We spoke to a 22-year-old student living in Berlin and asked her about her income and expenses. At the end of the month her account is empty.
I'm 22 and studying special education in Berlin. Everyday life is pretty busy right now: university in the morning, work in the afternoon, and sometimes babysitting in the evening. I do all this to have enough money to support my lifestyle. Until a few months ago I worked in retail, but since I quit that job it hasn't always been easy for me to stay out of my overdraft.”
It fluctuates, but when things are going well I earn €1,000 or €1,200 a month. With babysitting I get about €300 a month — depending on how often the families need me. I receive that in cash and either spend it immediately, or save it.
Fortunately, my parents support me financially and transfer €500 to me each month. Also, by doing odd jobs at the vaccination centre, I can often earn an extra €400.
My rent is €370 per month for a studio apartment. Then I pay €38 a month for wifi, €24 for electricity, and about €20 for gas. All in all that’s about €450.
I'm a fan of subscriptions! Spotify, €9. Joyn, €7. TV Now, €5. Netflix, €8. Plus €50 a month for my phone contract. After all of these costs, I have about €670 to live on.
Frozen pizza isn’t really my thing!
Every Friday I go shopping for healthy food and spend around €25-30. I always shop at Rewe or Lidl. I can easily spend about €100 euros on food — my problem: I love eating out. The last few months I had to be really frugal, but still I spent about €130 on eating out. I just can’t resist!
Getting from A to B
My student travel card costs €189 and is covered by my university fees. Fortunately, my family pays for those, which I'm very grateful about! I use city scooters almost every day, and an average ride costs me about €1.50. So in total, I spend about €45 a month just cruising around.
A few months ago, a friend of mine recommended that I open a savings account. I put in €1,000 at the start, and now put in €50 each month. My goal: for interest to slowly increase the amount. My mistake: I had to withdraw the whole lot after I miscalculated some travel expenses. But in the long-term I do want to start saving again.
I don't save up for material things — but I’m always thinking about my next trip. The price always varies, but for a 3-week trip to the Canary Islands I plan on spending about €1,000. The other day I borrowed €200 from my parents to go on holiday to Lisbon. I’m going to pay them back once I start earning money with my next job.
Going out partying in Berlin is very expensive — you usually have to pay €10-25 to get into a club. That’s why I only go clubbing if I can skip the entrance fee by being on the guest list.
When I'm at a club I like to drink a gin and tonic (or 3!), they cost between €7 - €10. I always treat myself to an Uber home, which is about €20, but I often share that with my boyfriend if we go home together.
I spend €100 at the hairdresser once every six months, and I always schedule the appointment for just after I get paid. I also spend about €40 a month on skin creams, nail polish, and so on — but lately I've been going to the drugstore instead of buying expensive brands.
How much do you have left over at the end of the month?
Zero euros! It’s all gone! I don't think that’s so bad, but the other day I slipped into the red. I’d like to avoid that happening again. It's really not a nice feeling always worrying if I'll have enough money at the end of the month.
To keep track of my finances, I try to write everything down in my notes app — but unfortunately it gets too confusing. At some point I told my friends about my experience of being overdrawn — it turned out everyone is struggling with the same thing, so now we try to support each other more.