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Old 05.02.2015, 14:24
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3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Grüetzi mittenant.

I am going to study in ZR for 1 year and I will be paid 3500 CHF salary (including insurance and halffare travelcard) monthly.

I would like to bring my wife and our 9-year-old son, as well.

Is the salary enough for living?

Can we survive with this salary in Zurich?
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:28
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Some people will say no…. but if you health insurance is paid (does this include your family?) and you take a small apartment and live cheaply, then you'll manage.
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:33
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Thank you for the reply.

Insurance will be paid only for me, not for my family members.

Is it imperative to have insurance for my family?
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:35
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Yes ofcourse as here you have to pay much for insurance and travel if it is covered in your salary including your family than surely you can manage within that.
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:36
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

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Is it imperative to have insurance for my family?
Yes.

However, I doubt that it is enough for your family, it's below the poverty line.

Tom
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:38
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

I really wouldn't want to be trying to live on 3.5k a month in Zurich as a single person, with a family????!!!!!!! my initial reaction is not a chance.
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:40
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

ok..thank you for the suggestions..I will keep in my mind them..
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:40
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Is that gross or net? Either way it will be tough
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:41
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Rent 1200 at least
Food 600-1600
Internet, mobiles 100 at least (incl Billag)
Insurance for family 200 at least
Travel for family 50 at least
Clothes, furniture, school stuff for kid, holidays, going out - the rest

I am sure it can be done but whether it will be enjoyable or not...
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:45
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

If you were a young student prepared to go into a WG I think you'd have a whale of a time on that salary. But with a family? Unless your wife can contribute at least the same, if not more, then I wouldn't bother.
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:48
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Would the OP be entitled to any social subventions with such a low salary?
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:51
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As a single student, it's certainly manageable. After all, that's around the lower bound for the salary of PhD students, and with that I think that one person can have a relatively frugal but still rather comfortable lifestyle in Zurich.

However, I echo the other comments in the thread that, with two dependents, unfortunately it's going to be virtually impossible - and certainly not very enjoyable. :-/

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Would the OP be entitled to any social subventions with such a low salary?
I think that he could claim the help for paying the health insurance.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 05.02.2015 at 16:49. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 05.02.2015, 14:56
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Does it matter that the OP is not from an EU country?
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:04
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Hello Ibo
Yes, it is obligatory to have medical insurance for each person.

It is very important that you find out whether the CHF 3500 is the gross amount from which your employer will make further deductions (e.g. for compulsory social security contributions AHV, for unemployment and for a pension plan) or whether you will receive the CHF 3500 paid out into your account.

If it is paid out, and you don't have to pay your own medical insurance (but you do have to pay for it for your wife and child), you get closer to the lower of these model budgets: http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Familienbudget.75.0.html for a family with one child. They start at an income a bit higher than yours.

After rent, the next biggest expense is medical insurance. After that, transport. On that salary, you will not be able to run a car, but that does not matter as many people don't own cars because the public transport is so very good. You can buy a "Family Card" from the railways, which entitles you to take your child on public transport for free (as long as the child is with one parent who has a valid ticket). Children usually walk to school. Many adults use bicycles.

Since it is for one year only, you could take care to get any necessary dentistry done before you leave your home country. Also get your eyes examined and buy glasses. The obligatory medical insurance in Switzerland does not cover eye-glasses or dentistry, which can be very expensive here. Also, as far as possible, make sure you all have good basic items to start with, like solid shoes, and items like rucksacks/backpacks, etc.

I think a lot depends on how much you and your wife can see the trip as a great opportunity to experience life completely differently. As soon as one has that mind-set, it is generally easier to feel fine about being rather poor for a while, and just give up on certain luxuries altogether (e.g. going to a hairdresser, to movies, out to a restaurant, cosmetics, new clothes).

If you and your wife are both in agreement to live frugally (eat vegetable soup) and keep your spending really low, yes, I think it can be done. If you agree to buy most of your clothes, your furniture and household items, and the things your child needs, not new but second-hand (there is a whole range of second-hand shops here), you will make your lives much easier. And there are quite a lot of things to do, in Zurich, for free.
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:06
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Help for the health insurance would be peanuts with a salary of 3500/mo.
Think about 1000 a year in ZH.

Single student? 3500 is beyond awesome.

A family budget at 3500 is torture. I couldn't suggest doing it to yourself or your family.
If your wife can get some work and she can bring this, then it's perfectly manageable. But with 1 income of less than 50k a year, I can't see it happening. Where's a will, there's a way and all that, and I've been through very tough times when I first came over, but do it only if there is absolutely no other choice or if you're expecting something concrete and big after the year is up.
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:19
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

But if after the year, you had made local contacts that could open the doors for a future job...

I think you have to balance between short-term monetary issues vs. the possibility of future jobs.
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:26
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

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If you were a young student prepared to go into a WG I think you'd have a whale of a time on that salary. But with a family? .


Yes, a WG - even as a family - might be an option. WG stands for "Wohngemeinschaft" and means sharing a flat with other people. Of course, many students do this. It might be a bit harder for you to find a place to share, but there are families who share, too.


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Unless your wife can contribute....
What your wife could contribute is her attitude. If you and she BOTH want to make it work, it can. If, however, your or she are People who like to wear expensive clothes and to go shoe-shopping, if you and she thinks it is necessary to visit a hairdresser or get her nails done, if you and she think you must have a car, an expensive music system, the latest hi-tech equipment... then you will struggle. On that salary, it is impossible to fulfil dreams of that kind



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... I wouldn't bother.
Oh, I definitely would! Living in Zurich for a year is a wonderful opportunity! It is a lovely city, and the chance to experience a different country, language, other activities in your leisure time, museums (some have free entrance on some days), the lake, the river...
Also: think about how you, your wife and your child might feel, how you might regret it, in 5 or 10 years from now, if you missed out on this chance, both for the cultural experience as well as for your studies and later career opportunities.


To live that economically, always discussing each item you buy, taking super-special care not to spend unnecessarily, repairing and re-using things as much as you can, having the strength of character to see all the new items in the shop-windows and decide not to buy them, relying on second-hand shops... that can be hard to do. But I think it is considerably easier once you know you're choosing to do it, knowing that it is for only one year.


If I were in your shoes, and if you and your wife share a sense of adventure, I think I would try it.
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:28
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Yes, and don't forget an SBB-Halbtax-Abo (halffare travel card) isn't too useful if you just move around within Zurich by tram or bus. You will probably have to get an annual ZVV travel pass which is 550 to 750 bucks, depending on your age. And your wife would need the same.
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:48
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

All of the replies were of vital importance for me.

As I see, It is going to be hard to live in that case..
Thank you all very much,
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Old 05.02.2015, 15:49
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Re: 3500 CHF salary in Zurich

Hi,
I can echo all the previous replies -positive and negative.
Accomodation is going to be your big expense and finding somewhere cheap is difficult. There is help for students but you have to go and ask -the University and ETH have bulletin boards etc.
Who is paying your salary -can they help? A student card will help to get many reductions.
Shop around for health insurance -the quotes vary considerably -"Grundversicherung" is the minimum and quite OK from a male perspective - my wife has a "Zusatzversicherung"
Good luck
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