London and Berlin. Both cities in Europe, both with a rich history and heritage, but when it comes to the cost of living, they’re a million miles apart.
London is renowned for being one of the most expensive places in the world to live, and when we compare it with Berlin, this becomes even more obvious.
So let’s take an in-depth look at what you can expect to have to pay to live in either city.
Both renting and purchasing accommodations in London are much more expensive than in Berlin. For example, you’ll pay around 72% more in London than in its German counterpart to rent an apartment – either in the city centre or on the outskirts.
When it comes to purchasing property, this divide extends even more – to around 80%-84%.
Once you’ve got somewhere to live, then you need to be able to afford to run your house. Utilities, such as heating, electricity and water, are dearer in Germany than they are in the UK – by around 3%.
In London, you can ensure that you’re always paying the lowest price for your utility bills by comparing alternative providers on an independent comparison website – such as Uswitch.
It’s important to keep a regular eye on these bills, as the utility market is a cutthroat one. There are always new deals coming out, meaning that if you swap providers, you will save money.
However, London’s public transport is around 57% dearer than Berlin’s. Taxis are also cheaper in Germany, by around 30%. Taxi costs can be made cheaper in both cities by using the app, Uber. With Uber, you can book and pay for your ride in advance – and book it directly from your mobile phone.
In most cases, food shopping is cheaper in the German city – with a few (sometimes odd), exceptions. Eggs are about 46% cheaper in Berlin, as is beef (13%), bottled water (70%) and most fruits and vegetables (from 15%-25%).
However, bread is around 5% more expensive than London, and cheese around 6% more. Bananas will also hit your pocket harder, by around 15%.
London historically scores badly in this section when being compared with many other cities of the world, and there is no exception when it comes to comparing restaurant prices with those of Berlin.
Expect to pay between 45%-56% more in the London capital. If you love McDonalds, then the prices are pretty similar in both places. But you’ll pay a lot more for your daily cappuccino or latte – around 35% more in London.
A gym membership is way more expensive in London than Berlin. You’ll pay around 56% higher prices in the UK capital city. However, this is assuming that you want to join one of the better known chains, such as LA Fitness or Virgin Active.
You can bring the costs down to a more affordable level by joining one of the many low cost gyms that are springing up around the capital.
They keep costs down by having automated entry instead of reception staff (you enter using a swipe card), and having far less people on duty. This, of course, means that there’s never really anyone to ask advice from – but if this isn’t what you need from a gym, then it’s worth it for the lower membership fees. Such gyms include Easy Gym and The Gym Group.
If you like going to the movies, then you’re going to have to pay a whopping 41% more for a Hollywood release in London than you would in Berlin.
You’ll also pay more for your mobile phone tariffs, with prepaid SIM phones coming in at approximately 51% more expensive in London. Home Internet, an area that usually scores high in London, is beaten into the ground when it comes to the cost in Berlin, where it’s around 23% cheaper.
If you enjoy going to see a show, then in the theatre capital of the world that is London, you’re going to have to pay more – 52% more, to be precise.
But here’s a tip: if you want to see a show in London, and don’t really mind what you want to see, head down to the TKTS ticket booth in Leicester Square the morning of your intended visit to the theatre. Spare tickets go on sale at 10:00, and you can grab yourself a real bargain – up to 50% off the face value.
It’s not just tickets for the lesser-known shows that can be picked up here. Shows such as Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are all big ticket shows that can be picked up for a song. Be sure to get there early, because such tickets sell out fast.
One thing that also has to be taken into account when looking at the cost of living is the average wage.
At last, London tops the list. The average disposable monthly salary (in other words, what’s left of your wages after you’ve paid taxes), is around 33% higher in London than in Berlin.
So, although London is a more expensive city to live in, you’ll have more money to pay the bills anyway. Once you take rent or property purchase costs out of the equation, then London is still more expensive, but with the average wage being that much higher, it becomes a little easier to live with.