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EXPLAINED: The everyday products getting more expensive in Germany

Inflation is rising faster in Germany than at any point since 1993. We explain what that means for the price of certain items.

A woman takes butter off a shelf in a German supermarket.
A woman takes butter off a shelf in a German supermarket. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Oliver Berg

Germany’s Federal Statistics Office announced last week that average inflation went up 3.1 percent in 2021 – the highest increase since 1993. And if we look at December 2021 compared to December 2020, there’s been an even sharper spike of 5.3 percent.

That’s a lot higher than the European Central Bank’s inflation target of around 2 percent, although experts say consumer prices should level out again. But what does it all mean for what you might pay at the grocery store, for your energy bills, or for new furniture and electronics?

READ ALSO: Inflation in Germany hits highest rate since 1992

A new analysis by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) sheds some light on how prices have changed in recent years. 

To begin with, the Destatis agency uses a hypothetical “basket” of goods based on what the average German household purchases, and compares how the prices of all those items put together change over time to come up with its figure.

That means if you don’t drive your own car, for example, you won’t experience the same inflation yourself that another household in Germany might, since Destatis includes petrol prices in its inflation calculation.

You can use the Destatis Personal Inflation Calculator yourself to see exactly how much more you can expect to pay. Below are a few general highlights from the price index.

Supermarket bills see big increases

Using 2015 as a base, certain grocery products saw particularly clear increases when individual measurements were last taken at the end of November 2021.

Butter tops the bunch with a 57.1 percent spike in price in the last six years. Whole milk, sliced cheese, and fresh bread rolls also saw increases – at 26.5 percent, 12.1 percent, and 15.2 percent respectively.

READ ALSO: Why everything is suddenly getting so expensive in Germany

A shopper holds a trolley at a Berlin supermarket.
A shopper holds a trolley at a Berlin supermarket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Getting around costs more

Those who primarily or exclusively use public transport in Germany are getting hit considerably less with price increases than those who have to fill up their own vehicles regularly.

But fuel costs have hit public transport riders as well, who are paying just over 13 percent more now than they were in 2015.

Supergrade petrol has seen a 26 percent increase though, and diesel has spiked by 35 percent.

Heating and powering your home

The most volatile price fluctuations recently are in the price of heating oil. After decreasing by over 30 percent in 2020 relative to 2015 prices, it is now 47 percent more costly to heat your home in Germany now than it was six years ago. Electricity is also up about 12 percent.

READ ALSO: Households in Germany to get some relief on electricity bills

A radiator in a German home.
The cost of energy bills have skyrocketed in recent months. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez

Recreation and eating out

Unsurprisingly, going out for either a drink or a bite to eat has also gone up in price, but fairly uniformly across the board.

Whether getting a drink at a bar, a kebab, a Fischbrötchen or Currywurst after a late night out, or enjoying sit-down meal at a restaurant – prices for all these forms of going out have gone up by roughly the same amount – 17-19 percent – compared to 2015 rates.

Heading out to see a movie costs about 11 percent more than it did six years ago.

A person holds Fischbrötchen in Schleswig-Holstein.
A person holds Fischbrötchen in Schleswig-Holstein. Eating out costs more in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Annette Frühauf

Electronics – where the savings are

The one notable exception to the upward trend in German consumer prices is in electronics, which are considerably more affordable now than they were in 2015.

A new mobile phone without a contract is 28 percent less expensive, while a new television set has dropped in price by a third.

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For members


€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

Germany's €9 monthly transport ticket is coming. Here's everything you should know about the deal that will allow you to to travel the country for next to nothing this summer.

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany's cheap travel deal

What’s all this about cheap transport?

Germany is about to launch a mega cheap transport ticket – and a lot of people are getting very excited about it.

The “€9 for 90” ticket is a monthly travel card that people can buy for just €9 per month over a three-month period. It’s a fraction of the price of a normal monthly travel card and – even more incredibly – can be used anywhere in the country on local and regional transport. 

The deal was initially announced back in April as part of an energy relief package put together by the government. And despite some anger from state leaders over funding for the scheme, the ticket cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat on Friday.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

So far, the €9 ticket has received a lot of publicity and attention. That’s probably because it’s one of the more fun measures to combat the energy crisis – one that doesn’t involve complicated claims and write-offs in your tax return.

Instead, the government is hoping that the new ticket will cut monthly transport costs for households and encourage people to use more eco-friendly transport options. With fuel prices spiralling, it’s a great time to leave the car at home and travel around for next to nothing, while doing your bit for the environment. 

Sounds great. Can everyone buy it?

Yes! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist on a weekend trip from Austria, a part-time Germany resident or Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself: everyone will be able to purchase the €9 ticket. (We imagine Olaf may already have his own transport, though.) 

It will, however, have your name on it, so it can’t be pooled between friends (as tempting as an even cheaper travel deal would be). 

READ ALSO: What tourists in Germany need to know about the €9 public transport ticket

Busy train in Stuttgart

People board a busy train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

When will it be available?

It’s currently available in a handful of cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Freiburg – but everyone else will be able to purchase it from May 23rd onwards. 

