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Old 27.01.2009, 07:40
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Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowance)

Hi everyone,

I had done quite a lot of search in this forum and i apologize if I missed any similar post in this forum hidden somewhere. I am now relocating from UK to Zurich and I had some relocation allowance which I think I better buy something in bulk (not food) for myself so that I can save some money on my first year of stay in Zurich. It is not a long term solution but every tiny saving means a lot to me.

I plan to ship some cookery, tiny electrical appliance and then now I am making a list of items for bathroom, kitchens etc.. what are the essentials that those are from the UK would buy/bring in bulk to Switzerland? I plan to have a year supply of shampoo, detergent, toilet rolls etc as I can use my allowance to cover the shipping cost. Thanks!
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Old 27.01.2009, 08:12
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

Shipping loo roll has to be the daftest and funniest thing I've heard in ages.... thanks for brightening up my morning. But, if you are so serious about saving... on loo roll maybe looking in the meat counter will send you back to blighty. Oh and the Swiss are known to wash there hair and clean house as well as wipe there nether regions so you will not save to much there either. Those things will not really save much, and just clutter a place, and have you considered things like the deposits on an apartment and furniture? I would suggest forgetting the Andrex and VO5, see what you need when your here, and then commit your relo' allowance.
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Old 27.01.2009, 09:11
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

Is your relo allowance fixed in £ or CHF? If it's a fixed £ amount and hasn't been adjusted you'll find it won't stretch as far as it did since the pound is much weaker now.

If cash flow is going to be tight, why would you bulk buy and stock pile non-perishables? If you want to watch the pennies, there are several discount stores here like Denner, Aldi and even Migros and Coop do special offers. Shopping around here will help you with your budget.
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Old 27.01.2009, 09:19
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

I really am a firm believer in traveling light.
I once read a post by someone who brought nothing and just bought from Ikea when they came. Apparently it saved them a fortune on shipping. It also gave them something to do while learning the ropes of the new country and they slowly replaced things over time for better quality items.

Seems reasonable to me. And even with my frugal mentality, I really do not like too much bulk buying. If you have more, you use more...

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Old 27.01.2009, 09:29
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

hi all

thanks for all the replies

actually i should make my situation clear, my relocation allowance is in ch and it is stated that it can only be used for shipment cost, they wont pay for anything else and i cant keep the remaining allowance. thats why i have this weird idea of just shipping everything over.. it sounds odd i know.

i have been to Switzerland b4 but then during my last visit i hadnt really that a good look at the price of some daily essentials. we do plan to buy our furniture from Swiss Ikea when we arrived. Just wonder since i still have some empty boxes what else should I get from the UK (i am not saying think r better in the UK, just bearing in mind that it may be cheaper in the UK as ponds is so weak now)

Any more suggestions? Thanks! 
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Old 27.01.2009, 09:41
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

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Any more suggestions? Thanks! 
I suggest you rethink your plan as relocation allowances can be considered taxable income... that could end as the world's most expensive TP
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Old 27.01.2009, 09:43
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

If that's the case I think there is no point in clearing Tesco of bog roll, honestly. Many of the things you mentioned are fairly similar in price here, so you would gain little or nothing. Food has the biggest cost differential, with meat an outragious price... but then most people come here on increased salaries so I guess that's the price we have to pay.
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Old 27.01.2009, 09:53
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

I was in the UK over Christmas and bought myself a George Formby grill things and a CrocPot slow cooker for an American friend. Pretty cheap, both 20 quid each. So maybe appliances might be your thing! The grill you may be able to find here, but I'm told the CrocPot is pretty hard to come by. Adaptors cost about £5 each here (plugs here are different to the rest of Europe). You might want to pick up one of those power strips so that you can plug several UK plugs into it and only use one adaptor.

Other things I bought whilst I was there (admittedly because the £ was cheap).... clothes, outdoor stuff, Books/DVDs/CDs that were on offer, posters, a smoke alarm (£3 from Wilkos!), some tea bags and crisps, some specialist sauces (that I can't easily find here), robinsons orange & vimto.

Last edited by digg; 27.01.2009 at 10:16.
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Old 27.01.2009, 10:16
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

Dont forget drugs!! Paracetamol etc costs an arm and a leg here. Stock up on bathroom cabinet medicines.
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Old 27.01.2009, 10:20
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

hi thanks again for the suggestions! And I was just going to ask abt drugs, do we have to pay for the contraceptive pills in Switzerland if we r on health insurance? In the UK I always got my prescription for free every three months.
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Old 27.01.2009, 10:24
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

You have to pay for the pill so you should bring a supply with you.
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Old 27.01.2009, 10:29
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

We did the same, we left all our furniture behind and bought new in Germany, saving us around 30% on costs fo furniture and shipping fees.
We only shipped personal effects and essentials..


