I Tracked my Expenses for a Week: Germany Edition

Remember that one time I tracked my expenses in Kosovo for a week, and whined about how expensive it was? Well, boy do I wish I could go back to those sweet .70 cent espresso days! Inspired by Refinery 29’s Money Diaries, here’s another week of me tracking my expenses. Except this time, it’s in Germany, and my groceries aren’t subsidized by my parents anymore.

I wasn’t as methodical with tracking my expenses this time around via a separate app, but rather, I am using my receipts, pictures, card transactions and the painful memories to remember everything I spent. Let’s relive the trauma together ๐Ÿ’•

The Expense Diary ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Tuesday, March 23rd

7:20 am – This was the day I needed to travel halfway across the city for one and a half hours to get to my residence permit appointment. Of course, a stressful day like this would require some sustenance. Before making my way to the nearest train station, I stopped by the local bakery to get two small pastries as my breakfast. 3.45 Euro

8:00 am – By the time I was at the train station, I needed to get a ticket for my ride. A one way ticket costs pretty much the same no matter what distance you travel. Soon, I can get rid of this expense because I’ll have my student ticket that let’s me use public transportation for free! 3.00 Euro

11:00 am – I arrived very early to the residence permit location and had time to kill. Since nothing is open, I spend the extra time walking around the city and exploring the sights nearby. Eventually, and naturally, I grew a need to use the bathroom. This will cost you in Germany. I found a nice public bathroom and paid to use it. 1.00 Euro

12:15 pm – I went in for my residence permit application and had to pay a sweet fee. At least, like I said, it’s valid for three years. 100.00 Euro

12:30 pm – I made my way back home with another 1.5 hours of traveling. A one way ticket was bought. Gosh, I cannot wait for my student ticket. 3.00 Euro

3:00 pm ยด- For the rest of the day, I was home and ate food from groceries I had bought earlier.

Daily Total: 110.45 Euro

Wednesday, March 24th

2:30 pm – Up until that point I had breakfast at home. Then, some friends and I made our way to the city again to meet up with another friend. Another train ticket. I’m sensing a pattern of spending here. 3 Euro

3:00 pm – In the city, we walked around doing some touristy things. We grew a bit thirsty, and were looking to sit outside for some sun. We got a beer each and another bottle of water from a probably overpriced tourist trap corner shop in the city center. 4.50 Euro

4:30 pm – Before making our way back, we decided we’d get something to eat as well. We stopped for our first bratwurst as students. Without complementary fries, because those were too expensive. 3.50 Euro

5:00 pm – Another trip back, another 3.00 Euro train ticket. 3.00 Euro

6:00 pm – On the way back, I stopped at the grocery store to get a few items that I could stick in my bag (no way I was getting more groceries without my reusable bag with me; that would mean paying for a plastic bag and we can’t have that in this economy). I got some phone credit for the next two months, two containers of pita bread to use as a vehicle for my protein intake, and five containers of sardines to keep in my pantry in case things spontaneously lock down. 29.92 Euro

Daily Total: 43.92 Euro

Thursday, March 25th

3:00 pm – Disgruntled by my spending so far, I had most of my meals at home with leftover groceries. By midday, I felt in a bit of a slump. I went outside to a park nearby with a friend and got a coffee and cake to go. 4.30 Euro

Daily Total: 4.30 Euro

Friday, March 26th

12:00 pm – I make my way to Templehof via train to meet up with a friend for lunch. By know you know, one train ride = 3 Euro. 3.00 Euro

12:30 pm – We grab lunch with my friend at this Korean BBQ place. We go for the cost-effective meal menu, where we get both a main dish and drink at a reduced price. Or so I think. 9.00 Euro

2:00 pm – You best believe I have to make my way back. Another train ticket. 3.00 Euro

4:00 pm – Once back, we meet up with more friends for a walk by a park and I grab another coffee to go. I think I spend way too much on coffee actually. 2.40 Euro

Daily Total: 17.40 Euro

Saturday, March 27th

10:00 am – I go to the city with friends again. Okay, this was a fun week to pick I guess, as I seem to have gone downtown a lot. Another one-way ticket. 3.00 Euro

12:00 pm – We walk around the city, battling sun and rain. We grow a little hungry and decide to go for a dรผrรผm, or as we like to say in Albanian, dรถner. 6.00 Euro

2:00 pm – We make our way home. You know the drill. 3.00 Euro

5:00 pm – Dinner at home, duh, because I cannot be spending like this. I get my student ticket in the mail, finally and daydream about a life without these pesky 3 Euro spendings.

8:00 pm – We meet up at a friends for a fun Saturday night in of listening to music and chatting. Free

Daily Total: 12.00 Euro

Sunday, March 28

1:00 pm – We spend all day yesterday with program friends and a program guide at a new park. While it’s a bit far away, we decide against taking any form of public transportation, because we’re over the fees, and just walk for some 30 minutes to get there. There, we have a fun day of free fun visiting, hiking and understanding our upcoming study program.

4:00 pm – On our way back, we decide to get take out to enjoy outside as well. We stop by this Asian place we haven’t tried before. 8.50 Euro

Daily Total: 8.50 Euro

Monday, March 29th

12:00 pm – I have breakfast at home, but go for a coffee outside because I feel like I need it. Maybe I did, but not after writing up this blog post and recounting all my coffee expenses. Never drinking that stuff again, you best believe me. 2.40 Euro

7:30 pm – We meet with a bunch of new friends in a park and we agree we cannot show up empty handed. Socializing comes at a price, haha. I grab some beers for us. 4.29 Euro

Daily Total: 6.69 Euro

The Insights ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿ“Š๐Ÿง 

I spent a total of 203.26 Euro during the week (For comparison, the week I tracked my Expenses in Kosovo, I spent 133.02 Euro, approximately 35% less). If we substract my one-time residence permit fee expense of 100 Euro, we get to a weekly total of 103.26 Euro. Given that there are four weeks in a month, I have a feeling that’s still hella expensive.

Let’s break it down!

  1. I spent 20% of my expenses on eating and drinking out (41.62 Euro). In Kosovo, I only spent 10%. This included 30.45 Euro’s worth of eating out and another 11.2 Euro’s worth of coffees, cakes and water bottles. Yikes. Socializing hurts! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ˜•
  2. I spent 15% of my expenses on getting groceries (29.92 Euro). This is actually also surprisingly steep considering I spent most of my days eating out anyways. Guess I low key need to maybe like stop eating. Jokes aside – next month’s goal will be to limit eating out to once a week and eat more at home. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ›’
  3. Four of the seven days, I went to the city, which meant I spent 12% of my expenses on public transportation (24.00 Euro). This expense will just get eliminated in the following weeks when – like I said – I’ll get my semester ticket. ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿ’˜
  4. Like in Kosovo, 50% of my week’s expenses were miscellaneous one-time expenses that might not recur (100.00 Euro for the three-year residence permit). However, if life has taught me anything, it’s that unexpected miscellaneous expenses sort of tend to happen all the time. I mean I’ve only done this expense tracking experiment twice in my life, and 50% miscellaneous expenses happened both times. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ’”

Weekly Total: 203.26 Euro

Weekly Total without Residence Permit and Transportation Costs: 79.26 Euro

What do we think? I think I have quite some work to do, but I also do recognize that that particular week was quite jam packed with social activities. In the end, I had a lot lot lot of fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe that’s worth the occasional week of eating out too much and grabbing too much coffee. One thing’s for sure, I miss Prishtina’s coffee. โ˜•๐Ÿ’–

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