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Old 16.10.2011, 09:30
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

Ours changed significantly - but that is moving from the US. Any deviation from the American diet is probably for the better.

In the world of food, I find shopping over the border is MUCH cheaper than shopping in Switzerland. Meat is radically cheaper, most other stuff is marginally so. Last weekend I had my first grocery bill over €100 - but i can clear 200 CHF at Migros without breaking a sweat. You have to pay attention to import rules, especially if you like red meat. On the other hand, if you're a vegetarian, you're not going to see nearly as a big difference. When I was here on my own doing assignment work, I could feed myself for 20 CHF a day. (Granted, it was NOT an exciting diet, and included a daily 14 CHF lunch at the canteen which always represented a great value.) Dining out is MUCH cheaper over the border, too.

However, there is a certain amount of hassle - I happen to live within 15 minutes of the Rhine in two places (Laufenburg and Waldshut) and Saturdays in these towns are positively ridiculous. I also don't bother with VAT reclamation, though that could save money.

Rents in this part of Switzerland are high to my taste (about on par with Los Angeles). Insurance is a big one. However, and this is so peculiar, in this very expensive little country, even buying mostly Swiss, I find I have more money at the end of every month than I did in a "cheaper" country like the US. My wife and I have talked about this many times...we think it's just that we buy a lot less stuff, since so much of it is so dear. (that it costs 60 CHF for us both to go to a movie, and 60-100 CHF to have dinner out really shocked us, for instance)

Good luck on the move!
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  #22  
Old 16.10.2011, 11:29
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

Of course there is 'dinner' and 'dinner' - if you go to a top Michelin star restaurant in London it will set you back a lot more than this. Here a good meal in a nice local restaurant will be about 90 for both of us. The choice of wine makes a big difference too.

Huge variations in the cost of hotel accommodation and restaurants depending on the area. The further away you eat from GE or ZH the cheaper it gets, without loss of quality (avoiding tourist traps like Montreux, Zermatt, Verbier, Interlaken, etc, of course).

A dinner in Covent Garden won't cost the same as a great pub in, say, Yorkshire.
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Old 16.10.2011, 11:38
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Good question. I'll be interested to read others' answers. For us ...

Health insurance for a family of four. Hands down. We pay close on 1000 Chf per month, but shop around as it can be done for cheaper.

Then household bills (heating water etc). After that, food, 3 mornings a week playgroup for the 3 year old and running the car all come in at much the same level, give or take a hundred francs.

Similar threads on the topic of how to eat well for less however have inspired me and our food bill is now noticeably less than it once was (particularly MarieZug who wrote recently that she feeds the family on roughly 100 Chf per week .. you have plagued my shopping trips recently (but in a good way!))
Glad to have inspired you!

Our biggest expense by far is childcare + private kindergarten costs. 3 days a week, 2 kids = 2,700 sfr a month. I'm working on an alternative from early next year when fees will increase. These 2 weeks of school holiday usually mean an extra 500 sfr in holiday camp fees, but I flew my mum out from Australia to babysit (using mostly air miles).

Mortgage was less than 800 sfr last month, but going up again this month. Anything saved goes into an eDeposito account with a higher rate of return than out mortgage. Health insurance is paid by the employer.
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Old 17.10.2011, 17:31
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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... and prepare to be shocked at the high price of asian food over here, especially sushi rolls!
Agreed. We started to make our own for this very reason. Plus, those small boxes of sushi we get at the supermarket just never fulfill our massive appetites for the stuff. I know it can seem like a chore but honestly, as long as you keep essentials on hand (i.e. rice, nori, rice vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger), you just grab your produce/fillings on the day and it's ready pretty quick. Mmm..lush.
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Old 17.10.2011, 17:44
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Agreed. We started to make our own for this very reason. Plus, those small boxes of sushi we get at the supermarket just never fulfill our massive appetites for the stuff. I know it can seem like a chore but honestly, as long as you keep essentials on hand (i.e. rice, nori, rice vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger), you just grab your produce/fillings on the day and it's ready pretty quick. Mmm..lush.
now I'm hungry and inspired... do you have a place for fish you like, or do you keep it veggie?

