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Old 03.06.2015, 19:32
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Advice on how to get by cheaply on savings accounting for Swiss taxes/insurances

Hi all!


I'm hoping to garner some advice with this post as to how best to cheaply move to Switzerland.
In particular with reference to: medical insurance and other taxes.


I am moving to Bern in mid-July till at least mid-December 2015.
I will be entering Switzerland on either my Swiss or Greek passport; I'm over 30 and in good health.
Are there any advantages (financial or otherwise) to entering Switzerland on one passport or the other? Is subsequent registration with the municipality unavoidable? And after how long must I do so? Are there any advantages in postponing this registration?


I shall be getting by on savings for these five months, while I investigate doing my PhD in Geography with a Swiss university (I will not register immediately, but rather will be conducting a thorough topic feasibility and laying sound foundations; that when I register early 2016 I have a good jump start on my proposal, a choice supervisor, a robust topic and funding proposals lined up); hence every penny saved counts. I do however hope to leverage my (native) academic English skills to earn some CHF by editing/proofing dissertations/grant proposals etc; and possibly even some guest lecturing if I can swing it. (If anyone has any contacts in Geography and/or editing/proofing it would be most appreciated).


Thus, presuming I am getting by only on savings, what taxes/insurances are unavoidable? How much are they per month? And what is the cheapest option available?


All and any info is most appreciated!
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Old 03.06.2015, 20:46
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Re: Advice on how to get by cheaply on savings accounting for Swiss taxes/insurances

If you're Swiss you must use your Swiss passport I believe rather than your Greek one. You must register within 14 days of your arrival and no, you can't avoid it. Anyone who is resident here, be they Swiss or foreigner, has to register.

Play around with www.comparis.ch to see what you can work out for the various insurances.
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Old 03.06.2015, 21:25
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Re: Advice on how to get by cheaply on savings accounting for Swiss taxes/insurances

Enter and register under your Swiss passport. You won't gain anything with the Greek one and might wind up with more hassles/paperwork. It's almost always cheaper and easier to be a local. Yes, you need to register at the municipality. Not sure on cost. I paid CHF 104 for my first permit, if that helps.

For insurances, as Medea says start with Comparis. To save money, take the mandatory basic insurance with the highest franchise (deductible). Don't bother with supplemental coverage. Depending on the model you choose (standard, primary doctor, Telmed, etc.) expect to pay 200-300/month based on your age and gender. If you can afford to pay 6 months up front, you might get a discount.

Share a flat to save on expenses. You'll still want some sort of renter's insurance. If you're not in a remote area, use public transport instead of a car and you'll save the maintenance/insurance on that. Invest in a half-tax card or monthly travel pass for the area you live in. The half-tax card is around 150 annually. Monthly travel passes vary depending on region. Liability insurance isn't that expensive, and is highly recommended.

If you're just earning odds-and-ends with tutoring, you won't be paying much income tax. You will be paying VAT (8%) on your purchases, so try to be thrifty with spending. Shop at Aldi and Lidl for basics, and if you need to shop at the big three (Coop, Migros, Denner) try to catch things on sale or even marked 50% off at the end of the day.

Keep in mind - with many things, cheapest isn't always best. So do your homework. Start with what you need and want, then choose the least expensive option among those that meet your criteria.
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