February 4, 2013

You're moving too? Part Two...

So in my other post I covered some basic amenities costs to consider/include, housing, and transportation. In this post, I was thinking of talking about groceries & necessities and health insurance (incl. other insurance as well). 

Grocery Shopping!

The cost of your monthly groceries is subjective. Do you eat a lot of meat? Do you eat seasonally? Do you buy in bulk? Do you wait for sales? Do you care about name brands? Are you trying to reproduce the same meals from back home? etc etc etc... All these things come into play...anywhere really...whether you are in Switzerland or not. We know our first trip to the grocery store will be expensive because of all the regular in stock items we have to buy new (spices, cleaning products, baking essentials, etc...). But really, everyday groceries will be about the same for us. We figured this out by doing a mock shopping trip online here at the COOP. This being said, the coop is not the only shopping option. I have read on the forum that Denner, Aldi and Lidl are all stores that offer certain things on the cheaper side. This particular thread on the English forum on food saving costs is also helpful. We don't plan on having a car, and our alternative to carrying lots of heavy groceries is going to be to get a grocery delivery once a month. For that big once a month order, we will buy all the heavier items (drinks, milk, flour etc...). All other things (bread, fruit, etc) I will get during the week by myself. The grocery delivery does not cost much (I actually saw advertised on the coop site that from now until February 10th, if you spend more than $200, you get free delivery!)...totally worth not breaking your back, especially if you live in an apartment building without a lift or have toddlers to deal with. Also, if you have never been to CH, the actual size of the refrigerators there might shock you/make you cry. Welcome back to the college/university life of tiny fridges! 
This is the average size of a fridge in Switzerland...yup.

 You might be wondering...why? Why would anyone want this tiny thing in their kitchen? By the way, they are not (usually) stand alone over there, rather built into the kitchen like a cupboard (often looking like a cupboard too). It's a Swiss thing. Most Swiss go grocery shopping daily. It is what it is. Fresh bread is bought daily at the local bakery. Leftovers are not usually the norm. You buy fresh what you eat that day or in the next couple of days. When I lived in CH, there was no Sunday shopping whatsoever and during the weekdays, shops closed during lunch for a couple of hours (Most Swiss go home for lunch, and school children too). This is still the norm for some areas, but not all anymore. Zurich especially is more accommodating. 
Is it weird that I am actually looking forward to this? I hope to cut down on our waste. It will be a nice change to have a quiet Sunday...just hang out as a family and cook a special meal together (that we bought the ingredients for before hand...because the local stores might be closed of course! ;) )

Health Insurance etc...

As i mentioned before, health insurance costs money and it is mandatory in CH.
Also another thing that is subjective...so I will just leave you this really helpful link to a site called Comparis. You can find health, travel, auto, etc... insurance there (in english too).

I now leave you with a few other online shopping sites that I have found throughout my research (and bookmarked for future use) that you might also be interested in....
*I have not ordered anything from these online stores yet, just saved them on my computer for possible future need...so, basically, I have no idea of their quality...

kidoh.ch (looks like a fun kid's toys store in CH)
allforkids.ch (another kid's store...but things that are US & UK made available for people living in CH)
kinderschaetze.ch (I am sensing a kid theme here...)
americanmarket.ch  (over priced, but if you are desperate for a piece of back home)

*I will add more as I come across them*

Stay tuned for part three!


  1. Yes, I am stalking your blog! ;) By the way, I used to shop at all 5 of those grocery stores in any given week. I would look at the mailers (you should subscribe to the Coop and Migros newspaper type thing) and plan my shopping based around what was on sale. Also, from your first post, we only had cell phones while we were there. I wonder if we were breaking the law or something by not having a land line? haha!

    1. i LOVE comments! so feel free to stalk as much as you want! ;)
      that is definitely the smart way to shop! did you find that you spent way more money on groceries in CH? did you have to cut out anything you loved?
      don't quote me on the home phone thing...i could be totally wrong! :)
      thank you so much for stopping by!

    2. you know, we never felt sticker shock at the grocery stores, but I think that's because we're from a more expensive city in the US (san Diego). A friend from Michigan, however, went home empty-handed after her first visit to a Swiss grocery store. she was totally freaked out by the prices. Even now, we buy organic food and shop at Whole Foods, so I don't think we will notice a difference in our grocery bill if we move back.

    3. we did a lot of trial grocery trips online and came to the same conclusion. our initial couple grocery trips will be expensive (getting the regular supplies into the cupboards), but i think after that it should be about the same. i think a lot of people don't think about the the taxes/income factor....a dinner out at a normal restaurant here in canada can cost $50-$75 for two people (not including drinks) and then add tip etc... if you make minimum wage ($10.25/hr) that is expensive! in CH we spent about the same on a dinner (and much better quality! with drinks!) and hourly wage there on average is about 4 to 5 times as much an hour (on the low end!). i think if people took a closer look at their finances/spending habits/cost vs. their wage they would be shocked.
      we live in a small (but growing) town about an hour outside of toronto....the cost of a two bedroom apartment is between $1,200 and up up up! insane! looking at apartments online for CH i am amazed at the lower costs (in some areas that are not that far from bigger areas at all!) and more space (and beautiful views!). i know paying for health care will be a big cost, but it all evens out...
      sorry, i kind of went on a babble rant there... ;) can you tell i get excited talking about CH?

    4. Babble on! It totally get it. Just reading your blog and others on your blog roll is making me sooooo excited about the idea of moving back. We are in contact with my husband's old supervisor who received the job application, so fingers crossed!! Don't get me started on the apartments in CH. They are so beautiful compared to what you get for the same price in San Diego...

    5. That is so exciting!!! When do you hope to move back? We have our fingers crossed for July....which area all depends on where Justin gets a job offer...definitely check out the you tube girl Julia Graff http://www.youtube.com/user/TheThirdShift/videos lots of fun Swiss videos to get you even more excited! :)

    6. OMG that girl's videos are so fun!! love the most recent one (hiking with all the cows...) honestly we have no idea when this move would happen. it really all depends on if my husband gets the job. It's basically our one shot at moving back. If it doesn't work out, then I am not sure what we'll do.

    7. fingers and toes crossed for you guys!

    8. Thanks! Fingers and toes crossed your hubby gets multiple job offers!


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