Since we've moved, we definitely eat in more, partly because it's expensive to eat out or grab some takeout compared to the US and partly because I'm not working and have time and energy to make dinner most nights. We weren't eating a lot of meat before, but we still definitely eat less here. I also plan out meals more than I used to - rather than going to the store and picking something at random, I'll find things on sale and work out a meal a few days ahead.

A big part of my diet is beans, so I've taken to cooking up big pots of beans and freezing them and using as needed. Both cheaper than canned and it's also easier to find a variety of dried beans than canned beans (I haven't seen canned black beans, for example)
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Old 17.10.2011, 17:55
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

Depends on monthly take home salary.
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Old 17.10.2011, 18:09
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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now I'm hungry and inspired... do you have a place for fish you like, or do you keep it veggie?
Just veggie for now. I've had some horrific morning sickness with my pregnancy, and developed an aversion to most seafood. We do avocado, carrot and cucumber. Normally though, I'd be putting in shrimp and I also usually luv salmon.
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Old 18.10.2011, 07:39
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Glad to have inspired you!

Our biggest expense by far is childcare + private kindergarten costs. 3 days a week, 2 kids = 2,700 sfr a month. I'm working on an alternative from early next year when fees will increase. These 2 weeks of school holiday usually mean an extra 500 sfr in holiday camp fees, but I flew my mum out from Australia to babysit (using mostly air miles).

Mortgage was less than 800 sfr last month, but going up again this month. Anything saved goes into an eDeposito account with a higher rate of return than out mortgage. Health insurance is paid by the employer.
Hi there, trying to find the post she's talking about... would like to also read it. Where can I find it? Thanks
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  #29  
Old 18.10.2011, 09:40
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Agreed. We started to make our own for this very reason. Plus, those small boxes of sushi we get at the supermarket just never fulfill our massive appetites for the stuff. I know it can seem like a chore but honestly, as long as you keep essentials on hand (i.e. rice, nori, rice vinegar, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger), you just grab your produce/fillings on the day and it's ready pretty quick. Mmm..lush.
We have ONLY eaten home made sushi since arriving here! Huge change to when living in Paris.

Unfortunatetly never been brave enough to prepare sushi for lunch (at work). Generally at work it's (good) leftovers from the night before heated up in a microwave - just can't get round the idea of paying 10 CHF for a sandwich or 15-20 CHF for something hot.

Otherwise for us, changes are as others have described - less meat, more dairy, promo stuff from migrso/denner/co-op, weekly/fortnightly aldi run, and finally stuff from France every 2-3 months or so.

And eating out doeesn't really exist anymore (well there's a cheap and cheerful pizzeria in our town, that's basically it).
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  #30  
Old 18.10.2011, 10:17
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Hi there, trying to find the post she's talking about... would like to also read it. Where can I find it? Thanks

I think this is the post you are asking for

http://http://www.englishforum.ch/1337847-post18.html

It was something of a throw away line but chimed a chord with me as I have often thought that I should be able to keep to a 100Chf weekly budget but usually find I cannot. All the more intriguing is that MarieZug says she does not budget, but instead I think making a menu plan, a list and sticking to the list is key.

Calling Mariezug ....
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Old 18.10.2011, 10:30
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

I am not long living in Switzerland and I must say I am really scared about most of food prices.
In all the countries I lived (and they were some), honestly I really never got concerned about how much food cost. Sure I checked carefully the price when something should be an expensive item (seafood, olive oil, alcohol...) but never really drove me crazy about meat, eggs, milk, cucumber…

I don’t know if I changed my habits already, but I really look now very carefully to every price on my basket, and I never made that in the past…
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Old 18.10.2011, 10:37
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

Here, I eat much more veal, lamb, rabbit, game, and cheese, and less beef.