The deal itself will be a summer travel offer. That means the first monthly ticket will be valid from June 1st and the last monthly ticket will expire on August 31st. Each of the tickets will be valid for the full calendar month so you won’t be able to mix and match with existing tickets.

For example, if you’ve already bought a ticket that’s expiring in mid-June, you wouldn’t then be able to buy a €9 ticket running from the middle of June to the middle of August.

Instead, you would require two €9 tickets  for June and July – though you can get a refund for the part of the prior ticket you didn’t end up using.

Where can I get hold of it?

The ticket will be available via Deutsche Bahn’s DB Navigator app, on the DB website, at in-station terminals and at ticket desks and offices.

Regional transport operators are likely to have their own ticket purchasing options as well – most likely online, but in some cases also at ticket machines and in-station offices. 

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest.

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

What types of public transport can I use it on?

The ticket is valid throughout Germany, but only on regional and local transport.

That means you can use it on all local trains like the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, as well as on trams and buses. You can also travel on the Regionalverkehr (regional trains) across Germany. 

You can’t use the ticket for private services like Flixbus and Flixtrain or on other long-distance rail services like IC, EC and ICE trains. If you’re travelling around your state and aren’t sure if the ticket will be valid, check if the train you’re taking has an ‘RE’ in the name. That’s the shorthand for regional trains.

It probably goes without saying, but taxi services won’t be included in the price. And, yes, you will still need to pay for those e-scooters as well. 

Can I use it to travel first class?

If you’re hoping for a month of budget transport but also want to be treated like royalty whilst on board, we may have to disappoint you. The €9 ticket can only be used in second-class carriages.

This is largely because there’s likely to be huge demand for the budget offer – so there could be scuffles for first-class seats with that extra bit of legroom. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

I’ve already got an Abo. What can I do?

This has been a big concern for the folk who have already opted to pay full price for their public transport. (What fools they were…) 

Luckily, this group of keen transport users won’t miss out either. According to the DB website, people who’ve already shelled out on a monthly or annual ticket will be contacted by their local transport provider and informed about how they can get a refund.

If you’ve got a standing order set up, the transport operator will likely just debit the €9 from your account instead of the usual amount. Otherwise, you may get sent a refund via direct debit. 

Your subscription ticket will be valid for local public transport throughout Germany during the three month offer period – not just in your area.

Will students also benefit from the ticket?

Absolutely – though this is one area where things may be a little less well-organised. If you’re a student with a semester ticket, you will be entitled to a refund of the extra amount you paid, which will likely be handled by your university. 

One thing that seems a little unclear is whether the semester ticket will suddenly be valid outside of your local region, just like the €9 ticket is. We assume it will, but we’ll try to clarify this with DB and other service providers in the coming weeks. 

Can I take my bike on board?

Unfortunately, bikes aren’t included in the offer – and this seems like a deliberate choice. 

DB is recommending that people leave their bikes at home during the three months that the €9 ticket is on offer. This is because trains are likely to be extremely busy and they can’t guarantee that they’ll have room for everyone, let alone a hundred or so bikes. Instead, you can usually hire a bike at your destination.

However, if you’ve already got a subscription that allows you to take your bike with you (i.e. a student semester ticket or another type of Abo), you’ll still be able to do so. 

What about my dog? 

You will unfortunately not be able to purchase a €9 ticket in the name of Rover T. Dog (well, you could try, but it probably won’t work). However, the usual rules will apply to travelling with a furry friend. 

In some places, you may need to buy an extra dog ticket for Rover, while in others, he’ll be able to accompany you free-of-charge. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits from Germany’s €9 public transport ticket offer?

A woman carries her dog through a Berlin train station

A woman carries her onesie-clad dog in a Berlin train station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Do children need to pay for a ticket? 

Children under six can travel for free on public transport, while children over the age of six will need their own €9 ticket. 

What about seat reservations? 

Transport operators are trying to keep things as flexible as possible to cope with demand over summer, so you unfortunately won’t be able to use the ticket to reserve a seat in advance.

Won’t public transport be rammed? 

At the moment, nobody really knows. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there could be as many as 30 million public transport users per month over summer – but this is only a rough estimate.

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

One way around this is to try and travel on weekdays and off-peak services where possible and (as mentioned) to hire bikes rather than bringing them in the train.

It could also be helpful to familiarise yourself with different transport connections and routes in your area. 

The other thing that could help ease the crush on public transport is the fact that the government is also planning to cut taxes on fuel in tandem with the €9 ticket. That means that, for three months over summer, drivers will be able to get cheaper petrol and diesel – so some may indeed decide to take the car after all.

The ticket ends at the end of August. What happens next? 

Once again, it’s hard to say. Critics of the €9 ticket say that the scheme will leave gaping holes in transport budgets and could ultimately lead to ticket prices going up in autumn.

On the other hand, proponents of the offer believe that it could have the effect of luring people back to public transport after the Covid crisis. That would mean that more people would be buying subscriptions after summer and using local buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for transport budgets in the long-run. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket