Cost of living in Switzerland?
Switzerland is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Taxes are relatively low, but insurance, services and food are expensive. Swiss residents still have comparatively high disposable incomes and purchasing power. A 2012 purchasing power study ranked Zurich first and Geneva fourth internationally. Workers require considerably less time to earn enough to buy universal products such as a Big Mac or an iPod Nano.
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Prices in Switzerland compared to Europe
Prices in Switzerland are higher than the European average. The 2014 Mercer Cost of Living Survey ranked Zurich and Geneva as the fifth and sixth most expensive cities in Europe. Housing and utilities, as well as food, healthcare, clothing and leisure activities cost more in Switzerland. Transport, electronics and telecommunications are at similar levels to the rest of Europe. Petrol is cheaper than in France and Italy, but the costs involved in owning a car are high. In spite of the Eurozone's current instability, Switzerland's policy of enforcing a minimum exchange rate to the Euro has been successful in keeping the inflation rate just slightly negative since late 2011.
Average monthly expenses in Switzerland
Although salaries are higher and taxes lower than the European average, a large portion of gross income goes towards obligatory health insurance and other deductions. Most people rent accommodation because property prices are high and a large down payment is required. Housing and energy account for an average of 16%, transport 8%, entertainment and leisure 13% and food and non-alcoholic beverages 7% of a typical monthly household budget.
Source: FSO, Statistical Data on Switzerland
Cost of living in Lausanne
An average two-bedroom apartment in Lausanne will be in the range of CHF 2,200.
Charges and utilities include building heating and maintenance costs and are added to the monthly rent. The charge is partial and the actual usage is calculated later, then either invoiced or refunded. Electricity is billed directly to the tenant.
A deposit of the equivalent of up to three months' rent is payable before the contract is finalised. Living outside of the city centre is one way of paying less for accommodation. Properties at the lake or in cultural precinct areas have higher rents.
Housing prices are at least 4200 CHF per m2 and can reach up to 9500 CHF per m2. A married couple with two children will pay 10% of a gross income of up to CHF 100,000 towards tax, 14.4% for gross incomes of up to CHF 200,000 and 22.7% for CHF 500,000. Compulsory health insurance for the family can cost up to 13'000 CHF, depending on the type of coverage.
A coffee or beer costs around 4 or 5 CHF and lunch at a restaurant around 25 to 40 CHF. Dinner at an upmarket restaurant is likely to cost at least 100 CHF per person. (Source: Lausanne.ch).
Ways to save money in Lausanne include choosing carefully when and where to shop, and taking advantage of discounts and promotions. Public transport, and seasonal sales are other ways to save.