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Useful Tips for Dealing with Money

How you can make best use of your money in your daily life.

 
 

Organise Your Finances

  • Use e-banking. That way you are always in control of your expenses and bank balance.
  • Set up direct debits or standing orders for regular payments (health insurance premiums, rent, electricity, mobile phone bill). This will help to prevent you from defaulting on payments
  • Create a special savings account for provisions (taxes!), savings targets, and unforeseen items (e.g. a dentist's bill). That way you always have money put aside for large expenses.
  • Take care with credit: it can quickly lead to excessive debt! You should never take out credit to pay outstanding bills or settle debts. Only take out credit if you want to use it to purchase something that is absolutely necessary, e.g. car leasing if a car is essential for your work. If you take out credit, you must be sure that you have enough money in the long term to repay it (including in the event of unforeseen and/or future events, e.g. change of job, lower income, moving home, starting a family, etc.).
  • Obtain budget or debt advice as early as possible if you are having trouble paying your bills and meeting your payment obligations.

 

 
Foodstuffs

Support

  • If you would like to undertake education or training, but your financial situation does not permit it, you can submit a support request for training (scholarships or loans). educa.Stipendien

  • Persons and families in modest economic circumstances are entitled to a premium reduction for compulsory health insurance. To apply for this, contact the offices of the commune where you live and ask where you can file the premium reduction application. Reduced Premiums for Health Insurance

  • Check your entitlement to supplementary benefits (German: EL) if you receive an old age (AHV) or invalidity (IV) pension. Supplementary AHV and IV benefits help where pensions and income do not cover the minimum cost of living. Registration is necessary through the AHV branch office of the commune where you live. supplementary benefits

  • Under certain conditions, persons who are unemployed receive unemployment benefit. Register yourself immediately as unemployed to the employment office of the commune where you live; you must do this already during the notice period. The benefits, also known as daily allowances, are provided at the earliest as of the date of registration. The unemployment benefit is also paid to persons who, prior to reporting unemployment, have looked after children or have completed their education. Job Room

  • You are entitled to social assistance if your income does not reach the social assistance subsistence level. If you do not have enough money to support you, contact the social welfare office of the commune where you live to determine whether you are entitled to social assistance. 

  • After the birth of a child, parents are entitled to family allowances. In certain cantons, there are also cantonal birth or adoption allowances (maternity or parental allowance, maternity contributions). The conditions for obtaining these benefits differ according to the canton. Enquire at the offices of the commune where you live or at the Federal Social Insurance Office FSIO.

  • After the birth of the child, the mother as employee is entitled to take at least 14 weeks maternity leave. During maternity leave, she must be paid 80% of her wage. For information concerning maternity leave, your cantonal AHV IV compensation office is the point of contact. Further information about maternity leave.

  • If you do not receive your due alimony, the office for alimony collection of the commune where you live will help you to enforce payment. The commune may also be requested to enforce the payment of child maintenance money. Under certain conditions, you can receive child maintenance money monthly from the commune instead of it having to wait for it to be paid by the person owing the payment. For further information, please contact directly the offices of the commune or canton where you live.

  • If for a long time you are unable to work due to physical or mental impairment, under certain conditions you may be eligible for disability insurance benefits (IV). If you wish to receive benefits, you must apply to do so in writing; usually at the invalidity IV office of the canton where you live. Website for WAS / AHV and IV.
 

Household & Living

Foodstuffs

  • Look for special low-price offers in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet.

  • Avoid finished products and frozen foods. Cooking is cheaper and healthier than pre-prepared products.

  • Branded products are almost always more expensive and not necessarily better. Think twice before buying a branded product.

  • Meat is expensive. Therefore introduce meatless days into your dietary routine.

  • Coffee in prepacked portions or capsules is more expensive than in loose sales. Avoid coffee machines with portioned coffee capsules and sachets.

  • Benefit from low-price bakery items from the day before: e.g. from:  Äss-Bar (in German)

  • Take your food from home to the office or school (lunch and breakfast). Homemade sandwiches, salads or food to warm up are cheaper than products bought on the way.

 

Rented Living Accommodation

  • Check whether you are entitled to a rent reduction and how big your claim is. If your rent is based on a higher than the current reference interest rate, you are entitled to a reduction of the net rent by a fixed percentage. Further information in German: Tenants Association

  • Obtain the rental deposit as a loan from your family, friends or, if there is no other possibility, your employer. Avoid taking out a rent deposit insurance, because doing so entails high interest costs.

  • Find a flat-sharing community or start one yourself. Shared rental costs significantly reduce a large item of expenditure.

