Budgeting In Switzerland

In a High Price country like Switzerland, budgeting is often the only way to keep income and expenses more or less in balance. In this file I am going to list some rules of thumbJ and personal experiences I made over the years, as well as list a small assembly of shops who are not overly expensive for buying clothes, shoes etc.

I am trying to be as balanced as possible, having been a single, working mom for a couple of years with my eldest daughter and now ‘managing’ our family of five, I got insight in different problems that may arise when one has to look where the money goes. However I might be tending a bit more towards budgeting for a family, though I learnt  the basics when I was a single mom and really had to have a close watch over where my money went…………………..

Anyway lets start first with what should be considered in a budget. At first it may be a bit messy, because you need to get all your monthly or yearly bills together and then draw a list of all income from this database. All Income includes:

~ Salary man and/or wife
~ Federal Children allowance (Kinderzulagen)
~ Alimonies /Child support
~ Gratifications
~ 13th Salary
And any other income regular or irregular

Then make a list of all expenses:

First the fixed monthly costs such as:

Costs for Housing
~ Rent/Mortgage (here in CH we say as a rule of thumb, the rent/mortgage should never be more than a quarter to a third of the total monthly income)
~ If not included in the rent money, respectively the Charges (NEBENKOSTEN) then list separately costs for;
~ Heating
~ Chimney sweep
~ Water/Garbage/Used water
~ Building insurance/Building tax
~ Maintenance House and Garden
~ Cable TV connection

Other housing related costs
~ Approx cost of monthly electricity use/gas
~ Phone (landline)/ Internet/cell phone
~ Radio and TV (licenses& cable)

~ State/community and Church Tax
~ National Income tax (Direkte Bundesteuer)
~ Military replacement tax (this is important for Swiss male citizens only who haven’t served their time in the Swiss army)

A good rule of thumb is to calculate roughly one and a half Months Salary to put aside for taxes

Mandatory health care insurance
~ Goods and liability insurances
~ Life insurance
~ 3rd Pillar
~ Other insurances

These costs should include:
~ Insurances
~ Taxes
~ Amortisation
~ Fuel
~ Membership at a club such as TCS

On average, a ‚normal’ car costing 32'000.- bought brand  new, drives 15’000 kilometres a year, will cost approximately 900.-chf a month, a smaller (cheaper) car will cost around 500.- a month.

Of course this costs vary a great deal, this is a rule of thumb of TCS

All cost of Public transport, monthly or yearly tickets etc

Other fixed yearly costs
~ Subscriptions to Magazines and Newspapers
~ Club and Group memberships
~ Season cards to sports events

~ Food, Drink, Hygiene Products, Washing Powder, Cleaning Products
~ Clothing and Shoes
~ Hairdresser
~ Pocket Money
~ Other 
~ Credit cards and  pay back of minimum coverage

Then one should also add a column for reserves such as:
~ Dentist/Optician/Medications
~ Doctor/Yearly Franchise of the health insurance/10%of doctor bills
~ Holidays
~ Gifts/Donations
~ School costs (i.e. School camps, day trips)
~ Unforeseen costs
~ Saving

If you go to http://www.asb-budget.ch you can download excel files  (Erhebungsblatt) and fill in the columns to calculate if your monthly income and expenses are balanced. You may as well do it on a plain sheet of paper and with a calculator J

If you have some money left after honestly drawing your budget, then WELL DONE, you are really good when it comes to money matters.

But if, what might be more likely, you find you are deep in the reds every month…..

Then read the Tips they might help you.


Sylvie is a born and bred Swiss woman who dedicates a lot of her time , trying to help expatriates understand Switzerland and the Swiss a little bit better, by explaining customs and behaviour out of her vast  knowledge of  her homecountry.She's married and a busy mom of three girls. 


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