With the acquisition of the general university entrance qualification a new phase of life begins for many young people, which results in serious upheavals and promises freedom. At the same time, more freedom also means more responsibility, because now it is a matter of mastering your life independently, especially with a view to financing your own livelihood.
Enrolling in a course of study often means leaving your family home for the first time, the warm nest in which you have grown up protected up to there. Now it is time to enjoy independence and to master the tasks of life on your own as well as possible and to make important personal decisions.
The choice of how to live during your studies already makes a significant contribution to the standard of living you can enjoy during your studies. Do you move to your own apartment or better to a cheaper flat share? How do you finance your accommodation during your studies?
These are important decisions to be made at the beginning of a course of study, not least because financial demands can also have a major negative impact on the success of your studies. In order to be able to cope well with the demands of life and to avoid having to burden themselves financially, everyone should consider basic information as well as individual factors. The following article provides useful information about financing options for affordable housing during your studies.
Funding options for a student apartment
German state funding
German state funding is still the easiest and most attractive way to finance your student life. But not everyone gets German state funding. The first step should therefore be to clarify whether you are eligible for a student grant.
Anyone who wants to clarify the optimal financing option for their studies should go to the German state funding office or the student at the university location at the beginning of their studies and seek advice free of charge. With a first application, the German state funding office determines whether you are entitled to benefits. It is not possible to generalize whether you are entitled, because many individual factors are taken into account.
However, the main factors are the income of the parents and their own investments or real estate. So if you basically have too much money, you are not entitled to benefits. The current maximum rate (2018) is 735 euros. If the parents earn too much, they are subject to maintenance. The parents would otherwise have to provide at least compensation because they are legally obliged to support their adult children up to their professional qualification, i.e. until they graduate in the standard period of study.
Child benefit, loan, housing benefit
You are also entitled to child benefit until the minimum rate is reached. For this reason, an apartment or study can always be financed.
In addition to these sources of finance, a part-time job, housing benefit and, if necessary, a loan or credit can also help to finance your studies. With regard to loans, the German Student Union always offers advice, so that financing options can always be shown, even in the case of hardship.
A part-time job also appears inevitable with a student grant, as students need an average of 918 euros per month for their livelihood, according to the 21st Social Survey of the German Student Union. The almost 700 euros therefore only cover basic care and must be supplemented. The amount of a good 900 euros per month should therefore be secured by everyone in advance in order to be able to easily dispose of his student life.
As a young person, you would have to buy at least 200 euros per month for a part-time job, which is quite possible within the scope of student jobs.
For this, it is especially advisable to find out about the organization of the study before you start studying. If, for example, a course of study provides for many compulsory courses, a lot of attendance and few opportunities for e-learning, one is not very flexible and cannot carry out certain jobs and thus cover one’s livelihood.
All universities also have jobs in the university. Working as a student assistant at the university makes it particularly possible to work while studying because they are adapted to the student conditions and generally allow more flexibility than normal part-time jobs. The combination of job and study also offers the opportunity to make contacts.
The decisive choice of the type of living – flat share or own apartment?
The hidden costs
Basically, it can be said that you can save a lot in a shared apartment, since the additional costs (e.g. garbage taxes, etc.) are lower than in your own apartment, even if the rents for a room in a shared apartment and one do not have to differentiate price in own apartment. Here it is also necessary to take into account the creeping costs or additional costs, such as Internet access, the GEZ fees, which you would only have to pay once per household, or the chimney sweep.
Because you can share these hidden, not immediately visible costs in a shared apartment, you can save a lot of money in total in a shared apartment. This also applies to the purchase of new furniture for the common rooms. If you move into an existing flat share, for example, you will often not even have to pay for the purchase of new rooms for the common areas, such as a sofa for the living room or the purchase of a kitchen, stove or washing machine, which you can not do without can.
Saving on food
Buying groceries for basic supplies is cheaper for several, because in a single household you have to throw away food more often or use smaller packages, which are usually more expensive. Cooking together can therefore not only build and maintain relationships, but you can also save a lot of money, since basic ingredients, sugar, eggs and milk are only bought once.
In addition, you should often treat yourself to the canteen meal, which is particularly inexpensive. At first glance, this seems banal. Ultimately, however, these low costs add up, resulting in long-term high costs that could be saved by the right lifestyle without losing quality of life. Living together also allows further savings.
In addition to electronic devices such as the washing machine, dishwasher or coffee machine, vehicles such as bicycles or automobiles can also be shared. In addition to the vehicle price for the purchase, there are also savings with regard to the insurance, because this also only has to be paid once.
