We reckon a single person can have a good lifestyle on an after-tax budget of €1000 per month in Leipzig. This would be enough to rent a room in a furnished flat with a flatmate, pay for health insurance, ride a bicycle with occasional trams and buses, eat healthily, go to the gym, and still have money left to entertain oneself, travel, and save a little for emergencies. For €100-150 more per month you could do the same but with your own private rented flat (unfurnished, German-style).
The table below shows an example breakdown of this hypothetical €12,000 per annum lifestyle. We assume a 65m2 two-bedroom apartment at kaltmiete rate of €5.00/m2. See our Area Guide to find out the cheaper areas for rent (Hint: Zentrum-Ost, Reudnitz, Connewitz and Plagwitz). Food is budgeted at a little over €55 per week.
This would be a frugal but not an ascetic existence in Leipzig. Remember there’s loads of parks, lakes and public spaces and events that are free. Leipzig is a comfortable city. Going out for a drink or something to eat can be very reasonable. Besides you’ll fit in just fine living on the cheap since many live on not much more than this. And Leipzigers are a no nonsense bunch who aren’t impressed by bling or living a yuppy lifestyle.
But the greater point to be made here is how cheap Leipzig can be. We cannot think of another large city in Europe with as pleasant a lifestyle for such a low cost. A major factor is the low cost of accommodation. Consider that you’d pay almost €1000 per month just to share a tiny flat in London or Amsterdam. But not only is accommodation cheap in Leipzig, it is generally of very good quality.
Note 1: This assumes GKV health insurance at 7% of gross €14,100 per annum.
Note 2: Based on €5.00/m2 for 65m2 flat split evenly by two tenants. Utilities/internet estimated at €1.70/m2.
Note: We have ignored set-up costs such as personal furnishings, deposits, initial arrival costs in Leipzig etc.
There’s a very down-to-earth vibe in Leipzig. You’ll notice many good second-hand clothes and furniture shops, cheap markets, and good value cafes and restaurants. Prices at out of town places like the Löwencenter will be cheaper than the supermarkets in central areas. Especially if you buy in bulk.
Also markets and fairs are clever ways to stretch your budget. The Saturday market at the Sportforum in Zentrum-West (Sportforum stop, trams 3, 7, 8, 13, 15) is particularly notable for low-priced farm produce, meats, household items, and clothing. You can stock up here on vegetables for half the price of your local Konsum supermarket. The occasional Westpaket flea market in Plagwitz is also a fantastic place for low-priced furniture, home items, clothes, and just about anything else you can think of.
[page content last updated June 2013]