Fowl, pork and fish/seafood about the same, though perhaps the types of fish have changed (we often eat octopus here, for example).

I almost never buy canned or frozen vegetables here, canned tomatoes being the main exception.

I go through 4-5 times as much olive oil as I do butter these days as well, rarely used olive oil in the US.

And of course, wine is now the main beverage rather then beer.

Tom
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  #33  
Old 18.10.2011, 10:38
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

You are all missing one important point: It surely does change you, but the best part is when you are used to Switzerland and then go on vacation: "They can have a steak for less than 50 USD! In a restaurant!" - it feels awesome.

I left Switzerland two months ago but still feel happy every time I go to KFC or like today have beef rendang for lunch (for about 4 CHF).
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  #34  
Old 18.10.2011, 11:30
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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I think this is the post you are asking for

http://http://www.englishforum.ch/1337847-post18.html

It was something of a throw away line but chimed a chord with me as I have often thought that I should be able to keep to a 100Chf weekly budget but usually find I cannot. All the more intriguing is that MarieZug says she does not budget, but instead I think making a menu plan, a list and sticking to the list is key.

Calling Mariezug ....
It also helps not having an EC card and having to take cash to Lidl. they don't accept credit cards and 100 sfr is all I take with me. I add up as I go in my head and it always seems to come to 93 - 105 sfr. It means I can't buy any extras like kid's clothes or flowers/plants. One trip into Coop and a few things seem to come to 50 francs.

Making a list and not buying pre-prepared things. Plan your meals around what is in your cupboard or freezer then buy what's missing. Vegetables, fruits, a few packs of meat, bread, loads of milk and yoghurt, rice, sandwich ham and a pack of diapers. The only tinned things we get are tomatoes, kidney beans, corn and chick peas.
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Old 18.10.2011, 11:41
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

I try to keep my average meal cost under 5 francs during the week. Then splurge with a good 200 franc meal at a nice restaurant.

Not as economical as back in Canada, but I've gotten used to it.
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Old 18.10.2011, 13:34
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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I am not long living in Switzerland and I must say I am really scared about most of food prices.
In all the countries I lived (and they were some), honestly I really never got concerned about how much food cost. Sure I checked carefully the price when something should be an expensive item (seafood, olive oil, alcohol...) but never really drove me crazy about meat, eggs, milk, cucumber…

I don’t know if I changed my habits already, but I really look now very carefully to every price on my basket, and I never made that in the past…
I've been a student in Germany, France, French West Indies and the UK and have always had to adjust my budget to where I was and according to how the locals ate!

Doing it here on arriving doesn't feel strange in that way, it's just part of the adventure!
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Old 18.10.2011, 13:47
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

Depending on your current eating habit the cost could actually go down. Recent visit by relatives confirmed many food prices in Australia (SEQ) are actually higher than here in Switzerland.

changes
+ higher cost of red meat means you eat less
- but don't cut it out completely if you have grown up on a-steak-a-day or your iron levels will plummet and you will be on iron supplements
+ you actually look at other meat varieties. T-bone and eye fillet are not the only types of meat. I have tried horse, deer, ostrich and duck. Things I would not have tried otherwise. But I still balk (sp?) at veal and rabbit. Duck breast on the barbie is fantabuloso!
- at my local butcher i found a leg of lamb for 33 CHF per kilo
+ you can't buy mint sauce or jelly here so there is really no point
+ the swiss have better quality chicken, eggs and dairy.
+ there is so much good chocolate that you OD and then stop eating it
+ bread is great so long as you do not buy regular sliced bread, because that is meant for the toaster
- there is no fluride in the water so you have to buy fluride gel and brush it on once a week.
- the freezers are tiny. So you can't buy in bulk and freeze. The fridge/freezer is integrated into your kitchen.
++ Alcohol (when consumed at home) is significantly less because of the tax back home. Smoking is also cheaper if you are that way inclined.
++ AND when the snow comes back you don't need an esky. Bonus!
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Old 18.10.2011, 14:00
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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I am moving to Zurich next year for an exchange with my family and have been wondering if the cost of food (compared to Australia) or the variety have changed your eating habits from home? Do people travel across the border to alleviate the cost of food? Do you go without many things? Do you buy up in bulk? Do you buy meat by the beast? How do you cope? How have your eating habits changed? Any help greatly appreciated so that we can get some idea of what we will be in for next year.

