Germany: What a Dollar Can Buy You

It’s funny how perspectives can change so quickly. Looking back at our previous What a Dollar Can Buy You posts in Asia, I remember that we were operating on a very different wavelength. I called Malaysia “downright expensive” and I whined that the Philippines could “break the bank.” Now that we’re back in Europe, I only wish we could do so much for so little money.

But I shouldn’t complain. Despite Germany’s economic success (at least that’s what Frau Merkel tells us), prices here are still relatively affordable by European standards. Many other EU countries are far more expensive. And bizarrely, Berlin is one of Germany’s most affordable destinations! Even 24 years after the fall of the wall, Deutschland’s capital is still cheaper than most other cities in the country (or the continent for that matter.) So basing ourselves in Berlin, where we can maximize our experiences while minimizing costs, makes total sense. After all, we are budgeteers at heart.

I have to admit it was a little more challenging to compile this list. Although one-dollar items or services do not abound, there are still some things you can get for 0.77 euro cents or around a buck:

  • 6 liters (1.5 gal.) of drinking water
  • 500 cotton swabs
  • 1 scoop of ice cream
  • 4 minutes on a Shiatsu massage chair at the mall
  • 1 liter of Coca Cola
  • 200 g of brie cheese
  • 13 minutes on a cell phone using a “hello mobil” sim card
  • 1 K√∂stritzer dark ale (malty and yummy)
  • 4 rolls of toilet paper
  • 1 good ol’ German pretzel
  • 2 visits to a public restroom
  • 3 Marlboros or 7 no-brand cigarettes sold illegally by Vietnamese vendors
  • 0.5 liter of gasoline (equiv. to $8 a gal.)
  • 1 Bildzeitung (tabloid newspaper)

I normally like to include a public transportation option, but one dollar doesn’t get you anywhere in most of Germany. Even in Berlin, you have to fork out at least $1.70 to even step onto any form of transport. Having said that, there’s a way to save some money – but you have to be willing to push the pedals. Deutsche Bahn operates the Call a Bike rental service all over Germany which charges 8 euro cents per minute of usage. All you need is stamina, a credit card, a cell phone and Internet access for preregistration. Too much effort? Then get ready to walk… ūüėČ

4 responses to “Germany: What a Dollar Can Buy You”

  1. avatar Sam says:

    It is indeed odd how Berlin is so relatively cheap compared to the rest of Germany and Europe, but I guess that’s part of what makes it so attractive to many people (ourselves included!)

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Sam, I think most people look for a bargain, and Berlin definitely offers many of those. To me there’s no better feeling than being able to say “this was totally worth it.” With the prices you mentioned before in South America, I imagine you don’t say that too often.

  2. avatar Larry says:

    Hey, Thomas
    Bring a couple of those Köstritzer and some pretzels to Paris!!

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Larry, I have a better idea. Why not come to Germany for a K√∂stritzer and prezel feast? Or several feasts…

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