Savings through cheap furniture
As an alternative or in addition to the advantages already mentioned, which promises to live in a shared apartment, a lot of money can also be saved with a view to the furniture, because the costs can be shared when purchasing or the furniture already belongs to the inventory.
Furniture can also be purchased very cheaply. Used furniture can not only be found in bulky waste, but in every city there are also second-hand furniture suppliers, where you can often get real eye – catchers cheaply.
Alternative furnished room
If you do not want to spend any inventory costs, you can simply rent an already furnished room, for example in a student dormitory. In this way, considerable acquisition costs can be completely saved.
However, you should always weigh up, especially with regard to electronic devices, whether the takeover is worthwhile in terms of energy efficiency because old devices can often result in higher costs. In the long term, the investment in a new washing machine could be profitable.
Giving away furniture
A look at the local classified ads can also be a way to get furniture easily and cheaply. It is not uncommon to find a good deed here, with which other people want to give away furniture that is still well preserved, but that is no longer needed by them.
Furthermore, there is a bulletin board in every faculty in the universities, on which, in addition to available part-time jobs, it is not uncommon for furniture to be offered at reasonable prices. A visit to the bulletin board is usually worthwhile.
Maximum cost of an apartment
So if you want to save money, you should consider a shared apartment or at least make sure that the rental costs do not cost more than a third of the available money. As a guideline, realistic 230 euros can be viewed for a basic rent, even if the rental prices can vary considerably depending on the city and region. This already indicates that when choosing a place of study, one should consider whether an attractive city is worth additional costs.
The basic rent should not exceed 300 euros in any case, especially not if a part-time job is unsafe. It is particularly cheap to live in student dormitories. Here you are on the safe side that the costs incurred must also be met.
What about the dormitory?
These apartments are usually an attractive mixture of shared flat and own estate, since only some rooms are shared, but depending on your preferences, you could also escape the shared flat life and enjoy your privacy.
There is also the advantage that these are usually centrally located at the university and that is why you have a short walk to university events.
Student housing agency
In every major German city there are also housing agencies that specialize in students. Depending on your preferences, whether a flat share or your own apartment, suitable offers in the city that can be financed by students and fit the personal life situation are found and conveyed here. You can often find them near a city’s main train stations.
Most students go to universities that are in big cities and not exactly in the neighboring town. Since a move is then necessary, you often want to live directly at the university, because this way you can save a lot of time.
However, if you are willing to take a little more driving time here, you can live cheaper on average, because centrally located apartments are usually more expensive. For this reason, it makes sense to check the residential market of neighboring towns from private providers. Here, the shared apartments are even cheaper.
More savings options
Students usually become real survivors and bargain hunters throughout their lives. You should know all the savings options at the start of your studies and make full use of the advantages of student status.
Discounts for students
With the student ID you can get many discounts. This applies not only to mobile phone tariffs, but also to current account tariffs. For example, many banks not only offer completely free current accounts that should be used.
In addition, you should look for cheap student rates. These are significantly cheaper than the usual offers. This measure should be taken especially for contracts like the cell phone contract, if these are indispensable. Almost all mobile phone providers today offer special tariffs, whereby the contract is usually concluded very easily by simply submitting a student certificate.
It may be that you have to resubmit your certificate of study every semester to keep the student tariff.
The same applies to tablets and a landline connection. With tablet and landline tariffs, you can also play off being a student and save a lot of money.
Discounted subscriptions and fees
If you like to educate yourself or read certain magazines and want to subscribe to them, you should find out about the cheaper subscription prices of the respective provider here and again make it clear that you are a student.
As a subscriber to German state funding, you can also be completely exempt from broadcasting fees (GEZ). In any case, you should remain persistent and demand your rights. When concluding contracts or buying equipment, you should always take the initiative yourself and ask for discounts that often exist because providers are interested in attracting people with a long-term future. However, you should make sure that you do not enter into any binding contracts.
Discounts on admission prices
But above all for leisure activities, you should make your student status clear. A visit to the cinema, a stay in a swimming pool or concert tickets can be much cheaper. There are also often offers for students in the catering trade. It is therefore worth asking.
Another tip for saving with a view of the apartment is to temporarily rent the rooms when they are free, for example to trade fair visitors during the semester break. So you take your rent back and live for free. Overall, with the right knowledge and a little initiative, you can live cheaply and live well during your studies.