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Living in Switzerland is expensive. There is no point denying that. However, it is not as expensive as many people think. There are many ways to save money monthly on your budget in Switzerland.
People pay too much each month for most of their bills in Switzerland. It is because many people do not know they can pay less. Many assume they must pay this amount and never try to optimize their budget.
Some households are also content with saving a tiny portion of their salary and not trying to save more. Finally, some people fall into the lifestyle inflation trap (very easy in Switzerland!). As long as their salary increases, they do not care too much about how their expenses increase!
But people should try to spend less when they can. When you can get the same quality for half the price, I do not see why you should pay more!
So in this article, we look at 12 ways you can save money each month. The idea is to focus on recurring expenses to have savings for the long term.
Taxes can become a large part of your expenses, especially if your income is high. If you can reduce your taxes, you will save money each month for the rest of your life.
There are only a few things you can do to reduce your taxes. The first thing you should do is contribute to your third pillar. Doing so can make a significant difference in your taxes.
The second thing is to make sure that you deduct everything you can in your tax declaration:
- Meals you take at work
- Costs for commuting
- Costs for training
- Health costs
Another thing you can do is to make a voluntary contribution to your second pillar. If you have a large marginal tax rate, this could be a good investment. And you can also use your second pillar to bring some stability to your net worth.
If you want more information, read my guide about taxes in Switzerland.
Rent prices are very high in Switzerland. People spend a large amount of their budget on rent. For some people, rent is even higher than the taxes they pay. If you want to save money each month, it is paramount that you reduce the rent price you pay.
Unfortunately, there are not many ways to reduce your rent.
In Switzerland, rent prices are indexed to a reference interest rate. If it goes up, you will pay more for rent. But when the official reference rate goes down, so does your rent! The problem is that this system is not automatic! You will have to request a rent reduction to profit from this.
Unfortunately, you must check every time they change the reference interest rate. You can find the current value on the website of the confederation. Many people pay too much because they never ask for a rent reduction.
If the reference interest rate goes down, you can request a rent decrease. You will have to do it in the delays of your lease contract. Generally, you must make the request three months before the next lease end date.
Another way to reduce your rent price is to move. Moving is maybe not something you want. But it can make a huge difference. The most significant change is moving to a village from a city. Or you can move to another canton or municipality where rent prices are lower. But obviously, this is not something you want to do often.
If you want more information, I have a complete guide about renting in Switzerland.
3. Health Insurance
Another huge item in the Swiss budget is the bill for health insurance. In 2019, 15% of our budget was on our health insurance.
There is no way to make it cheap. But there are ways to reduce the price of your health insurance. And since this is a considerable recurring expense, you can save money each month by improving this expense!
First, you need to make sure you use the correct deductible. Many people still use deductibles other than 300 CHF and 2500 CHF. But only these two deductible amounts make sense. It is easy to decide. If you spend more than 1800 CHF per year on health expenses that the insurance will consider, you must take a 300 CHF deductible. For the rest, the vast majority of the population, a 2500 CHF deductible is the best choice.
Then, you also need to change your base insurance regularly. There is almost no difference between different health insurance providers for base insurance. Indeed, the law mandates the coverage of these insurances. There are some differences in customer support in some cases. But generally, you want the cheapest base insurance you can find.
Unfortunately, this means you will likely have to change every few years. Indeed, prices are often changing. And the cheapest insurance one year may be the most expensive the next year. It is a stupid system. But we have to deal with it.
If you want, you can also consider changing your insurance model. There are some cheaper models like Telmed. With this model, you must call your insurance in advance, and they will tell you where you should go. Some insurances also have options where you can only go to one pharmacy. You can save some money with some of these models.
If you want to learn more, I have an entire article about Health Insurance in Switzerland.
People are using their phones more and more. But they are also paying more money every month for their phone plan. So reducing even a little your phone bill can help you save money each month!
The first thing you should try is to limit your internet consumption on your phone. Try to use Wifi as much as possible. Access to the Internet is costly on your phone bill in Switzerland. With that, you can get a subscription with little data at a low price.
If you are a heavy consumer of the internet on your phone, you cannot do much to reduce your phone bill. Unlimited phone plans are quite expensive. You still need to compare to find the cheapest plan for your needs. There are often some great deals you can find. And if you have not changed your phone plan in a long time, the chances are that you are paying more than you should.
On the other hand, if you are like me and use your phone only very little, you can find very cheap phone plans. The price will mostly depend on how little internet you use on your phone. For instance, I am consistently using less than 500MB each month. With that, I can pay about 10 CHF per month on my phone plan.
If you are a small phone consumer, consider prepaid SIM cards instead of phone plans. They can often be significantly cheaper.
