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Old 12.07.2012, 22:11
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Saving money on food

Dear EFers,

I will be living in Zurich for about 4 months doing a study abroad and I was wondering on what are some ways for me to save money. Being a student I have an obviously tight budget and I am wondering how should I plan out my weekly meals and how should I shop to make the most out of each Franc? In addition, do prices differ between ethnic stores and regular supermarkets?

Thanks,

ruchiksy
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Old 12.07.2012, 22:30
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Re: Saving money on food

This important topic comes up frequently enough that I feel it needs its own sticky.
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Old 12.07.2012, 22:43
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Re: Saving money on food

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This important topic comes up frequently enough that I feel it needs its own sticky.
the other day, I went on an expedition to see how much things we regularly purchase cost - i checked Migros, Coop, Denner, New Asian Market, and Barkat. I found that Migros and Coop don't generally differ too much (Coop wins on our milk, Migros wins on our frozen spinach), Denner is cheaper for canned goods and some fresh goods (e.g., yogurt) but doesn't carry a lot of things, and Barkat is cheaper for fresh produce and some fresh dairy/meats, but can be way overpriced on canned goods and frozen veggies. [new asia market doesn't have many of the things we purchase regularly, except tofu and coconut milk, which are way cheap].

So! I would suggest making a list of the 20 or so things you purchase the most of (e.g., for us: eggs, milk, chickpeas, cereal, canned tomatoes, head lettuce, whole chicken, etc...), and then trooping around to various groceries to see how much things cost. In all, it took me about 1.5 hour, including walking time.
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Old 12.07.2012, 22:48
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Re: Saving money on food

Check out what is on special as many supermarkets have loss leader items which go on sale for a week and they advertise these in their newspapers. Buy in bulk and use the freezer (if possible), for instance if making a tomato sauce/stew/etc cook more than one meal and freeze the leftovers.
Make sure you find out when the stores reduce items to 50% which are nearing their sell by date, in Migros it is normally around six in my local, but Co-Op it is a little earlier. By all means do check the prices of independent stores but I doubt they will be cheaper for tinned goods and milk/bread.
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Old 12.07.2012, 22:48
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Re: Saving money on food

There is only one way, and that is to change your eating habits!

I just spent two weeks in the US, ans spent MORE on food than I do here!

Why, because I was mostly eating the same stuff!


Sure, beef is cheaper for cheaper cuts, but the same cuts here/there are almost the same.

Wine, almost 2x the price in the US for the same stuff, same for cheese.

Avocados, USD 2.20 a pop, today at Coop 0.95!

Of course, junk food was much cheaper ther, but not our thing...

Tom
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Old 12.07.2012, 23:28
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Re: Saving money on food

See this thread for lots of great suggestions and tips - Eating on CHF 50 per Week. Is it Possible?
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Old 12.07.2012, 23:33
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Any who lives in Basel should visit the Bell factory shop, every day they sell the over produced items for about 1/4 of marked price. It's in Elsasserstrasse about 200m from the St Louis border.
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Old 13.07.2012, 01:48
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Re: Saving money on food

How about eating at the University canteen? here at the "Uni Mensa" Zurich they offer daily lunch meals and dinner meals and you pay around 5 Sfr per meal using your student card, nothing beats that price-wise. They will also open on Saturdays and you can have lunch there, the food at the Uni Mensa Zurich is quite good, I don't know where you are going to study though. The prices between the different Canteens at the University and ETH Zurich vary heavily, the Asians Canteen is awesome but you pay up to 16 Sfr per meal.

HTH
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Old 13.07.2012, 07:42
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Re: Saving money on food

Shop at the discount stores (Denner, Aldi, Lidl) or across the border if you can.

Shop late in the day when some meat and produce are often marked down by 25-50%.

Eat less meat. Eat more veggies.

Plant a garden.

Shop in ethnic stores (often cheaper but not always).

Don't eat out. If you really need a treat, go for a crepe.

If you do eat out, don't order a drink with your meal.
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Old 13.07.2012, 08:35
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Re: Saving money on food

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Eat less meat. Eat more veggies.
Well that explains our enormous grocery bill then. We eat heaps of meat and veggies.
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Old 13.07.2012, 11:37
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Re: Saving money on food

I agree with anowheels suggestion. We have seen that some products are cheaper in some stores (don't ask why)

Denner & Aldi seems cheaper that Migros and Coop (Coop by far the expensive one of the 4). However, there are always deals in every store (and differs from branch to branch of the same store as well).

So, you need to do your homework, write things down and keep validating this on a monthly or quarterly basis (as everything keeps changing)
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Old 13.07.2012, 11:44
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Re: Saving money on food

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Any who lives in Basel should visit the Bell factory shop, every day they sell the over produced items for about 1/4 of marked price. It's in Elsasserstrasse about 200m from the St Louis border.
Never knew they had a public counter there. I shall have to give it a go.
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Old 13.07.2012, 12:38
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Re: Saving money on food

Found shopping at Aldi, Lidl & Denner to be best.