  • Try to get a cheap apartment from a housing cooperative. Note, however, that in the beginning it is often the case that a larger financial investment (participation in a cooperative) is necessary. Further information in German: Housing Cooperatives Switzerland

  • In the case of a longish absence, you can sublet the apartment in agreement with the landlord. This will save you the rental costs during this time.  Tenant subletting service 

  • Buy your furniture in the Brockenhaus, at the flea market, at liquidations, internet auctions or in the factory outlet shop. Further information in German: Online Auction or Brockenhaus Index

 

Electricity

  • Save electricity by keeping energy consumption low in the use of electronic devices and sanitary products. All electronic devices and sanitary products have an energy label that shows the energy consumption with a letter code (A-G or A +++ - D) and colours (from green to red). The lower the energy consumption, the less you have to pay for electricity and water bills. Energy Label  

  • Always switch off electrical appliances completely and avoid standby mode. Particularly convenient is a connector strip with its own a power switch, using it to connect multiple devices simultaneously (for example, a computer, printer, desk lamp), so you do not have to turn off each device individually. By doing this you can save electricity.

  • Do not overheat your flat. And when you are away for a long time do not switch off the heater completely, because heating up from scratch requires more energy than leaving the heating switched-on at a low level.

  • Pay attention to the low tariff electricity consumption periods of the commune where you live and if possible, benefit by using the dishwasher or the washing machine at these times. Wait until you have enough dishes or clothes to fill the machine completely. That way you save electricity!

  • Run your washing machine at low temperatures, as around 75% of the energy is used to heat the water. With modern washing machines, a hot wash programme is hardly necessary. Wash, for example with 40 instead of 60 degrees - and you save nearly half of the electricity needed for that wash run. 

  • Use LED or energy-saving lamps. These last up to ten times longer and need only about half as much electricity as earlier lamps. Energy labels for lamps
 

Telephone and Internet

  • Making a phone call with a mobile phone can become quite expensive. Use free telephony offerings like Skype or, if you can use Wi-Fi, use WhatsApp for international calls and lengthy conversations. When spending a period abroad, it can also make sense to buy a temporary foreign or travel option as a supplement to your subscription. This will prevent you from being charged expensive roaming charges. You can avoid additional costs by not answering incoming calls during a stay abroad and switching off the Combox.

  • Be careful when surfing the Internet with your mobile phone. The safest way to go is with a subscription without a data limit, if you can find a cheap one on offer, or, alternatively, to block the mobile Internet access at the provider.

  • Compare the prices of the different telephone companies before you decide to buy. Especially recommended in order to keep the mobile phone costs under control, are prepaid subscriptions. Telephone Providers Online Comparison.

  • Calls to a number beginning with 0900, 0901, or 0906 can cost up to several francs per call per minute, and considerably inflate your phone bill. The best solution is to have 090.. numbers blocked.
 

Insurance Cover

General Information

  • Compare different liability and household insurance providers before you finalise one. Comparison portal

  • Do not be alarmed by the promises made by insurance agents: most insurance policies (except household effects and liability) are not absolutely essential. Check whether all your insurance cover is necessary. 

 

Health Insurance Cover

  • If you are born in or have moved to Switzerland, you have three months within which to take out compulsory health insurance cover. You can freely choose your health insurance company from the list of approved insurers. NB: You are permitted a maximum of one compulsory health insurance policy! Therefore, make sure that you do not take out two basic insurance policies running simultaneously!

  • Check whether you are entitled to a reduced premium for compulsory health insurance (available for insured persons in modest economic circumstances). To do so, contact the commune authorities where you live and ask where you can file the premium reduction application. Lower premiums for health insurance.

  • Compare the health insurance premiums regularly, as the premiums change constantly. A comparison will help you to choose the cheapest insurance. Further info in German: Compare Premiums Online

  • The health insurance companies offer various savings models (HMO, Telmed, Flexcare, Family Doctor Model). These require special conditions to be met for benefit receipt, but offer attractive discounts on premiums.

  • Choose the correct franchise. We categorically recommend the lowest franchise. You should choose a higher franchise only if you are sure that in case of illness you will also be able to pay the extra costs in accordance with the franchise.

  • Before closing a supplementary insurance policy, think about whether you really need it. Mostly they are not necessary.

  • Apply for reimbursement of the health insurance premium for insurance for military or community service that lasts longer than 60 days.

  • Cancel the accident insurance with the health insurance company, if this insurance cover exists through the employer.

 

Life and Savings Insurance Cover

  • Reconsider your life or savings insurance. Conclude a savings insurance only if you are absolutely sure that you can pay the premiums until the end of the contract. Further information in German: VZ Advice Section

 

Third-Party Insurance Cover

  • Ensure that your insurance amount is appropriate. A glass insurance without valuable glass objects in the household, for example, is not worthwhile. In addition, you should limit the insurance to Switzerland, if you have no household contents abroad.

  • Some insurance companies offer a so-called no-claims discount within their household contents insurance if for several years you have remained claim-free.

 

Automobile Insurance Cover

  • Close one-year contracts. With short-term contracts, you fare better than with the small discounts that you get back for long-term contracts, because you can always benefit from new offers. For insurance companies that do not offer a one-year contract period, you can request the right to submit an annual termination.
 

Mobility

Automobile

  • If you are not dependent on your car, then sell it,  because it costs a lot. Public transport or a bicycle is a cheaper alternative. If you need to use a car only occasionally, then consider so-called car sharing concepts, such as a membership in Mobility.