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I really am a firm believer in traveling light.
I once read a post by someone who brought nothing and just bought from Ikea when they came. Apparently it saved them a fortune on shipping. It also gave them something to do while learning the ropes of the new country and they slowly replaced things over time for better quality items.

Seems reasonable to me. And even with my frugal mentality, I really do not like too much bulk buying. If you have more, you use more...

Gal x
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Old 27.01.2009, 10:35
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

One thing that I really miss living here in Switzerland is going out for dinner. It is really really expensive. So while you have been told not to stockpile TP, I might also suggest going out for cheap and cheerful dinners and drinks before you get here. It is one thing that has really been cut back living here and when I am back in Canada, it is one thing that I LOVE doing. You can get almost everything here, it is just at prices that will sometimes overwhelm you. But you can get over this. What I miss the most is just stopping in to have a yummy sushi dinner, dim sum or curry for a reasonable price. Good luck with your move!
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Old 27.01.2009, 11:24
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

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Dont forget drugs!! Paracetamol etc costs an arm and a leg here
I know relocation can be a headache but seriously....how many paracetamol can you take?
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Old 27.01.2009, 12:08
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

The only thing I can think of which is cheaper in the UK than in S. are 'bedlinens'. They cost a fortune in Switzerland...

(And maybe clothes, also cheaper in the UK.)
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Old 27.01.2009, 12:22
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

Don't forget everything you bring over must be declared in detail. Even though personal items are free to bring with you when you relocate here, they might not like seeing huge amounts of new products which are obviously being imported and you may get charged duty on these items.

If you want satellite TV over here I would recommend importing either a SKY or FreeSat box though.

The pound may be cheaper but are you buying with CHF? I guess if you have NOT started working here yet, then you are buying with money you earnt in UKP's.
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Old 27.01.2009, 12:22
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

I always grab ibuprofin, savlon, and tea bags when I go back.

Not sure of the allowance for bringing them over though.

It is a good idea to bring over extensions and adaptors, particularly if you plan on bringing UK electrical appliances.

As oldhand said, you have to pay for the pill, so bring as much as you can with you. I pay CHF 50 for 3 months supply (Mygrogynon 30). Note that you can't claim this back on your health insurance.

If money is going to be tight then shop around. I used to check all the local stores for the offers. Denner have a magazine with all there deals, and Migros and Coop ad. in the free papers.

Good luck with your move.
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Old 27.01.2009, 13:20
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

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actually i should make my situation clear, my relocation allowance is in ch and it is stated that it can only be used for shipment cost, they wont pay for anything else and i cant keep the remaining allowance. thats why i have this weird idea of just shipping everything over.. it sounds odd i know.
Have you tried to negotiate this?

With a little gentle persuasion perhaps your company might be open to using the relo allowance (or a portion thereof) for household set-up in lieu of shipping...

(After all, in these troubled times, would it not seem sensible that money provided by a Swiss company be spent wisely in Switzerland, benefiting the Swiss economy - rather than frittered away in the UK? )

I've learned through many moves that traveling light is the best way. That which seemed an absolute necessity from afar often proved to be a cumbersome burden once settled into my new life.

But if I had a chunk o' (someone else's) cash to fritter away...

I'd scour my favorite bookshops for all the out of print and obscure titles I'd always been meaning get around to reading, and bring those with me. English language books are expensive here, and selection somewhat limited. I've learned that my library is one of the few true 'necessities' worth toting around with me. When trying to find my way in a new country, when hit with the 'stranger in a strange land' blues, I've always found an evening spent with a good bottle of wine and one of my favorite authors a sure-fire cure.

In any case, I'd bring something a tad more enduring than loo paper.

But can't hurt to ask if there is any room to negotiate how the allowance is spent.

Best of luck with your move.

Last edited by meloncollie; 27.01.2009 at 20:00.
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Old 27.01.2009, 13:26
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

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I'd scour my favorite bookshops for all the out of print and obscure titles I'd always been meaning get around to reading, and bring those with me. English language books are expensive here, and selection somewhat limited.
Amazon-like site for second-hand books:
http://www.abebooks.co.uk

I use it a lot because I prefer to buy hard backs and this is an economical way to do it.
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Old 27.01.2009, 13:36
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Re: Relocating from the UK. What to buy in bulk in UK (make use of my shipping allowa

Wiring Swiss plugs on UK 4 gangs is much more convenient than connecting via an adapter. I have at least one of these in each room. I have lots of 3 in 1 way wall sockets and I have noticed that the size of the UK adapters prevent me using more than one plug at a time.

I assume you have picked up the tip that the Swiss appear manufacture their appliances a tad smaller than UK appliances. I assume this is to assure they fit when exported. The concept that imported foreign appliances wont fit in a gap made for a Swiss appliance won't have occurred to them ;-).

I had an issue with a Swiss made remote control using a set of frequencies that conflict with a European compliant device. The Swiss Volume Up is fast forward on the Euro DVD. I have yet to investigate if this is operator error!
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