Cost of living issues?

Is it possible to live under 2000/m, maximizing savings for FIRE?

You can check examples here, starting at 2300 per month:


Sure it is - rent a room for <500chf/month, eat only meals at home, and cycle everywhere you go.
“Live” is relative thought.


It will certainly depend on your family size. With an increase of children or health issues, your budget may skyrocket.

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Sure. But maybe focusing on educating yourself and earning more is better?


It’s possible but probably not a good idea? Life is for living and you shouldn’t waste your youth. Do you think 70 year old you will be happy that the 20/30 year old you spent their time being cheap and missing out on experiences and opportunities to grow into the best version of yourself?

Like all things in life - find a good balance. Make sure you are valuing your current self’s time, experiences, and personal development and then save some CHF for the future (max your pensions, invest a bit more on the side, try maximise your income/promotions, etc.)


You can always save rent by living under a bridge. So anything is possible. I think one could get living costs down to below 1k/month.


I budget rougly:

Housing and utilities 2’500
Health 1’000
Food 800
Child care 1’200
Transportation 500
Various purchases 500
T&E 500

In sum 7’000 CHF a month.
To be fair, purchases and T&E as-is may be more 2’000 combined.

That’s for a family and we are not very frugal.

Without kids and some frugality (no car, reduce T&E and purchases, go camping, no 5* all-inclusive trips), you get:

Rent and utilities 2’000
Health 600
Food 600
Child care -
Transportation 100
Various purchases 250
T&E 250

That’s 3’800 a month for a couple. Or with room mate.
1’900 per person. 100 extra extra savings.

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What about taxes and house insurance?

2’000 seems a bit low for a couple for rent and utilities, there’s rent, internet/tv access, 2 phones, electricity, serafe, waste disposal fees.

Also only 100 for transportation for two persons seems very low, except if you live close to your workplace, which is often not possible with a cheap apartment.

I liked this by mistake… Doesn’t sound so terrible that one has to put live in quotes lol :smiley:

You can get single accommodation for 1’000 CHF (including rent, internet, electricity, TV licence and waste collection). Could be a stretch in Zürich (City), but should be possible within commutable distance.

I was living a little under 2000/month in Zurich. Here was my tight budget (taxes and vacations are excluded). The appartement had issues but it was in a nice location near the lake.

What cost
Rent (paying half) 1050
Health insurance (Assura) 266
Transportation (biking, occasional train/tram) 60
Food (mostly Migros/Lidl) 300
Fun 100
Clothing 30
Electricity/water 30
Dentist 40
Phone/Internet 42.5
Netflix + TV 10
Civil Responsibility insurance 10
Total per month Fr. 1’967.50

I didn’t say it’s not possible, but it will be a crappy apartment. I had an apartment in Lucerne while I was studying for CHF 650 per month, but it was really crap and that was almost 10 years ago. For a student ok for 3 years, but I personally would not live in such a cheap apartment now that I’m working, only to retire earlier.

But everyone has his own preferences. As someone else said, you should find a balance between current consumption and future needs. I always think of the worst case, e.g. retiring at 50 and one year later I die, was it worth it to spend my best years living “bad” then?

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You are right, please don’t challenge me too much on this quick proposal. And I considered just expenses, after taxes.

However, 20 min from Zurich you can find 3, even 4 BR for 1’800 warm. Of course, it’s older buildings with smaller rooms and lower interior standard. With 4 BR you could even rent out a room if that’s your thing and lower it to 1’200 net for two.
For other “utilities”, it could be like this:

Internet 40
2x cheap phone plan or prepaid (or covered by employer) 40
Insurance 7.5
Electricity 60
Newspaper or others 22.5

Sums to 200.

Transport I considered just one person, my mistake. Depends where you live and work, of course. 20min from the city you need more, if you need to commute daily to the city.
With waste disposal if you mean the garbage bags, I get these and hygiene articels from the supermarket so they are part of my food category. Lunch at work is there as well, whereas dining out and drinks are T&E. It’s not a science, just my categories to keep it simple.

