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 Neuchâtel
Credit Suisse found that renting a 90m2 apartment in Neuchâtel would cost an average of CHF 1620 CHF, excluding charges. The study also found that housing prices have increased by 76% over the past five years.
Charges and utilities include building heating costs and maintenance and are usually added to the monthly rent. Initial charges are partial and the actual usage is calculated later, then invoiced or refunded. Electricity is billed directly to the tenant.
A deposit of up to the equivalent of three months' rent is payable to finalise the contract. Less expensive accommodation can be found in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Val-de-Travers region. Rentals are higher in Auvernier, Colombier and around Boudry. Generally, the further the residential area is from Neuchâtel, the lower the cost. Ways of saving money in Neuchâtel include using public transport, choosing carefully when and where to shop, and taking advantage of special offers and seasonal sales.