Cost of living in Switzerland: basic facts
Swiss residents still have comparatively high disposable incomes and purchasing power. Workers in Switzerland require considerably less time to earn enough to buy universal products such as a Big Mac or an iPhone X.
Although salaries are higher and taxes lower than the European average, a large portion of gross income goes towards mandatory health insurance and other deductions.
Most people rent accommodation because property prices are high and a large down payment is required.
Main household budget categories
Housing & energy
Housing and energy account for an average of 16% of the monthly household budget. As a rule, your rent cannot surpass one third of your monthly salary. This puts a clear cap on your housing budget when you're looking for apartments to rent. Landlords or real estate agencies will deny your rental request if the rent is higher than a third of your monthly salary.
Entertainment & leisure
Entertainment and leisure account for about 13%. Eating or going out in Switzerland is not cheap and you won't easily get used to paying CHF 8 for a regular beer or a glass of wine (yes, A glass, it's no type-o). But you'll soon learn which places serve cheaper beer or what to order where.
Transport will account on average for about 8% of your monthly budget. To find out more about traveling cheap in Switzerland, have a look at our article on public transport.
Food & beverages
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 7% of a typical monthly household budget. For tips on saving money on your groceries, have a look at this article.
Average cost of rental appartments
The cost of renting an apartment in Geneva for instance is higher than in New York or Paris and twice as much as in Amsterdam or Brussels. A two-bedroom apartment in Geneva will cost between CHF 2,300 and 3,500 per month. Renting a house costs twice as much as an apartment.
An average two-bedroom apartment in Zurich will be in the price range of CHF 3,300. A studio will cost around CHF 2,500. Despite these high prices, Zurich scores well in terms of public transport accessibility and tax rates.
Do you have specific questions about cost of living?
We'd love to give you a better picture of what life in Switzerland will be like for you. If you already have a job and salary offer in Switzerland, get in touch and we'll explain how you can manage in Switzerland with your income, depeding on your future place of residence. Taxes are sometimes lower within the same canton, so it's good to know this before you move.
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