when the exchange rate was good I shopped in Germany more, but now I feel like it doesn't make a difference. Plus I like Swiss quality groceries more anyway.

The biggest difference in food consumption is that I don't eat out hardly ever (maybe once a month at the most) whereas before moving here I ate out all the time. It simply costs too much to dine out at a restaurant in Switzerland.
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Old 18.10.2011, 14:04
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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I've been a student in Germany, France, French West Indies and the UK and have always had to adjust my budget to where I was and according to how the locals ate!

Doing it here on arriving doesn't feel strange in that way, it's just part of the adventure!
My sentiments entirely. What is the point of going abroad and eat like 'back home'? Of course, we all like the occasional treat from 'back home' - but adapt we must, and it is great fun. I would have died in London if I had wanted to eat like 'back home in CH' in the early 70s - half died of walking around looking for it first, then died of poverty!

Like all those Brits who go to Spain to drink lager and eat fish and chips and beans on toast, saying 'you won't catch me eating that foreign muck!'.

KF - there are restaurants and .. restaurants. Here we can have the days menu week-days lunch for about CHF16- and an excellent dinner out for 2 with a decent bottle of wine would be about CHF 90, for really good food. Location, location, location, as everywhere.
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Old 18.10.2011, 17:42
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Re: Does the cost of food change your habits?

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Depending on your current eating habit the cost could actually go down. Recent visit by relatives confirmed many food prices in Australia (SEQ) are actually higher than here in Switzerland.

changes
+ higher cost of red meat means you eat less
- but don't cut it out completely if you have grown up on a-steak-a-day or your iron levels will plummet and you will be on iron supplements
+ you actually look at other meat varieties. T-bone and eye fillet are not the only types of meat. I have tried horse, deer, ostrich and duck. Things I would not have tried otherwise. But I still balk (sp?) at veal and rabbit. Duck breast on the barbie is fantabuloso!
You've never eaten veal? Not even a schnitzel?

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- at my local butcher i found a leg of lamb for 33 CHF per kilo
+ you can't buy mint sauce or jelly here so there is really no point
Mike from the British Cheese Centre has two types of mint jelly ... or so he says. Last two times I've gone to get some (we've had it from him before) he told me, "It's in the warehouse, honest!".

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+ the swiss have better quality chicken, eggs and dairy.
+ there is so much good chocolate that you OD and then stop eating it
+ bread is great so long as you do not buy regular sliced bread, because that is meant for the toaster
- there is no flouride in the water so you have to buy flouride gel and brush it on once a week.
You also need to provide babies/toddlers/young children with extra flouride, one dentist advised a pea-sized dollop of flouride toothpaste per day (to help with tooth development!).
For myself, I brush at least once a day (usually twice) with a flouride toothpaste.

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- the freezers are tiny. So you can't buy in bulk and freeze. The fridge/freezer is integrated into your kitchen.
Buy a deep freezer. Then you can buy up every pack of meat that's at 50% because it has to be sold that day, freeze it up, then thaw & cook at your leisure ...

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++ Alcohol (when consumed at home) is significantly less because of the tax back home. Smoking is also cheaper if you are that way inclined.
++ AND when the snow comes back you don't need an esky. Bonus!
I quite like my large balcony in winter ... can really stock up on beer!
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