What I wanted to say is anyways not precise numbers or tips how to save (there’s plenty of posts in the forum) but just give an example to the initial question “is this possible?”. My answer is: yes it can be, without living under a bridge, but you need to compromise and be lucky, e.g. no high dental or medical bills.


No, where I live you need to pay an annual fee for the waste disposal, so that the garbage men will pick up the trash container, but may be different in other cantons.

I totally agree with you that it’s possible, just not a life I would like to live :slight_smile:

A lot has to do with your tax liability. In my experience, a single person or even a frugal couple can live on 2000 francs per month. The deciding factors are whether you are willing to share a home with other people (WG), whether or not you need to commute (trasportation costs), and your health condition (whether or not you need a low deductible and/or visit dentists).

If you rent a room in a shared home or coliving space, use the cheapest mandatory health insurance, use Flixbus, blablacar, etc. instead of a car or SBB, adopt free or very cheap hobbies, and do red-dot shopping at Denner, then you can certainly live on 2000 francs a month, not accounting for taxes.

Taxes are, of course, dependent on how much you earn, and how much you can deduct. If you have a low taxable income, then you may qualify for things like health insurance premium reductions.


Personnally I am at less then 2000 CHF/month for a couple, and I would say we have an easy life, no hardship. We do not have a budget, it just comes like that.

Flat is at 1610 CHF/month, for a 3.5 room, just shy of 70m2, and my credit card bill is lower than 1500 CHF/month right now, which is rather high because we just moved because of a job change of mine.
No car since my work ist at a 5 min bikeride (same for trainstation which is a main station between Zurich, Basel and Bern). We mostly use SBB/postbus to get around.

Food : I am lucky my wife is Indian which means we can cook deliciously for low costs. Not much meat (mostly a weekend special). We often cook 4 portions at once , and the second portion goes for lunch the next day (sometimes even 2 lunches). Rice, spices, lamb, some fruits and vegetables from the Turkish/Indian store, the rest from Lidl/Migros/Coop. We could easily reduce by having less alcool.

For internet and phone we are at 25 CHF/month plus a one time modem cost (120 CHF). My phone is covered by employer, internet and phone of my wife via digitec + second simcard.

Hobbies : hiking, I bought the UL gear once, now there is only transport costs to the trailheads. For hiking shoes I wait that my favourite model is in sales (I need about a pair/y). Just bought a folding canoe (of course used) yesterday, which will be also used extensively over the next 5-10y at least (Actually every single part is replaceable which should give it a rather high lifespan).

Not much restaurants (like once per 1.5 month), and often paid through lunch check card of my company. Mostly we invite/get invited for fun evenings/picknicks.

I guess where we save a lot is :

  • no car, not much daily transport since I live close to work
  • restaurants to a minimum (anyway most of the restaurants are so disappointing here, even the pricey ones. We cook better and healthier than most of these. Of course less fancy, but better)
  • Flat which is according to our needs (I do not get how some couples need a 5 rooms apartment). Kitchen and living space is huge, 4 people can easily stay over at our place, more if you go to student mode by laying out camping mattrasses, but we never needed to do it actually. I even think we could have settled for smaller, but we couldn’t find anything with a proper layout.

Again, these costs just fall into place, we are not really looking at expenses. For big ticket items (like the canoe), we looked for used stuff which is as good as new (in this instance 900 CHF instead of 2000-2200 CHF).This is quite an exeptional expense.

Taxes are not counted here, I have about 1200 CHF/month of Quellensteuer, but I am always getting something back.


GJ man, posts like this are really inspirational.

Welcome to Olten then? :wink:

Can’t we all cook deliciously at low cost? I mean, nationality shouldn’t be an obstacle, should it? :thinking:


Sorry to disappoint, but nope.

Advantage is, that Indian still eat a lot of vegetarian food, and it does not look like “we forgot the meat” (we also eat non veg, but on an irregular basis, and we regard it as “special meal”). I think European have forgotten, that not so long ago, meat was actually kind of a luxury (the Sonntagsbraten).
Just a side note, in India, it is mostly wealthier classes who are fully vegetarian through the cast system/ for religious reasons, not the poorer classes.