What are the expenses of a family with two kids in Germany?
Hello readers. This is a post I’ve been planning to write since the beginning of the year but somehow I never got round to it.
As you might already know, I have a bit of a fetish for numbers, Excel, expense tracking and all that. You might also know that I’ve been tracking my expenses since the beginning of time. A few years ago I managed to convince Mrs W to track her expenses as well and now we have a few years’ detailed shared expenses data. Why?
- To get a good idea of where our money goes each month
- To identify and kill large expenses that have a ridiculously low cost/happiness ratio
- To learn from the past and be able to predict our future expenses
- To have our expenses under control
- To know what raising two kids costs, right from the beginning
- To produce nice Excel charts
- Out of simple curiosity
I thought we should share these numbers with you. Maybe we’ll start some interesting conversations about how low or high our expenses are compared to others. Maybe some people are planning to move to Germany and want to know what to expect.
Here you go:
14.1% Housing* (utilities, heating etc.): €4.293 (€358)
15.8% Food: €4.802 (€400)
14.0% Childcare: €4.250 (€354)
13.6% Entertainment: €4.119 (€343)
11.3% Insurance (incl. health insurance): €3.446 (€287)
06.5% Gifts: €1.981 (€165)
04.4% Transport: €1.332 (€111)
04.1% Accounting: €1.254 (€105)
04.0% Kids: €1.218 (€101)
03.4% Education: €1.035 (€86)
02.5% Healthcare: €778 (€65)
02.2% Household: €660 (€55)
01.4% Clothing: €427 (€36)
01.4% Phone, internet: €414 (€35)
00.6% Memberships: €190 (€16)
00.2% Bureaucracy: €60 (€5)
00.1% Bank charges: €31 (€3)
Misc.: €84 (€7)
Total: €30.374 per year (€2.531 per month)
Let’s add some comments about the least self-explanatory ones:
Housing: We own our apartment and have no mortgage payments.
Insurance: Mrs W was employed the first 7 months of the year and during this time her health insurance was paid automatically from her salary. These sums are not included here. Since she became self-employed at the beginning of August 2015, she has state health insurance that covers the kids as well (about €380/month). I am privately insured for about €150/month. So since August, we’ve been paying about €530/month for health insurance.
Food: Includes alcohol. Also, in 2015 we did a low-carb experiment the whole year where we replaced most carbs with high-protein foods and more fatty foods that cost more.
Gifts: Includes all sorts of gifts to family, birthday presents for friends, donations etc.
Transport: We don’t own a car. This includes bus, tram, train tickets and hitchhiking costs. Holidays are not included here.
Kids: Accounts for about 18% of total expenses. I separated “Childcare” from “Kids” simply because these are by nature two different things. “Kids” includes all the necessary expenses and everything we spend on the child directly. We’re not going to go overboard and separate the kids’ food expenses from ours. We all eat form one pot, and they don’t eat that much at this age anyway. “Childcare” is more or less optional, some would say a “luxury” expense since we theoretically could have kept the kids at home all the time. In some families grandparents take care of the kids while the parents are working.
Total cost of Kids plus Childcare for the year: €5468
Side note on children: Our first child was born in late 2012, the second in mid-2014.
Education: Mrs W sunk some money into some courses she didn’t finish. Don’t ask… Don’t ask!!! (Completely avoidable.)
Healthcare: All the money we spent on my visits to the dentist, doctor, and everything that’s not covered by my health insurance. Health insurance is included in the “Insurance” category.
Household: All the small things you need in the household: pans, washing up liquid, toilet paper and all that.
Bureaucracy: All the little fees we had to pay for administrative stuff at different offices.
Bank charges: Yes, we have some bank accounts we had to pay some fees for.
What we’ve learned
Things that we’ve learned from tracking and looking at our expenses:
- Apart from childcare, our expenses are pretty stable, even slightly lower than before we had kids. Simply because before the kids we made some (for us) expensive trips each year. Now we still travel a lot but mostly to family, which is not as expensive as a trip to South America or Thailand.
- Children don’t really cost much at all, considering that we get at least €190 family allowance per child (€4560/year). I say at least, because if your income is higher, you get more, read here. This amount covers the “Kids” expenses about four times over. We’ll write a dedicated post about that. Things are not quite as simple as they seem.
- Childcare makes all the difference. But we don’t have any family here who can take care of the kids for hours every day. We have no alternative but to pay for them to go to nursery. And that’s ok.
Talking of kids – don’t use children as an excuse for not pushing for FI! Please. We managed to become double-FI in 9 years with two kids and we’re not really special or very talented.
Feel free to ask us about our expenses! Also if you’re a blogger and you’ve written about your expenses, feel free to link to your post in the comments.
Are these expenses too low or too high compared to yours or to those of people in a similar situation? Do you track your expenses? What are yours? Do you make any changes to your behaviour based on you data?