Once you know what you need each month on your phone, you can compare different plans. I have compared to find the cheapest phone plans for several different types of users.
Everybody has the internet at home! So, everybody will pay for their internet connection. Reducing your internet bill can help you save money each month.
You may not need an internet subscription. You could use your phone as a hotspot and connect your laptop or TV to your phone. If you mostly use your phone and sometimes another device, this s a great solution, and it is the cheapest solution! Of course, this means you need an unlimited phone subscription, which is not always the most affordable.
The easiest thing you can do to reduce your internet bills is reduce your internet speed. Many people think this is a crazy idea! Faster is better, right? Most people do not need a high-speed internet connection. I am a heavy internet consumer and a computer scientist, yet I am pleased with a 50Mbps connection. I do not need more. I could have a 475Mbps connection at home. But there is no advantage in doing so!
Another way you can save money is to switch to a cheaper internet provider. There are more and more internet providers. And while before, there were only big ones like Swisscom and Sunrise, now even Migros is providing internet access. And they are doing so at a much lower price! So, there has never been a better time to compare internet subscriptions.
I have compared several internet providers for several speeds to find the cheapest internet providers in Switzerland.
Most people are paying for TV at home. The television bill is one of the bills you will get every month.
Once again, a small reduction in your television bills can help you save money each month!
The first obvious way to save money on television is to stop paying for television. I have not had a television subscription for more than six years now. And I have never looked back on this decision. Now, you may want to keep it, and there is nothing wrong with that.
There are some cheaper alternatives if you want to access television channels. For instance, you can get a subscription to Zattoo. Zattoo is significantly less expensive than standard television subscriptions.
If you only watch TV shows and movies, you could consider Netflix an alternative. You will get access to a wide choice of shows and movies for a fair price.
Finally, to get all the channels and a regular subscription, you must compare different offers. There are many offers, most of them linked with an internet subscription.
To save money on your Television subscription, read my article about getting the cheapest Television subscription in Switzerland.
If you have a car, it will weigh heavily on your budget. You have to pay for the gas and the maintenance of the vehicle. And you also have to pay for the car itself.
The best way to reduce your car expenses is to downsize your car. If you have a big luxury car, you may save a lot of money by taking a cheaper and smaller car. A lot of people want to show off in their cars. It is a costly habit! You should buy the car you need, not the one that looks good.
If you have a car loan or are leasing your car, the easiest way to save monthly money is never to do it again. You may be unable to do it now because you should not break the lease contract. However, the next time you buy a car, you should not make the same mistake. You will save a lot of money by purchasing your car in cash. And this will help you choose a car that you can afford.
Another thing you can do to reduce your car fees is to drive less. A lot of people take their cars even for very short trips. If you live in a city, you can probably do many things on foot. Moving without a car is a big advantage of a town.
Finally, you can also ensure you do not pay too much for your car insurance. If your car is getting old, you may not need full collision insurance, for instance. And you may want to compare the prices of the other insurance. You may be able to save money each month simply by changing your car insurance.
There are many ways to save money on your car. For instance, here are 10 ways to save money on your car.
The energy bill is not the highest of the expenses in Switzerland. But it can still be a significant bill. So it helps to try to reduce it.
In Switzerland, we cannot choose an energy provider. So, the only way to reduce your energy bill is to reduce your energy consumption. Whether you can save money or not, we should all strive to reduce our energy consumption.
There are many things you can do to save money on your energy bill:
- Always turn off the lights when you are not in a room.
- Ensure you fully turn off your electronic appliances when not using them. Once I do not use my TV and media center, I remove the power directly. You should do that for all your appliances. Unless you remove the power (you can use a plug with a power switch), they will consume electricity.
- Use LEDs instead of regular light bulbs. I do not recommend changing all your working light bulbs with LEDs. But once they die, you should replace them with LEDs. They consume much less electricity. These days, you cannot buy standard lights anymore in most places.
- Use less hot water. Without a heat pump, electricity will heat your water with electricity. Using less warm water will directly reduce the amount of energy you need.
- Dry your laundry in the sun. You can save a lot of electricity by letting your laundry in the sun instead of using the dryer.
A lot of these things may seem obvious. But most people do not do them. People could save electricity and money by doing some simple things.
I am not an expert on energy consumption. There is probably a lot we can do. Now that we have our house, we plan to be more careful with our energy consumption. But if you follow some simple rules, you will save money on your energy bill!
9. Other Insurances
Your health insurance will be the most expensive of your insurance bills. But this does not mean you should neglect your other insurances.
For your household and personal liability insurance, the best you can do is compare regularly to see if you can find a cheaper one.
