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Old 11.02.2019, 05:07
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Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

Hi everyone,


I have been reading this forum (including numerous cost of living threads) for a while because I might move to Zurich soon. I want to get a good understanding of what cost of living in Zurich is.


A few words about myself. I am 30-year-old PhD graduate and work in insurance. I am single at the moment, but this may change soon. My gross base salary is 95k CAD. I live in a one-bedroom rental apartment (downtown) and have an inexpensive car. My fixed monthly expenses are as follows:


1) rent + parking, $1145
2) internet + cellphone + utilities, $110
3) groceries, ~$300
4) home + auto insurance, $131
5) dining out, ~$100
6) gas + car maintenance, ~$200
7) free health care (Canadian medicare + medical benefits from work).


That being said, my fixed expenses are around $2000, and I normally don’t spend more than $2500 a month unless I travel. That, combined with my base monthly net salary of $5750, allows me to save ~55% of my regular monthly income.


I tried to project this lifestyle to Zurich, and I arrive at 3500-4000CHF of fixed monthly expenses (no car!). My anticipated gross salary in Zurich is 120k - 130k CHF, or 7600-8150 CHF net.


As a side remark, I try to minimize my fixed monthly expenses as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of life (for example, I look for deals for groceries, clothes, Internet providers, buy used cars and pay in full, shop for the cheapest insurance every years, etc.). That being said, my expenses are lower than those of an average Canadian in my situation. I prefer to spend my money on positive experiences as opposed to material things, and I like to travel a lot.


My questions are:
1) Are my estimates for Zurich realistic?
2) Is it easy to achieve the savings rate of 50% or more with the 120kCHF salary for a single in Zurich?


Thank you for your input.
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Old 11.02.2019, 07:50
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

Good morning, welcome to the forum.

Your current spending will have little to do with what you will spend here as the prices are different and your lifestyle will change.

There is also no point in bringing your car - for the price of shipmet you can get another here.

Just pick up and move. There is never logic involved in that decision.
If you dont like it, move back.
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Old 11.02.2019, 08:04
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

Apart from spending a lot of tine saving money, you got time to do anything else ?
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Old 11.02.2019, 12:34
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

My recommendation would be to request the company which makes the job offer to provide you with a simulated pay roll, showing what deductions they will be applying to the salary for pension / AVH / tax etc. That way you can see what net income you will be taking home.

Then use some of the other threads here to estimate your monthly Swiss cost of living budget (the Canadian costs mean nothing) including medical insurance and rent.

It is doubtful that you will be able to achieve a 50% savings rate in Switzerland
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Old 11.02.2019, 13:51
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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Apart from spending a lot of tine saving money, you got time to do anything else ?
You don't have to be sarcastic and could instead provide some useful information on the cost of living.
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Old 11.02.2019, 13:54
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

2) Yes it is
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Old 11.02.2019, 14:09
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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You don't have to be sarcastic and could instead provide some useful information on the cost of living.

As the question was raised a multitude of times, have a look around the forum
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Old 11.02.2019, 14:21
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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You don't have to be sarcastic and could instead provide some useful information on the cost of living.

You could be a bit less lazy and search on the forum a bit too !
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Old 11.02.2019, 14:51
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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My questions are:
1) Are my estimates for Zurich realistic?
2) Is it easy to achieve the savings rate of 50% or more with the 120kCHF salary for a single in Zurich?
yep, defo doable. the biggest cash burner is food. going out is expensive, so for a 100 CHF you can go out 3x a month max. cantines at employers are eventually subsidized or restaurants in business districts
have settled for menus that come in at 15-25chf. so if you cook you are fine, when employer provides microwave even better. besides, that meat is expensive you are good off cooking at home. the rest what you listed is ok. and will either settle at your budget or a tad lower or higher depending wht contracts for insurance and so on you will sign.
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Old 11.02.2019, 14:59
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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2) Is it easy to achieve the savings rate of 50% or more with the 120kCHF salary for a single in Zurich?
Before or after taxes?

Tom
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Old 11.02.2019, 15:11
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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My questions are:
1) Are my estimates for Zurich realistic?
2) Is it easy to achieve the savings rate of 50% or more with the 120kCHF salary for a single in Zurich?


