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Old 03.08.2016, 15:25
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Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Hello,

If there are any of you who have kids, could you please tell me what would be the average monthly spent on food? (no alcohol drinks or juice included).

I can see the prices, I've been here for a week (without the kids) but I am not sure what would a family with 2 adults and 2 kids might spend on food.

We cook a lot, we have always made our own bread (bread making machine) and we are eating lots of fruits and veggies which are indeed expensive and not so tasty here. For meat, we mainly use fish and chicken. The kids rarely eat sweets.

Also, I've seen in two different places that the eggs are not kept in refrigerator in the supermarkets and this is really unusual for me.

Do you go to Germany from time to time to shop? Where to, more exactly?

Thank you.
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Old 03.08.2016, 15:44
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Have you tried searching the forum? There is sufficient information on how people are surviving on certain salaries.


I'm sure you can get a rough idea based around those replies.
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Old 03.08.2016, 15:48
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Yes, I have searched the forum but I am only interested in the food cost for a family, not all the other expenses or salaries.

Thanks.
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Old 03.08.2016, 15:57
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Yes, I have searched the forum but I am only interested in the food cost for a family, not all the other expenses or salaries.

Thanks.
It's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' type of question though isn't it?
What one family eats may be different from what another family eats.

Why don't you look at a typical week's worth of meals for your family and look up how much it would cost to buy everything on one of the online shopping sites? That should give you a good general overview.

https://www.leshop.ch/leshop/Main.do

https://www.coopathome.ch/en/?utm_so...Wb0xoC3pDw_wcB
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:03
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Yes, I have searched the forum but I am only interested in the food cost for a family, not all the other expenses or salaries.

Thanks.
Try searching under more specific terms, for example "Food Costs in Switzerland", "Grocery Costs in Switzerland" and "Shopping on a Budget" and you will get threads which focus upon food costs only and not the other expenses.
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:17
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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It's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' type of question though isn't it?
What one family eats may be different from what another family eats.
It's is not only a question of what a family eats but how much. Having fed a young child who ate quantities appropriate for a very small bird and on another occasion cooked for a group of teenage competitive swimmers, I'd say that the age and appetites of the children makes quite a bit of difference too.
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:36
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

I thought my food bill was big enough with three primary school children....wow....teenagers eat lots!

When we first arrived in Switzerland, our monthly food budget for two adults and three children (one breastfed so not really counted) was 500chf per month. That was tough...it was not really achievable... .it took me a year to be able to fill one of the (small) shopping trolleys for under 100chf.

We allowed 500g of meat per meal (not per person!) - 3-4 times per week, and only bought meat under 20chf per kilogram. Plus a lot of potatoes, rice, milk, moderate cheese, and basic vegetables. Carrots, Bananas, Oranges..

These days, with three teenagers and a much larger budget, I try to keep it under 1500 per month for food and groceries, including things like washing powder.

Oh, and zero budget for restaurant eating. Back when we were on the 500chf per month budget, my husband and children were provided with a hot meal at school every day for free, so I was only planning breakfast and dinner plus weekends. Lunch quickly became the big meal of the day (very culturally appropriate for Switzerland) and dinner was more basic. Our food budget would go up significantly during school holidays when the kids and parents were home (my husband teaches).

And I hope this is not a 'so I can cut a budget for my wife' sort of question. It took massive dedication and commitment to stick to the budget that low.

No packet foods, no chips, only the cheapest vanilla icecream from Denner, large bags of rice from the asian store, potatoes, routinely hitting the supermarket on Saturday after 3pm to get the 50% off meat and cheese, keeping track of prices between each store, shopping essentially at Denner and never Coop except if it was 50% off.

We were used to having a significant amount of Asian-style food in our diet, which previously we would have had as restaurant food - I learnt to cook curries, Thai and Indian style food, Sushi rolls, tempura etc from scratch that year... with basic spices and veggies, and a lot of rice!

Oh, and only drinking water (we don't smoke and we drink minimal alcohol). Softdrinks were a special treat.

So, more realistically, somewhere between 800-1200chf is probably a basic sort of food budget with convenience foods. Per month. Not including eating out, and you certainly have to limit your purchasing to staple foods and basic ingredients, not pre-packaged foods or meals.

