Saving money in Switzerland
Because of the generally high cost of living in Switzerland, opportunities to save money are a welcome relief. There are several ways to save money in Switzerland - all it takes is a bit of research and the right information.
Saving money on culture, leisure and entertainment
The Museum Passport offers discounted entry rates to museums. Pair it with a combination train offer from SBB/CFF. Group buying sites such as Groupon or Deindeal (DE/FR) feature a range of product and service promotions.
Saving money on clothes and household goods
Seasonal sales in Switzerland are held in January and July so it can be worth the wait to find bargains during these months. Department stores are a good place to start. Another great place to search for affordable hidden gems is in Fribourg's "Brokenstube" or second hand shops. These can be excellent places to find china, glassware, books, furniture and more.
Find more shopping suggestions in the article Shopping in Fribourg.
Saving money on transport
Even though petrol is cheaper in Switzerland than in France or Italy, using public transport instead of owning a car can save you money. The Swiss public transport system is efficient, reliable, clean and safe. Read more about it in the article Getting around Fribourg. Another affordable transport alternative is Mobility car sharing.
SBB/CFF offers several travelcards, supersaver tickets, and saving options for holidays and day trips. The half-price fare card and the junior card provide particularly good value for getting around Switzerland. Learn about more ticket options in the article Swiss Public Transport System.
Also, in the Canton of Fribourg, each city offers a limited number of "carte journalière" for the special price of CHF 35. This card allows an unlimited full day travel in Switzerland. The purchase location depends on where you live (for example, the local travel agency). You must purchase the card for a specific date and it is recommended to request it well in advance as the number of available cards is limited. Find more information on SBB/CFF (DE/FR/IT).
You should also take advantage of Switzerland's well-organised and extensive bicycle route networks, listed on Swiss Trails.
Saving money on accommodation
As with retail sales, waiting before booking holiday accommodation can pay off. If your plans are flexible, booking accommodation at the last minute through Swiss Hotel Portal or Swiss budget hotels can be worthwhile. Also try searching for budget hotels and holiday deals in Switzerland on REKA or considering staying in a hostel.
Supermarkets and loyalty programmes
Because of their bulk buying power, prices in supermarkets are generally lower than in smaller shops. Search for weekly special deals on Aktionis (DE) to save on basic household items. Items that are close to their sell-by date will be marked down.
Cost saving tip: A good time to shop for discounted food is after 5 pm on weekdays and on Saturday afternoons (until 4pm) shortly before store closing times.
Many larger retailers run points-based loyalty programmes with cash-back vouchers and other offers. Two such programs are the Migros Cumulus card (DE/FR/IT) and the Coop Supercard (DE/FR/IT). Two other low cost supermarkets in Fribourg are Aldi (DE/FR/IT) and Lidl (DE/FR/IT).
Read more about expenses and prices in Fribourg in the article Cost of living in Fribourg.
Shopping in countries across the Swiss border helps to save money on groceries, clothing and household goods. The tax-free limit is CHF 300 per person. However, there are some special regulations concerning certain goods for tourist traffic across the border.
Cost saving tip: The VAT (Value-added tax) on items purchased outside of Switzerland can often be reclaimed. Information leaflets are available at customs offices at border crossings. Note: L and G permit holding residents cannot claim VAT.
Online shops like Ricardo (DE/FR), Tutti (DE/FR) and ebay.ch (DE) can also be great places to find deals. However, when purchasing items online, make sure to check that they will be shipped from within Switzerland. If not, they will be subject to potentially steep VAT fees.
Save money on phone calls
Comparing prices of products and services
Price comparison sites such as Comparis or Toppreise are useful tools to consult in order to find the best prices on a range of products and services. Einkaufen und Sparen (DE) is a programme to help you receive packages from Germany that do not normally ship here.
Air travel bargains
Frequent flyer programmes offer air travel savings and special deals from partners. One commonly used air miles programme in Switzerland is Lufthansa's Miles and More. Easy Jet is another popular choice for cheap air travel. Catch flights from Basel, Geneva and limited flights from Zurich. Also check Vornesitzen (DE) for travel deals.