How to Tweak & Stretch Your Swiss Household Budget

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The year is flying by – and let’s be honest, how many of us have stuck to our new year’s resolutions? How are your budgets and spending looking so far in 2023?

Now is a good time to take a pulse check.

In this article I’ll be covering the areas you might have overlooked, and give you some ideas on how to tweak and stretch your Swiss household budget.

Considering the cost of living, inflation and everything else happening in the world – there is no better time to take a fresh view of your personal finances and budgets in order to squeeze out a few extra Swiss Francs.

I’ve picked out my top 3 areas to focus on first, with suggestions for each with more details.

Hopefully you’ll get some ideas to apply to your situation – so let’s get into it.

🎁 Reader Bonus: I’ve partnered with Zak to bring Investing Hero readers (that’s you!) a 50CHF welcome bonus when you open a free account. No strings attached and no BS. Just use the code HEROCH to claim your 50 bucks.

First though, a quick reminder before I outline these 3 topics: Take a look at some of my other budget and educational content first.

It’s important for you to understand your ‘why on earth am I doing this’ motivation and have some clear goals in place for your future state with regards to your personal finances.

Without this guiding ‘north star’ you might find it harder to stay motivated and focused on your budgets and personal finances over the long term.

1: Identify Your Expenses: Breaking Down Your Budget

I’ve written before about how to break down and manage your budget, but it’s important to emphasize again the importance of this foundational groundwork.

A clear view on your budget will enable you to see where your money is going, and how you can control it.

You might think this is tricky – but typically budgets for all of us are very similar and can be broken down into the same buckets. Zak pots are great for this.

So, things like –

  • Housing (rent or mortgage, maintenance)
  • Utilities (water, electric, phone, internet etc)
  • Taxes
  • Insurances (health, car, housing etc)
  • Transportation (be it SBB tickets, or car costs such as fuel, maintenance, winter tyres)
  • Food & Drink
  • Subscriptions & services (Netflix, where you bank etc)
  • Leisure & fun

Taking the time to work out which companies, contracts and payments fall into these buckets is a worthy exercise. What stands out from your list?

2: Cut Back on Unnecessary Expenses: Where to Start

Once you’ve mapped out all the costs to your various buckets, its time to start picking each item on a case by case basis to identify opportunities.

There are a few different ways to do this. If you’ve never optimised anything relating to your budget, then I would recommend focusing on the big-ticket items first for maximum impact.

Consider the 80/20 Pareto Principle – where ‘80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of causes’. If you’ve never optimised, the chances are you’ll save a boat load of CHF simply on reviewing your mortgage, insurances and taxes.

If, however, you’ve already negotiated the big-ticket items (firstly, well done!) then you can still apply the 80/20 rule to what remains.

Subscriptions are an easy one – just cancel them for 30 days and see how life goes without them. If you haven’t used the gym membership, consider pausing it. Try the bike to work one day a week. Switch up your grocery shopping to Aldi a few times a month.

And you don’t need to be paying for a bank account these days. Zak for example, offers Swiss grade banking for free. Another easy cost saving.

See how your spending buckets (and life) look like after switching things up. Chances are, you’ll still feel fine – and save a few hundred CHF each month in the process.

3: Boost Your Income: Finding New Ways to Earn More

Once you’ve gone through and tweaked your expenses, you might be thinking – ‘what next?’.

Again, there are a few ideas to consider. But start with what’s in front of you. For example:

Out with the old: Check your wardrobe with a quick spring clean

Many of us are guilty of buying more than we need (myself included) and hanging onto items ‘just in case’ that one day we’ll need them again. And that easily happens with clothing items in particular.

But do you know when was the last time you wore that shirt or dress? Chances are it was a lot longer than you realise.

So, here’s a quick spring clean hack you can try out: Put all your clothes backwards on their hangers in the wardrobe, and then check a few months later which items you’ve used. Then consider selling those items you haven’t used. You’ll get a cleaner wardrobe and make a few CHF along the way.

The spring clean also works with other items 😉

Your current employment: When was your last salary increase?

One of the biggest jumps in income comes from changing roles and getting a salary bump at your existing employer.

Make sure to start digging internally before looking outside at other companies – the grass isn’t always greener, and there could be opportunities you haven’t seen.

What are the internal roles & development opportunities available, what are the pay grades, and would an internal move make sense (not just financially) for your career?

And remember, it’s important that you are able to clearly demonstrate the business value youare bringing to the company in order to help salary discussions. Show your impact in hard numbers to those around you to support the process.

And finally: Don’t forget the obvious!

It’s easy to overlook the fact that who you bank with can have an impact on stretching your household budget.

Yearly fees, poor interest rates and other account related charges are all areas you can optimize quite easily now – particularly with the likes of Zak who offer free account opening and a 50 CHF welcome bonus.

Not a bad start.

And despite the economic challenges we have today, these make for some great opportunities for savers.

You’ve no doubt read a lot about the negative news concerning rising interest rates, but for those looking to sit on their CHF, you can now start to generate more interest on your cash deposits.

The rising rates mean there are more options available to help your cash work harder. With Zak for example, you can get 0.75% on your deposits with no strings attached.

This is a no brainer to generate some sweet interest!

Closing thoughts

Hopefully this article has helped you identify areas in your budget to improve and free up some CHF – and then go a step further with increasing what is coming in each month.

As mentioned above, consider the Pareto Principle 80/20 when tackling (not just finances) this task and you’ll set yourself up for the biggest impact.

Good luck!

Thanks for reading,

🎁 Reader Bonus: I’ve partnered with Zak to bring Investing Hero readers (that’s you!) a 50CHF welcome bonus when you open a free account. No strings attached and no BS. Just use the code HEROCH to claim your 50 bucks.

About me

I’m a British expat who’s been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I’m a digital marketing professional by day, and anonymous investing blogger by night. I cover investing basics, robo advisor reviews and epic how to guides. You can call me ‘Mr. IH’ for short, and read more about me here.