highly when it comes to quality of life, family life, and average earnings. However it is very different to the UK, why not check out our article on the pros and cons of expat life in Germany.

There's a lot to research and do before moving. Here are some key steps to take:

1. Research the cost of living in Germany compared to the UK. This will help you budget for your expenses and determine if any adjustments need to be made.

2. Research the visa and immigration requirements for moving to Germany. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order.

3. Notify relevant authorities and institutions of your move, such as your employer, bank, and utility companies. This will ensure a smooth transition and minimize any disruptions.

4. Start decluttering and organizing your belongings. Moving to a new country is a great opportunity to minimize and only bring what is necessary.

5. Begin learning the German language. While many people in Germany speak English, knowing some basic German phrases will help you navigate daily life and connect with the local community.

Calculating Moving Costs

Moving to another country can be a costly endeavor, often involving a multitude of expenses that extend beyond simply transporting your belongings. From visa fees and travel expenses to potential language courses and cultural adaptation necessities, the financial aspects of relocation can quickly add up.

Here are some factors to consider when calculating your moving costs:

1. Transportation: The cost of shipping your belongings to Germany can vary depending on the volume and weight of your items. Research different moving companies and get a couple of quotes to compare prices before deciding.

2. Visa and immigration fees: Depending on your situation, there may be fees associated with obtaining a visa or residency permit for Germany.

3. Housing costs: Research the rental or housing market in the area of Germany where you plan to live. Consider factors such as security deposits, rental agency fees, and potential differences in rental prices compared to the UK. It's also worth noting that apartments in Germany are often rented without a kitchen too, so you'll need to fit a new one if you haven't brought your own.

4. Utilities and services: Factor in the cost of setting up utilities such as electricity, water, and internet in your new German home.

5. Travel expenses: Account for the cost of travel to Germany, including flights, transportation from the airport to your new home, and any temporary accommodation needed upon arrival.

It is important to create a detailed budget and consider all potential expenses to ensure you are financially prepared for the move.

Currency Exchange Considerations

When moving from the UK to Germany, you will need to consider currency exchange. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Research exchange rates: Monitor the exchange rates between the British Pound (GBP) and the Euro (EUR) to determine the best time to exchange your money.

2. Choose a reputable currency exchange provider: Compare exchange rates and fees from different providers to ensure you get the most favorable rate and minimize transaction costs.

3. Consider using a currency exchange specialist: Some companies specialize in currency exchange for individuals moving abroad. They can offer competitive rates and provide guidance on the best strategies for exchanging your money. Remember that you can save up to eight times as much money when you transfer your savings with CurrencyFair as opposed to conventional currency exchange services. 

4. Plan your currency exchange in advance: Avoid last-minute exchanges, as rates at airports or train stations may be less favorable.

By carefully planning your currency exchange, you can maximize the value of your money when moving to Germany.

Save money when you send money with CurrencyFair's competitive exchange rates.Learn more

Securing Accommodation in Germany

Finding suitable accommodation in Germany is an important step in the relocation process. Consider the following tips:

  1. Research different neighborhoods: Each city or region in Germany has its own unique characteristics and cost of living. Research different areas to find the best fit for your lifestyle and budget. To help you get started we've already created an article on the 10 best places to live in Germany for expats. Beyond simply researching neighborhoods, delve into local community groups or forums to gain firsthand insights from residents. Engaging with expat communities or online forums can provide valuable perspectives on the daily life and amenities available in different areas.
  2. Use online platforms: Websites and apps such as ImmobilienScout24, WG-Gesucht (for shared flats), and Airbnb or Housing Anywhere (for fully furnished rooms) can help you find available rental properties in Germany.
  3. Consider hiring a real estate agent: If you prefer a more personalized approach, consider working with a real estate agent who specializes in helping expats find accommodation in Germany. They can provide valuable insights and assist with the rental process.
  4. Be prepared for the rental process: In Germany, it is common to provide documents such as proof of income, references, and a Schufa credit check when applying for rental properties. Make sure you have these documents prepared in advance. 
  5. Budget for upfront costs: In addition to monthly rent, be prepared for upfront costs such as security deposits and potential agency fees. Familiarize yourself with the rental dynamics in Germany, where long-term leases are common and rental prices may vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. Additionally, be aware of the differences between furnished and unfurnished rentals, as well as the associated costs.
  6. Flexibility and Patience: Securing accommodation in popular cities like Berlin or Munich can be competitive, requiring flexibility and patience. Consider temporary housing options while you search for a permanent residence, and be prepared to act swiftly when you find a suitable property.
  7. Legal Considerations: Familiarize yourself with the legal aspects of renting in Germany, including tenant rights and responsibilities outlined in the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch). Understanding the legal framework can help protect your rights as a tenant and ensure a smooth rental experience.

By taking these steps, you can increase your chances of finding a place to call home in Germany.

Financial Logistics: Bank Accounts and Money Transfers

Setting up a bank account and managing money transfers are important aspects of moving to Germany. Consider the following points:

1. Research German banks: Look into different banks in Germany and compare their services, fees, and accessibility. Online banking options may also be worth considering.

2. Open a bank account before moving: Some banks in Germany allow you to open an account remotely, which can help facilitate financial transactions and access to funds upon arrival.

3. Transfer money in advance: If possible, transfer some money to your new German bank account before moving. This will ensure you have funds available for immediate expenses and can avoid excessive currency exchange fees.

4. Understand transaction fees: Familiarize yourself with the fees associated with international money transfers. Consider using specialized money transfer services that may offer more competitive rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks. CurrencyFair offers rates that are up to 8x cheaper than the banks and offer a flat transfer fee of €3 or £2.50. 

5. Update payment methods: Make sure to update any recurring payments or direct debits with your new German bank account details.

By proactively managing your financial logistics, you can streamline the process of setting up a bank account and transferring money to Germany.


Embarking on the journey of moving from the UK to Germany is a thrilling adventure filled with new experiences and opportunities. However, amidst the excitement, it's essential to address the practical aspects of relocation, particularly when it comes to budgeting, managing expenses, and securing accommodation. By understanding the nuances of the German financial landscape, from navigating differences in cost of living to preparing for upfront costs and rental processes, you can embark on your new chapter with confidence and ease. Germany offers a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored. By leveraging the insights and tips provided in this article, you can navigate the transition smoothly and embrace all that Germany has to offer.


This information is correct as of 2 April 2024. This information is not to be relied on in making a decision with regard to an investment. We strongly recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment or significant financial transaction. This article is purely for general information purposes. Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash.

Moving from the UK to Germany: Budgeting and Expenses
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