Swiss life hacks list

Hey Mr. RIP,
nice collection!
@health insurance: i currently pay ~240 for a flexcare model in zurich. according to, the lowest price is with Assure, CHF 235. personal reasons make me not swich :wink:

@transportation: within Zurich i can go 100% with my roadbike around the year. This takes me on pair of rain pants. so technically i could go downt to ~CHF 300/y. However I kept record for the last year on how much I would have spend on public transport, and with halbtax it would have been just above the cost of a GA, so i stick with it^^

@Cumulus: if you can spare the time, could you give some numbers on how much that saves you? It might be interesting for me since i live in a 6 person household and we dont do that as of yet… I am very interested! see the other thread :slight_smile:

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@nugget thanks for the website. Never used it before. Is it really full of good opportunities?

As for healthcare, would you mind sharing why you don’t wanna go with Assura?

Just reacting on the Billag thingy. This drives me crazy to throw CHF 39/m away while I never use the service they back-up with this money…

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A couple of things:

  • Cablecom is never only the price you see in internet. Usually when you pay rent on the extra fee there is a “telecommunication” fee. this is a basic cablecom subscription of 30 chf per month hidden in the extra charge of your rent. I was lucky enough that my “Verwaltung/Regie” decided to go for transparency and had cablecom send me the bill directly instead of hidden! And I was paying 59+31.5 per month instead of 59!

  • another thing regarding health insurance: and are known to hidden certain results from their search and to receive commission from the casse maladie/krankenkassen. Please be sure to use the official tool of the government which is really well done:

  • Billag: I know I listen to a lot of radio (mostly RadioSwissPop, RadioSwissJazz, Radio SwissClassics) and the fact to have a radio without people talking and with me that I don’t have to make any decision on what to listen is very liberating :slight_smile: I see my 480 chf p y of billar as contribution to those radio + the 4/5 programs about political initiative that I watch every year :smile: a little expensive but I don’t have spotify to compensate :slight_smile:

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Awesome, thanks!
I didn’t know about!

Whaaaaaat? transportation costs above the GA? Wow, you travel a lot. So why mentioning that you go by bike in Zurich?

Cumulus: I have a cumulus fidelity card, not credit card (but I plan to have a credit card too, it’s the only one in Switzerland with no yearly costs).
With the fidelitycard, on every purchase you do you get by default 1% back in terms of “points”. Once you have 500 points (500 CHF spent), you get 5 CHF discount.
But… every month or two you get coupons at home. Some of them have cumulus points multipliers. You usually get a 5x every 2 weeks. plus a lot of 2x here and there. A 5x is essentially 5% back in cash. Sometimes you get 10x on M-Electronics or other multipliers for other Migros shops like ExLibris, Micasa, AlNatura. If you don’t shop there regularly it’s not worth.

Hey MrRIP,
thanks for the cumulus info. during the running year i spend chf 250/month at supermarkets. As of yet i dont resolve which one, but coop should be the majority since the shop locations are more convenient for me, and their paying machines accept cash and dont require cumulus :smiley:

@GA & bycicle: in town, the bicycle is faster. it’s that simple. also the fitness aspect, but for me this is second to urban agility.
to be frank, my GA cost me ~CHF2200, and in the 12 months before october I used up CHF 2300 worth of HalbTax service. Almost everything from that is out-of-town travels: Alpine sports, friends & girlfriend, other hobbies,… I think i would still purchase as long as i consume more than CHF 1800 worth of service. That is my personal mindset and admittedly slightly non-mustachian :smiley:
on the other hand, i think i would reduce my usage if i had to pay for the ticket each time. depending on the future price politics on GA, i might abandon it.

Regarding transportation :
+1 For the bicycle, especially if living in urban area. I would add that big saddlebags are a good plus too (aim for 60 liters), as it allows to go for groceries where it is cheaper, and not where it is closer to home (More on groceries later).
If one does not need to take the train an a regular basis ( a daily work commute for instance), I would say that it is not worth it to pay the halb tax : if one knows when he will take the train, buying a “Spar ticket” on the SBB website already gives a 50% discount.

Regarding telecommunications :
-For my cellphone I use a prepaid card at sunrise. I only use data when Wifi is available (I realized that most of my data usage is when i am at home or at work). For phone calls, i try to use Whatsapp as much as possible with Wifi. With this strategy, the last time I recharged my prepaid card was in May (20 CHF) , and i have still 12 CHF on it.
-For internet usage I have the basic DSL Sunrise subscription ( I don’t need fiber optics). It costs me 40 CHF per months.

Regarding Groceries :
I will only talk about the city I live in, that is Zürich. If we have a bicycle with big saddlebags, then it become easily possible to shop at Lidl (there are two in Zürich, near Binz and near Oerlikon), even if we don’t live close.
This, for me, beats easily a Migros/Cumulus points strategy because prices at Lidl are already 30% cheaper as elsewhere.
I know that Lidl has received a lot of criticism (and is often associated with bad quality) but frankly, having compared both with a fresh eye when I arrived in Switzerland, Lidl quality for vegetables and meat is quite good, and most of the food comes from Switzerland anyway. The only big difference is in the packaging, which is not worth a 30% difference for me.
If I, on the other hand, want really good meat at a fairly good price, I recommend the Carmelio Fleisch Market near Letzigrund.