We worked from a basic list of 'essentials' that fitted our culture. I am sure that there are plenty of Asian families who can do much better than we can, with veg-based, rice-based foods that use minimal meat etc.

It does depend a lot on personal choice. I would say it's possible to do it on 200-300 per week for a family of four, if you really work at it and most things are cooked from scratch and you simply do not eat a lot of things that are 'too expensive'. And don't buy name-brand stuff (we always buy cheapest washing powder etc)...
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:44
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It's is not only a question of what a family eats but how much. Having fed a young child who ate quantities appropriate for a very small bird and on another occasion cooked for a group of teenage competitive swimmers, I'd say that the age and appetites of the children makes quite a bit of difference too.

I have two girls aged 3 and 9 - they are both very energetic with the older one being a swimmer but they don't eat as much as the boys I've seen at their age.

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It's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' type of question though isn't it?
What one family eats may be different from what another family eats.

Why don't you look at a typical week's worth of meals for your family and look up how much it would cost to buy everything on one of the online shopping sites? That should give you a good general overview.

https://www.leshop.ch/leshop/Main.do

https://www.coopathome.ch/en/?utm_so...Wb0xoC3pDw_wcB
It really wasn't that type of question....but thank you for the sites, I didn't know about them because I was only used to the online shopping sites in UK and Romania.

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I thought my food bill was big enough with three primary school children....wow....teenagers eat lots!

When we first arrived in Switzerland, our monthly food budget for two adults and three children (one breastfed so not really counted) was 500chf per month. That was tough...it was not really achievable... .it took me a year to be able to fill one of the (small) shopping trolleys for under 100chf.

We allowed 500g of meat per meal (not per person!) - 3-4 times per week, and only bought meat under 20chf per kilogram. Plus a lot of potatoes, rice, milk, moderate cheese, and basic vegetables. Carrots, Bananas, Oranges..

These days, with three teenagers and a much larger budget, I try to keep it under 1500 per month for food and groceries, including things like washing powder.

Oh, and zero budget for restaurant eating. Back when we were on the 500chf per month budget, my husband and children were provided with a hot meal at school every day for free, so I was only planning breakfast and dinner plus weekends. Lunch quickly became the big meal of the day (very culturally appropriate for Switzerland) and dinner was more basic. Our food budget would go up significantly during school holidays when the kids and parents were home (my husband teaches).

And I hope this is not a 'so I can cut a budget for my wife' sort of question. It took massive dedication and commitment to stick to the budget that low.

No packet foods, no chips, only the cheapest vanilla icecream from Denner, large bags of rice from the asian store, potatoes, routinely hitting the supermarket on Saturday after 3pm to get the 50% off meat and cheese, keeping track of prices between each store, shopping essentially at Denner and never Coop except if it was 50% off.

We were used to having a significant amount of Asian-style food in our diet, which previously we would have had as restaurant food - I learnt to cook curries, Thai and Indian style food, Sushi rolls, tempura etc from scratch that year... with basic spices and veggies, and a lot of rice!

Oh, and only drinking water (we don't smoke and we drink minimal alcohol). Softdrinks were a special treat.

So, more realistically, somewhere between 800-1200chf is probably a basic sort of food budget with convenience foods. Per month. Not including eating out, and you certainly have to limit your purchasing to staple foods and basic ingredients, not pre-packaged foods or meals.

We worked from a basic list of 'essentials' that fitted our culture. I am sure that there are plenty of Asian families who can do much better than we can, with veg-based, rice-based foods that use minimal meat etc.

It does depend a lot on personal choice. I would say it's possible to do it on 200-300 per week for a family of four, if you really work at it and most things are cooked from scratch and you simply do not eat a lot of things that are 'too expensive'. And don't buy name-brand stuff (we always buy cheapest washing powder etc)...
Thanks so much for your detailed response, it's now pretty clear for me. We actually never bought pre packaged meals, not because of the price (I don't even know their price anyway) but just because we're used to cook and our girls love the meals we're preparing for them.

So you never went to Germany for buying groceries? I just read that it's a big price difference, even my friend who is in Luxembourg goes to Germany once in two weeks or so.