If you have legal insurance, you may also want to check if you can find a cheaper one by comparing it. But you may also want to consider whether you need it. I have one because I deal with patents and intellectual property. But it is still unlikely that I will need it.
For each of your insurance, you can do the same two things:
- Make sure you need the coverage. Most of the time, you do not need it. But make sure you are ready to pay if you do not have the coverage.
- Make sure you are using the cheapest insurance.
When you have many insurance policies, you can try to see if some insurance providers can give you a discount if you have several insurance policies at the same insurer.
Even when you are traveling, there are some things you can do to save money.
It may not fall in the save money each month category, but generally, people save money all year to go on vacation. So, we will discuss it here too.
Now, you should not be too cheap with your vacations. You should not try to save every penny during your holidays. It is good to have a good time and not count every penny once you are on vacation.
But this does not mean that you should spend without counting. I prefer going on vacation twice a year with being careful than going once and spending too much. But in the end, that is up to you!
Here are some things that can make a significant difference in your travel budget:
- Buy your international plane tickets well in advance. Or at the last minute if you are not too picky about where you want to go.
- Compare, compare, and compare! You should take some time to choose hotels and airplanes.
- Consider apartments as well as hotels. If you travel to a city, apartments are often cheaper than hotels. And you will have more room, but less service.
- Consider less touristic locations. There are so many great destinations in the world. You do not have to go to the place where everybody is going!
- Consider vacations in your own country. Every country has some great places to go to. And you can save money by not having to fly very far. On the other hand, in Switzerland, travel can be expensive. So you have to be careful.
If you want, I have a few more tips on traveling for less.
Many people spend too much money on food. Many people think they have to lower the quality of their food to save money. But this is not true. There are many ways to save money on food.
You should not stop buying food. Food is something everybody needs. And eating less is not the best way to save money on food. However, if you optimize your food budget, you can save money each month!
Many people shop in costly shops like Manor. And some people think that Aldi and Lidl are for poor people and that they should not do their groceries there. Thinking like this is something I do not understand. On average, Lidl and Aldi are 50% cheaper than Coop and Migros. Shopping at Lidl makes a lot of difference per month for us. By doing your groceries in an adequate shop, you can save a lot of money.
Once you have reduced your grocery prices, you can cook more. I mean, you need to cook more at home. Restaurants and takeout make most of the food budget of people. You will save a ton of money by reducing (or eliminating) this.
For instance, for two people, we are spending about 400 CHF per month on food. Sometimes, we spend more when we invite people, and sometimes we spend less when we use our reserves. And we are still buying meat, fresh vegetables, and fruits. But this is only possible by being careful with our food budget. Most people spend much more than us. They could save money each month by doing some of the things we do.
If you are serious, there are many ways to save money on your food budget.
12. Bank Accounts
There are fewer and fewer free bank accounts in Switzerland. So, many people are paying money each month to their banks.
If you are not using a free bank account, you can save money each month by changing to a new bank account.
If you like digital services, you can use Neon. It is a free digital Swiss bank. Or, if you want a regular bank, you can use the Migros bank. It is free if you have over 7500 CHF in your bank account.
If you are paying for your credit card, you should also know that Switzerland has several free credit cards. You should not pay for credit cards anymore. Unless you spend too much, you will not get enough bonus to pay back your fees. Instead, you should opt for a free credit card.
If you need more information, I have a guide about changing bank accounts.
As you can see, there are many ways you can use to save money each month on your budget. Even though Switzerland is an expensive country, if you are careful, you can save money.
Of course, some things will take some effort, like changing to a new bank account. But changing your health insurance is not difficult and can save you a ton of money. And writing a letter to your building manager is not a big effort either.
Hopefully, you will follow some of these tips to save money each month or at least annually. Do not pay more than you should!
Saving money is essential. Starting with recurring bills is good because it saves money each month. But you should always try to save money to reach your financial goals faster.
For instance, you can reduce your expenses to reach financial independence. But if you prefer, you can also save money to enjoy more vacations! I will not go over the future value of money for such savings because this is just silly! But saving is important, and increasing your savings rate will help you reach your financial goals.
Nevertheless, you have to be careful not to overdo it. You need to find the level of spending with which you are most comfortable. There is nothing wrong with spending more than us.
Some people like to use the time value of money concept to think about their expenses. It is an interesting concept, but you should be careful not to overdo it.
Finally, if you are serious about your financial situation, you should not only focus on spending less. Income is a very important factor too, often left on the side by many people.
If you want to focus on the future, you could also be interested in tips to save money sustainably.
Do you have any other way to save money each month? Please let us know!
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