Changes for consumers: What will be more expensive in 2024 - and where there is more money

The year 2023 is coming to a politically turbulent end.

Changes for consumers: What will be more expensive in 2024 - and where there is more money

The year 2023 is coming to a politically turbulent end. Because of the budget crisis, the federal government decided on numerous last-minute changes that will affect consumers' wallets in 2024. There are also a few points that have been clear for a long time. What will be more expensive in the new year? How are private households relieved? And who gets more money? Important changes at a glance.

The much-discussed citizen's benefit will increase on January 1, 2024. On average, the more than five million recipients receive around twelve percent more per month. The standard rate for a single person increases from 502 to 563 euros. For couples, each partner will receive 506 euros (previously 451 euros), children and young people will receive between 357 and 471 euros, depending on their age. Accommodation and heating costs are also covered.

The statutory minimum wage will rise slightly from 12 to 12.41 euros an hour on January 1st (and a year later to 12.82 euros). The mini-job limit will therefore rise from 520 to 538 euros (and in 2025 to 556 euros). Many industry-specific minimum wages that are above this will also rise in the new year: From January, roofers, chimney sweeps, electricians, painters and varnishers as well as building cleaners will get a little more money. Temporary workers must receive at least 13.50 euros (previously 13 euros). In May there will also be a salary increase for employees in geriatric care: nursing staff will then earn at least 19.50 euros (previously 18.25 euros), qualified nursing assistants will earn 16.50 euros (instead of 15.25 euros) and simple nursing assistants will earn 15.50 euros ( previously 14.50 euros) per hour.

The minimum salary for trainees whose training begins in 2024 is also increasing: at least 649 euros are paid per month in the first year of training. In the second it is 766 euros, in the third it is 876 euros and in the fourth it is 909 euros. Some industry-specific higher minimum salaries are also increasing: building cleaners will now receive 900 euros in the first year of training (previously 875 euros), painters and varnishers will receive 800 euros (instead of 770 euros).

Income tax relief will ensure that more net gross wages remain in 2024. The basic allowance, up to which no income tax is due, should increase from 10,908 euros to 11,604 or even 11,784. The child allowance increases from 3,012 to 3,192 euros. The basic values ​​from which a higher tax rate is due also shift throughout the entire tax rate. You can read here what this means mathematically for the individual.

Increasing contribution assessment limits mean that high earners have to pay more into statutory pension and unemployment insurance as well as health and nursing care insurance. In addition, many health insurance companies increase the additional contribution for their insured persons - on average from 1.6 to 1.7 percent. Private health insurance companies increase contributions by an average of around seven percent.

Nursing care insurance became more expensive in 2023, but the nursing care fund will increase benefits in 2024. The care allowance for home care increases by five percent, and nursing home residents also receive higher subsidies.

In the coming year, network usage fees will rise, which, depending on the contract, can make up a fifth or a quarter of the electricity price for consumers. The federal government originally wanted to cover this with billions, but the subsidy was canceled as a result of budget cuts. According to Verivox calculations, a model household of four will therefore pay around 100 euros more for network usage fees in 2024 than in 2023. The electricity price brake will now end at the turn of the year (and not at the end of March as originally planned). However, this only causes additional costs for customers with very expensive contracts, as many tariffs are already below the price cap.

As part of its savings efforts, the federal government is increasing the CO2 price in the new year more than originally planned. This makes heating with fossil fuels such as oil and gas more expensive. In addition, the gas price brake will be abolished on January 1st and from March 19 percent VAT will be due again instead of seven percent. According to Check24, a model household with four people pays around 200 euros more per year as a result of these changes. How expensive heating will ultimately be depends largely on how prices develop on the gas market.

As with heating, the same applies to refueling: the rising CO2 price means higher government taxes. From January 1, 2024, according to ADAC estimates, drivers will have to pay 4.3 cents more per liter of petrol at the pump and 4.7 cents more for diesel. How high the final price the consumer will pay will continue to depend largely on the development of oil prices.

Air travel is likely to become more expensive in 2024 because the federal government is increasing the ticket tax in the short term. All passenger aircraft that take off from German airports are affected. However, a previously considered kerosene tax for domestic air traffic is off the table again. Depending on the flight destination, the ticket tax is currently between 12.73 and 58.06 euros - an increase of around 50 percent is planned.

At the turn of the year, the VAT relief for the catering industry that was introduced during the Corona crisis will expire. Instead of seven percent VAT, the full 19 percent is now due again. If the restaurateurs pass on the increase, the restaurant visit will become correspondingly more expensive.

In the future, significantly more people will be able to benefit from the employee savings allowance. Anyone who has concluded a savings plan with capital-forming benefits with their employer can apply for the state allowance from 2024 if they earn up to 40,000 euros in taxable income; for couples it is 80,000 euros. According to the Association of Private Building Societies, the higher income limits will increase the number of eligible people from eight to almost 22 million people.

The circle of those receiving parental allowance is restricted. For children born from April onwards, it will only be paid to couples who have a taxable annual income of no more than 200,000 euros. The limit is currently 300,000 euros (from April 2025 it will drop again to 175,000 euros). For single parents, the income limit will drop from 250,000 to 150,000 euros in April 2024.

Sources: Federal Government / Consumer Advice Center / DPA / Verivox / Check24 / ADAC