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Seven tips to help you save on your budget

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Inflation, rising energy prices and health insurance premiums – life is becoming more and more expensive. Whether you live with your family, a partner, roommates or on your own, we’ve compiled seven tips that can help you save money on your household budget.

Tip 1: Check your health insurance premiums every year

All basic insurance policies in Switzerland are required under the Health Insurance Act (HIA) to offer the same services. The same does not apply to their premiums, however, which can differ wildly from one provider to the next. So it is well worth your while to compare premiums once a year and choose the mandatory health insurance that offers the best rates. Individuals can save CHF 477 per year on average by switching to a different insurer. 

Switching supplemental insurance is considerably less lucrative because premiums often remain unchanged for long periods of time and any price adjustments are negligible.

Tip 2: Adjust your deductible and insurance plan

The deductible is a fixed amount that insureds have to pay out of their own pocket for their medical treatment costs, should they arise. Although there are various levels between the lowest and highest deductibles, only two deductibles offer any real potential for savings: the CHF 300 deductible and the CHF 2,500 deductible. 

Another way to save money in your basic insurance is with your choice of basic insurance plan. Popular plans include “Telmed,” “General practitioner” and “Choose your own doctor.” In the meantime, health insurance providers have introduced lots of hybrid plans, with varying rates and conditions. Depending on the canton and provider, switching basic insurance plan can save up to CHF 100 a month.

Tip 3: Check the cost of your subscriptions on a regular basis

Subscription costs for your cell phone, Internet provider or streaming services may not seem like a big deal individually. But when you add them together, they can end up being quite a big drain on your monthly budget. So it's worth reviewing on a regular basis whether you really need all the subscriptions you currently have. Even if you decide not to cancel a particular service, a regular check is a good way of finding less expensive offers and saving money in your budget. You can also cut costs by sharing subscriptions with others – for example, by taking advantage of the family plans offered by many streaming providers.

Tip 4: Make a weekly meal plan

A meal plan is an especially easy way of saving money in your budget. Take a few moments on the weekend to plan your meals for the coming week so you can make a precise list of the things you need from the store. This way you’ll avoid spur-of-the-moment purchases and ensure only those food items you really need end up in your cart. You can maximize your savings even more if you coordinate your menu planning with the promotions currently being run by your local supermarket. Take a look at the products on sale and think about what you could make from them. With a bit of imagination, you could save between 10 and 20 percent on your weekly shopping. 

Here's another top tip: Never go food shopping on an empty stomach – this is a recipe for impulse buys that will eat into your budget.

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    Savings tips for families

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Tip 5: Buy and sell second-hand

This tip can help you shave your budget two times over. Platforms such as tutti.ch and ricardo.ch and resale groups on social media are a great way not only to buy various second-hand products at discounted prices, but also to sell the things you no longer need to generate cash. Have a look around at home and you're bound to find some old books, toys, sports equipment or even furniture you don’t have use for anymore. Selling them will free up some space in your closets and put extra money in your pocket.

Tip 6: Save money and cut your tax bill with Pillar 3a

All the money you pay into your Pillar 3a account can be deducted in full from your taxable income. Depending on the canton, your income and the amount paid in, this can help you save up to CHF 2,000 a year on taxes while at the same time providing for your retirement. It’s a total win-win. The maximum amount that can be paid in to your Pillar 3a for 2024 is CHF 7,056. A smart option is to set up a standing order that makes monthly deposits into your voluntary Pillar 3 (restricted retirement account). This staggers the money you pay in, rather than having to transfer it all in one go.  Self-employed persons who don’t have a pension fund can contribute up to 20 percent of their net income per year, up to a maximum of CHF 35,280.

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Tip 7: Save on power, water and heating costs

With various small tweaks, you can make a sizable dent in your power, water and heating costs. Here are some practical tips for cutting your household expenses:

  • Thermostatic valves on radiators reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent, since they automatically keep the room temperature at the desired level.
  • Lowering the room temperature of your home by 1°C can help you save up to 10 percent in energy costs.
  • LED lights use just 2-10 percent of the energy of traditional light bulbs and last significantly longer.
  • Putting a lid on your pots when cooking can cut your power bill by a good 20 percent compared to cooking without a lid.
  • Make sure your washing machine is full before starting a load. Half-full machines use lots more energy by comparison. 
  • Rarely do clothes need to be washed in temperatures higher than 60 degrees. If you can, avoid putting your clothes in the dryer – they are a major energy guzzler.
  • Don’t keep things in standby mode. Completely switch off electronic devices such as screens or TVs.

You can find more tips for saving energy on the government website: “Energy is scarce. Let's not waste it.” 

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