  • Beware of car leasing! This is more expensive than you might think. Do not be dazzled by the small instalments. The actual costs are much higher. In addition, if the contract is terminated prematurely, there are also enormous follow-up costs.

  • Go for a smaller car. This is cheaper to maintain and there are lower insurance premiums and traffic taxes.

  • Before buying a car, find out its petrol consumption, because the costs of fuel are significant. A car that consumes little fuel saves you a lot of money in the long run!

  • Ensure that the car be regularly serviced. This helps to prevent expensive repairs.

  • Do car-sharing with other people in your neighbourhood. This saves you money and the vehicle is better amortised.

  • A new car is expensive and quickly loses value. In addition, the insurance premium is higher. Therefore, look at buying a used (second-hand) car.

 

Public Transport

  • Buy a SBB Half-Fare travel card. You experience  the benefit of this card after just the first few journeys. With the SwissPass, after the expiration of the half-fare card, the subscription of the latter will be automatically extended for another year. Do not miss the giving-of-notice date if you no longer need the Half-Fare travel card!

  • Young people up to the age of 25 travel very cheaply with the " Gleis 7 " bargain offer.

  • With the Junior-Karte, children and adolescents up to the age of 16 accompanied by a parent travel free of charge by bus and train.

  • Book your ticket in good time in the webshop or with the SBB app and, if possible, select a connection outside of rush hours. Then you can benefit from attractive savings. Further information:  Saver Tickets              

  • If you use public transport on a regular basis, buy a GA travelcard on an annual subscription. This provides unlimited mobility and is cheaper than monthly subscriptions or single tickets.

  • Some commune offices sell cut-rate one-day tickets, which provide unlimited travel for a whole day in Switzerland. They cost about 45 francs and can be reserved by phone or online.

  • It pays to compare prices for travel by train and plane on the internet before you purchase. Further information: Favourably Priced Train Travel in Europe and Compare Air Ticket Prices. 

 

Bikes

  • Take advantage of the free rental bike services, that are available in many towns and cities (for example Zurich, Berne, Geneva and others).

  • Carefully maintain the bike. Regular maintenance saves costs and extends its service life.

 

Leisure and Consumption

Leisure Time Activities

  • Request the Caritas KulturLegi (legitimation card for reduced price entry to certain cultural events), and save up to 50% on the price of many leisure activities.

  • Borrow books, DVDs and CDs from libraries or exchange them in an online exchange market. In the public libraries, you can also read newspapers and magazines free of charge. Public Libraries in Switzerland

  • Borrow games from games libraries instead of buying them at high prices. In this way, the children always have great games to play and the wallet remains untouched. Further information: Games Libraries in Switzerland

  • When you go out, take only as much money as you need to spend, and leave the credit card at home. This will help you to keep your financial outlay under control.

  • Instead of buying an expensive fitness club subscription, you can keep fit in a sports club, while swimming, jogging or on the Vita-Parcours fitness trail.

  • If you have a tight budget string, book cheap holidays through social organizations. There are various offers on the internet: Reka 

  • Book holidays early, because then the prices of accommodation and travel are often cheaper than just before departure. It is also worth comparing prices online.

  • School holiday passes enable children to take part at reduced prices in various leisure activities during the summer holidays. Example (in German): Holiday Passes of Pro Juventute

  • Try something new and swap your flat or house, e.g. via the cost-free platform Home for Home

 

Shopping

 

  • Buy only what you have planned to buy, preferably with a shopping list. Avoid spontaneous purchases.

  • For clothing purchases, make use of the good-value-for-money offers in second-hand clothing shops, outlet shops or clothing exchange markets, for example in the Caritas-Second-hand Shops in your Region

  • Rent sports equipment instead of buying it. If you participate in a sport only occasionally (for example, skiing, surfing, etc.), it pays to rent the sports equipment instead of buying it. Also, rented equipment is maintained in top condition by service specialists.

  • Buy gifts not just before Christmas and birthdays. Look out for potential gifts throughout the year and take advantage of sales promotions and special sale days.

  • Take advantage of free internet offers such as the platform nimms.ch.

  • Be careful when shopping on the Internet:
    • Check the seller. At least their postal address, telephone number and email address should be known.
    • Read fully their general Conditions of Sale (German: AGB).
    • Check postal and packing costs, and customs duties.
    • Check the Shopping Basket contents before paying.
 

Health

  • Obtain non-prescription medicines at internet pharmacies, where they are often cheaper. Make sure when buying that you purchase medicines only from pharmacies that work together with Swiss health insurance companies. 

  • At the pharmacy, ask specifically whether there are also generic versions (replica products) available for the medicament required, and make a price comparison with them. Further information in German: medicaments price comparison

  • Buy your contact lenses online if you have been wearing contact lenses for some time and the lens type has been selected by the optician. 
  • For your children's teeth corrections, take out a supplementary insurance.
 
 

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