I am the wife so it's not about "cutting budgets husband's question"

Last edited by 3Wishes; 03.08.2016 at 19:24. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:53
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

We don't have a car, so it's not convenient to drive to Germany to go shopping....
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Old 03.08.2016, 16:57
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Oh, ok.
I can't figure out (yet) where I can find the fruits cheaper -if it's Denner or Lidl or Aldi (haven't been to all just yet), I've spent quite a lot at Coop and Migros for myself only because they are the closest.
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Old 03.08.2016, 17:20
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

You'll find cheap fruit and veggies at the Barkat-stores. You'll have to prepare them very soon, they are ripe and rot fast.

I love the Oerlikon market each Saturday morning. Very fresh food, vegetables grown around Zurich - those veggies keep fresh for about a week.

Eggs do not spoil if they are not kept cool. You can store them outside of the fridge.

Last edited by marischi; 03.08.2016 at 18:07.
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Old 03.08.2016, 17:24
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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It really wasn't that type of question....but thank you for the sites, I didn't know about them because I was only used to the online shopping sites in UK and Romania.
Without more details of the kid's ages and types of thing you eat it really was that type of question.
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Old 03.08.2016, 17:43
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Oh, ok.
I can't figure out (yet) where I can find the fruits cheaper -if it's Denner or Lidl or Aldi (haven't been to all just yet), I've spent quite a lot at Coop and Migros for myself only because they are the closest.
Shopping for one person is always more expensive - especially if you go to Coop.

Fruit and veg price is very seasonal in Switzerland - tomato prices can be twice (if not more) expensive out of season than it - and celery lives on a pricing scale that should have it listed as a precious metal at some times of the year!!

ALDI fruit and veg is often "Class 2" or "Class B" - this relates more to how it looks than the flavour. Their peaches, tomatos, nectarines and pears are currently excellent.
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Old 06.08.2016, 00:36
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Shopping for one person is always more expensive - especially if you go to Coop.

Fruit and veg price is very seasonal in Switzerland - tomato prices can be twice (if not more) expensive out of season than it - and celery lives on a pricing scale that should have it listed as a precious metal at some times of the year!!

ALDI fruit and veg is often "Class 2" or "Class B" - this relates more to how it looks than the flavour. Their peaches, tomatos, nectarines and pears are currently excellent.
Where are the cheapest grocery stores to shop in Zurich? Are farmers markets usually cheaper?
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Old 06.08.2016, 01:26
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Shopping for one person is always more expensive - especially if you go to Coop.

Fruit and veg price is very seasonal in Switzerland - tomato prices can be twice (if not more) expensive out of season than it - and celery lives on a pricing scale that should have it listed as a precious metal at some times of the year!!

ALDI fruit and veg is often "Class 2" or "Class B" - this relates more to how it looks than the flavour. Their peaches, tomatos, nectarines and pears are currently excellent.


Celery price is not only outrageous but the celery has no taste!
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Old 06.08.2016, 08:44
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

a rough guess-minimum 700 CHF a month. And if you are all carnivorous then even more
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Old 06.08.2016, 08:47
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Farmers markets are more expensive. There is only COOP and Migros
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Where are the cheapest grocery stores to shop in Zurich? Are farmers markets usually cheaper?
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Old 06.08.2016, 10:23
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

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Also, I've seen in two different places that the eggs are not kept in refrigerator in the supermarkets and this is really unusual for me.
In some countries (US, Japan & others), eggs are required to be washed before they can be sold. This goes back to various salmonella incidents. Washing removes a protective coating on the eggs, so they can't be stored unrefrigerated. Most countries don't wash the eggs as (apparently) there's insufficient proof that it does anything to prevent salmonella.
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Old 06.08.2016, 12:30
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

I find that prices in Lidl (and probably Aldi) are good for basic veg and fruit like tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, broccoli, apples etc. Also Turkish stores seem to be cheaper as well. The quality is better in Coop and Migros though, especially when it comes to things like peaches, apricots, cherries and you have more choice in more expensive supermarkets. Except for avocados... I find Lidl has the best avocados.
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Old 06.08.2016, 21:58
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Re: Food cost family with two kids - Zurich

Also, to answer your question about shopping in Germany, I know a couple who used to do their weekly shopping in Germany just across the border. So yes, there are people doing their grocery shopping in Germany. If you have a car and the time, it might be worth it to shop there to save some money and find more variety.
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