Thank you for your input.
OK, Canadian costs don't matter, as others have said. In my opinion, your estimates are realistic if you don't live downtown (for example, you can get a decent place in Dubendorf for ~16-1800), and shopping the discounters for food etc. will help.

You could also manage the 50% savings on net, but that'll rule out a lot of travel. Staying very cheap becomes a job, and lifestyle creep is real - and I don't mean "getting a Porsche" kind of creep, I mean "shopping at Coop because it's closer."

In general air travel is far cheaper and more convenient than in Canada ( AC and the shitty internal connections), because the low cost carriers are available for Europe. However, trains can get pricy if you have no car and want to get around, and more travel means more hotel costs, which can add up.

PM me if you want more detailed info. Also, where in Canada are you coming from?
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Old 11.02.2019, 15:33
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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My questions are:
1) Are my estimates for Zurich realistic?
2) Is it easy to achieve the savings rate of 50% or more with the 120kCHF salary for a single in Zurich?
1. yes
2. yes
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Old 11.02.2019, 18:22
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You could be a bit less lazy and search on the forum a bit too !

Why do you make assumptions about my laziness? I mentioned in the starting post that I had read most of the threads about cost of living in Zurich. I have also studied numbeo and related websites. The reasons why I created the thread are:


1) Living costs change over time, so old threads may not reflect the true living cost in Zurich at the moment.
2) Living cost comparisons on numbeo may be inaccurate. For example, some prices are completely off for a city I currently live in.
3) Always more reliable to ask locals.

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Before or after taxes?

Tom

After taxes, of course.

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OK, Canadian costs don't matter, as others have said. In my opinion, your estimates are realistic if you don't live downtown (for example, you can get a decent place in Dubendorf for ~16-1800), and shopping the discounters for food etc. will help.

I listed my Canadian living costs and their breakdown across categories to establish a baseline for comparison, so to speak. Always easier to compare apples to apples. I tried to estimate costs in Switzerland in each of the categories, and this is how I arrived at the 3500-4000 CHF range.


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You could also manage the 50% savings on net, but that'll rule out a lot of travel. Staying very cheap becomes a job, and lifestyle creep is real - and I don't mean "getting a Porsche" kind of creep, I mean "shopping at Coop because it's closer."


Just to be clear, I don't think I qualify as being extremely cheap. I do spend money when I feel there is a need to. I travel a lot, don't go to Walmart to buy the cheapest food, dine out, spend on entertainment, etc. What I meant is that if there is a way to save and it doesn't take a lot of time to do so, I will take this opportunity.



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PM me if you want more detailed info. Also, where in Canada are you coming from?


Ontario, I live close to the GTA area. Thanks for offering your help.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 11.02.2019 at 21:06. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 11.02.2019, 18:37
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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Why do you make assumptions about my laziness? I mentioned in the starting post that I had read most of the threads about cost of living in Zurich. I have also studied numbeo and related websites. The reasons why I created the thread are:


1) Living costs change over time, so old threads may not reflect the true living cost in Zurich at the moment.
2) Living cost comparisons on numbeo may be inaccurate. For example, some prices are completely off for a city I currently live in.
3) Always more reliable to ask locals.

Because there are plenty of threads about cost of living that are recent.


Seeing we have no breakdown of your approx figures for living in Zurich t is totally impossible to say whether it is realist or not.


I have no idea if you speak the local language or not, but without it you will certainly pay higher prices than a local as you have no local network nor standards to guide you.
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Old 17.02.2019, 15:10
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

Hi Stanley,


Also Canadian so can offer some advice on prices between the two countries. My annual visit to Canada (Toronto area) confirms my strong belief that Canada is pretty damn expensive in its own right, esp. real estate in GTA the last 10 years.


Other than eating in restaurants (Switzerland 2x as expensive and less variety) and clothes (2x cheaper in Canada), a lot of the prices are comparable, assuming CAD=CHF.


Thus I would suggest your fixed costs estimate for CH to be a bit high, considering no car, no dependents. You can get a nice apartment in Zurich or environs for between CHF1500 and CHF2000, health care is about CHF250 - CHF 350 per month plus the occasional doctor visit. Groceries are not a huge fixed cost, CHF 300 is probably accurate.