Misc :
Facebook is full of groups publishing second-hand ads, like this one :

These groups are often full of bargains, if one is patient and quick to react. For instance, i bought there my touring bike (worth >1500CHF) for 250CHF and I also managed to buy there a wardrobe furniture for free.

Finally, regarding life in general in Switzerland, we can say that as soon as we need someone else to do something for us, it is going to cost a lot because, well, everybody has a good salary here, right?
So a very good advice would be to learn the skills of the everyday life that make us much less rely on others.

Hope this helps!


Transporation: Mobility

  • If you want/need to have to use a car occasionally, check out Mobility
  • You have a big selection of models available from Smart to Transporter Van
  • If you become member of the co-op (CHF 1000 co-op capital + CHF 250 one time fee), you don’t have any recurring further fees
  • Tip: Use public transportation for the distance possible and mobility for the lasts mile

mobility is great. I feel I have the same flexibility as having a car but no hassle (maintenance, parking, etc) Combined with a GA is very powerful.

I can recommend the Coopmobile annual internet subscription on top of the prepaid card. It costs 99CHF per year for unlimited 4G (uses the Salt network). Great for working remotely with the laptop or doing conference calls. Also, there was a mention that the Cumulus credit card is the only free one in Switzerland, but that isn’t so. I have one from Coop which is also free.

Hi @pombeirp,

Did you do some tests concerning coverage ? Or are you just using the mobile internet in one place that has good signal ?I’m thinking of switching to Salt myself but remember from the days of Orange that the network is much worse in some areas than Swisscom.

I’ve been happy enough with signal (at least to the point where I wouldn’t pay a premium in order to get better signal in those few areas that need it). The only situation I’ve seen coverage problems is when skiing, some valleys have little to no cell coverage. That isn’t an issue for me, since if I’m skiing with my family, I don’t really need my phone. On urban areas, I see absolutely no issue. But every personal situation is different, so it is up to you to see if that can work for you.

The yearly mobile abo is not available anymore. But the prepaid one is grear also. I switched from salt to coop. It was the same betwork, the same call center. All if the sudden i didnt have to pay to check my mailbox, the calls or four times cheaper and there was no more those hidden charges impossible to track due to the lack of a monthly bill.
Transfering my number was difficult. Nobody knew how to do it. Also in stores they didnt have the right size(for iphone-micro ). I had to buy one in store, go to 3 stores to port my number, then call the hotline with my exiting number and have them send me the card. Its possible. They were all trying to get me to buy the subscription.

I had assura, family doctor, then switched to sympany. The reason was i will have some doctors visits this year and i was nervous. The reason i was nervous is because assura reumburses you after you paid the bills. I called them and they said that if its an operation or a really big amount , they will pay directly. In december i sent them 20 bills and even then they reimbursed me in one month. There were 2 issues, i had 2 identical bills and they didnt cover one and they didnt listed on the response paper as rejected. They fixed that right away when i emailed them. Another was that they requested the original of the paper and not the mahnung (again because there were 2 bills, i didnt realised, only paid one and received a mahnung for second). When i called the clinik, they said assura is difficult.
I didnt have that expirience. I would assume it is even easier if you send the bills as you receive them. You save 2-3000 per year on insurance compared to the easiness of sympany where you save 10 chf per year because you dont send the bills per post but take of picture in your app.

Regarding my previous life hack with CoopMobile (99.- yearly internet plan) which is no longer available, my plan just expired, so I have something new to share. I’ve changed to the new prepaid plan, which is 4.90.- per month for 500MB (calls are 0.15.- per minute to any swiss phone). This is already not bad (and comes out to half the old price if you don’t use a lot of data) but the exciting news is that they don’t cut of data when you don’t pay the 4.90.-! Rather, they will just cap your speed (probably the equivalent of an EDGE connection) to a point where navigating is painful, but receiving mails, WhatsApp, and even making WhatsApp voice calls is feasible. This sounds like the most mustachian you can get at the moment in Switzerland.


I’m currently using LycaMobile for my data sim (in a dual sim phone), it’s a little cheaper - 3.25 Fr/500 MB. But if CoopMobile gives you free data for life I might switch to it! Don’t really need much data on the go

On the website however they claim only first 10 MB is free - is this bit just about 4G high speed surfing? Reduced speed is not limited to 10MB?

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Yeah, that was my doubt going into it. It seems that the 10MB is indeed just about 4G high speed. To me the most important is not being completely disconnected (i.e. still being able to receive a WhatsApp message). Don’t really care about high-speed on the go, and if I do, I can always cough up 4.90.- for a full month of high-speed data (or 500MB, whichever comes first).

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There is another hack for mobility that I have done. If you become a lifetime member of mobility you don’t ever need to pay the yearly subscription. Basically you buy a share in the cooperative for 1000CHF (which is fully refundable if you ever want to quit mobility) and then you never have to pay the yearly subscription. Unfortunately there is also a one off 250CHF enrolment fee (I joined last year and did not have to pay the fee so it is a new thing). The hourly and km rates stay the same.

You can see the details in the following link.

It worked out nicely for us. Invested 1000 CHF and saving 150/200 CHF a year (plus I get my 1000 back if we ever leave Switzerland).

Note: just saw that @ElMago had posted this info already but hey, worth repeating in case someone missed it.

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