Denner is a bit pricier than the other two.

Aldi & Lidl are almost affordable.

Migros / Coop are no go zones.
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Old 13.07.2012, 13:13
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Re: Saving money on food

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Found shopping at Aldi, Lidl & Denner to be best.

Denner is a bit pricier than the other two.

Aldi & Lidl are almost affordable.

Migros / Coop are no go zones.
Agree with Gaz... almost all of our food comes from Aldi and Lidl...
Denner often has good deals on packs of pop or other drinks.
We purchase only special items at Migros and Coops.. like name brand things you can't get anywhere else or if Coop has 50% off meat or other things as a poster above mentioned.
The best bread we have found is from Manor or Lidl
We buy from Aldi: yogurt, fish sticks, pizza, flips, honey, noodles and sauce, cereal/fruit bars, nuts, canned tuna, milk, apfelschorle, fresh orange juice, (and fruits/veggies), butter
We buy from Lidl: fresh meat, bacon, cheese, frozen veggies, frozen potato cubes, salad bag, salad dressing, bread, (fruits/veggies), butter
I often go shopping with only 20-30chf and end up with a heck of a lot more shopping at lidl and aldi than going to coop... hope this helps.
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Old 13.07.2012, 15:54
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Re: Saving money on food

Who needs food when drinkable wine is 5chfs per bottle. Well, that was my way to save on food expenses....
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Old 13.07.2012, 16:01
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Re: Saving money on food

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Who needs food when drinkable wine is 5chfs per bottle. Well, that was my way to save on food expenses....
You're paying too much, Denner has a great Barbera di Piemonte for less than CHF 3/liter!

(try finding that in MA! )

Tom
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Old 13.07.2012, 17:58
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Re: Saving money on food

I agree with the previous comments: I personally like a combination of Aldi and Denner, my wife likes Lidl.
Otherwise, but requires a car, shop in Germany or France; or Italy if you live in Ticino.
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Old 13.07.2012, 19:19
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Re: Saving money on food

Well, it depends, not everything is cheaper in Aldi or Lidl,

and not always you'll find similar and/or cheaper products over the border (which is also an advantage because if you like it different and you live close to the border, then Italy or France are good alternatives, also in terms of VAT return up from the euro amount for the old 300.000 Lit with regard to Italy, but mainly because of the difference in choice).


Coop is very good for its precooked or already prepared products (and if you come late the day, as already stated above by another user, they are often priced down) you can only have partially at Migros and forget Aldi and Lidl for that.

Vegetables and fruits are better at Coop and Migros too (or for sure in Italy), but Aldi gained some point lately at least imho (sent my mother over to try out and got surprised).

If we are talking Aldi and Lidl, and you got not (yet?) used to German way of food, you hardly will like it for many of their products but also for their layout and mktg concepts (outside city centres, kind of cool poorish ambiente, no coffee bars e.g.).


Switzerland's products - in comparison to prices abroad - are relatively low priced in terms of bread, cake and sweets (and they are good, too, what is no easy task), milk products, electronics of course, sometimes coffee (also if less than in past times), wine, clothes).

And sugar, flowel and basic stuff like species, salt, onions, garlic, bread etc. cost really quite nothing. Who loves cooking (and has room and time for it) doesn't need to spend a lot on good food.
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Old 13.07.2012, 20:05
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Re: Saving money on food

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and not always you'll find similar and/or cheaper products over the border (which is also an advantage because if you like it different and you live close to the border, then Italy or France are good alternatives, also in terms of VAT return up from the euro amount for the old 300.000 Lit with regard to Italy, but mainly because of the difference in choice).
Indeed, don't save a lot on many things in Italy (in fact I buy electronics here to bring there), but lots of things that one doesn't find here (anchovies with truffles, for example).

Rarely make special trips for shopping, though when my wife lived 100m from the border in Stabio we did, but now generally just do some shopping when we go visit the cousins near Luno once or twice a month.

Tom
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Old 13.07.2012, 20:19
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Re: Saving money on food

Some tools that might be useful to find deals and bargains:

http://www.facebook.com/aktionen.schweiz

SmartShopper App by Comparis

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See the display of matching special offers and bargains

- Explore special offers and bargains at all major retailers such as Migros, LeShop, Coop, coop@home, Denner, Volg, Manor Food, Spar, Aldi, Lidl etc.

- See the location of the nearest shop on the map

- Simply hide retailers which are not interesting for you

- Directly access Smartshopper via the “Search” or “Top Offers” widget.
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