Your biggest costs and impediment to saving will be travel, but this is not a fixed cost. A car helps to get around a bit quicker, to the mountains etc. but you may want to start without and assess after a year. If you live in Zurich the public transport is decent and you can get around fairly quickly with a bike, even in winter (not many days with snow or ice on the roads here).


Also remember that the obligatory second pillar pension here can be quite lucrative so consider that your CHF7k to CHF8k net is after having 10 to 20% of your salary put away into a personal pension plan.



Good luck with the move and you can be sure fate will have the Leafs do well in the playoffs the year you move out of Canada.
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Old 17.02.2019, 20:03
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

Where in Canada are you coming from? 95k in Regina isn't a bad salary. Generally for 130k you can have a good life as a single guy in Zurich. Comparable to earning 95k in Vancouver.
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Old 20.02.2019, 15:43
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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Hi Stanley,


Also Canadian so can offer some advice on prices between the two countries. My annual visit to Canada (Toronto area) confirms my strong belief that Canada is pretty damn expensive in its own right, esp. real estate in GTA the last 10 years.


Other than eating in restaurants (Switzerland 2x as expensive and less variety) and clothes (2x cheaper in Canada), a lot of the prices are comparable, assuming CAD=CHF.


Thus I would suggest your fixed costs estimate for CH to be a bit high, considering no car, no dependents. You can get a nice apartment in Zurich or environs for between CHF1500 and CHF2000, health care is about CHF250 - CHF 350 per month plus the occasional doctor visit. Groceries are not a huge fixed cost, CHF 300 is probably accurate.



Your biggest costs and impediment to saving will be travel, but this is not a fixed cost. A car helps to get around a bit quicker, to the mountains etc. but you may want to start without and assess after a year. If you live in Zurich the public transport is decent and you can get around fairly quickly with a bike, even in winter (not many days with snow or ice on the roads here).


Also remember that the obligatory second pillar pension here can be quite lucrative so consider that your CHF7k to CHF8k net is after having 10 to 20% of your salary put away into a personal pension plan.



Good luck with the move and you can be sure fate will have the Leafs do well in the playoffs the year you move out of Canada.

Sorry for having taken so long to reply, I didn't have access to my computer. Thanks for your detailed. This is why created my thread - to people's opinion on my estimates. I suspected that Canada was expensive, and you confirmed it. Interestingly enough, price estimates on popular enough websites are often inaccurate and underestimate real prices. For example, the mean for an estimate for a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant in Waterloo (I live nearby) is 75 CAD. That's ridiculous, I would say the mean should be at least 100 CAD or higher if you add tip and taxes (confirmed by a recent visit). The mean for an imported beer in restaurant is 6.75 CAD. I would say it should be at least 8.50 CAD plus 13% taxes plus 15% tip. I can go on and on.



Is your estimate for 300CHF for groceries realistic? According to my research, one should use the scaling factor of two for groceries (meaning, 600 CHF).



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Where in Canada are you coming from? 95k in Regina isn't a bad salary. Generally for 130k you can have a good life as a single guy in Zurich. Comparable to earning 95k in Vancouver.

I live in Cambridge, ON (KW area). Are you saying that, unlike 95k in Vancouver, one can have a good life for 130k CHF in Zurich or that 95k CAD in Vancouver is the same as 130k CHF in Zurich?
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Old 22.02.2019, 17:34
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

re: chf300 for groceries, well, buying basics at Lidl and only "exotic" stuff at coop can go a long way. Really all depends how much meat you will be buying. Meat=expensive, no two ways about it.
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Old 23.02.2019, 22:59
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

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re: chf300 for groceries, well, buying basics at Lidl and only "exotic" stuff at coop can go a long way. Really all depends how much meat you will be buying. Meat=expensive, no two ways about it.

Gotcha. Meat pretty much defines grocery spending.
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Old 24.02.2019, 00:10
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Re: Another cost of living thread, Canadian moving to Zurich

300 CHF a month definitely works out if you avoid expensive items. Meat every two days (or meat on sale), make your own sauce rather than overpriced ready to eat stuff, buy store brands rather than expensive brands. 300 CHF a month might sound too low for people never really care about what they buy but is totally realistic for the kind of person you seem to be (not meant in a negative way, I am similar myself)
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