What is your food budget?


Sure, actually Im not really sure why I’ve never been to Aldi/Lidl. They are now for some time in Switzerland but I knew them from Germany before. Probably it’s the bad reputation/style of stores/special clientele which prevented me to shop there. But overall, mainly I missed the swiss relation in their intention to expand in Switzerland. I know in the meantime that they are very committed to all environmentally friendly products. I guess I will give them a try sooner or later.

As I mainly buy bio (animal) and swiss products it doesn`t make really a difference to me. Besides the price of course :grinning:

You are absolutely right, but you have to differentiate. On one side, there are 90% of people out there where this statement matchs totally. But on the other side there are a lot of frugal guys (like me :grinning:) who dont`t go crazy because of the loyalty program, but benefit from these goodies. If I buy there anyway, why should I miss this free lunch. Thus, we don’t shop there because of the loyalty program, but use the loyalty program because we shop there.

Assumed products/quality/sustainability are the same, yes there is no reason to buy at Migros/Coop while Lidl is 30% cheaper. But this is a fundamental question if you want to shop there or not - and would fill another thread :wink:


There is no such thing as a free lunch. It’s an illusion - you pay either more (with discount) or extra more (without discount) than competition.


I’d like to add here (althoug i have no way to prove this, it’s my guts feeling seasoned with a close friend being subject to this) the food quality (however defined, however measured & verified) is only one part of the story. another is how the employees do at their company. especially in the discount branch of the market (food discounters, ryanair, flixbus, that super cheap hair dresser or craftsman in general, …) the employees feel alot more of the cost pressure than with non-discounters. There is a huge grey zone of the trade-off between the competitivity of a company at the expense of employee health. Any of the discount companies are in a darker-grey area than the non-discounters.

where one personally draws the line is everyone’s most private decision. In terms of Aldi/Lidl i know employees get ran into the ground because they are depending on these simple jobs, expendable and replaceable, leaving behind long-term unemployed with physical/ psychological damages.


I dunno how it’s nowadays, but a decade or two ago, Coop was the most expensive supermarket and paying the worst salaries for the simple jobs.


Then you’ll be surprised to read this (sorry for the source…)


I think I spend around 60 CHF on a median week on food. (Average week might be higher, because if I have exams I eat in the Uni-Cafeteria quite a bit.)

I mainly buy my foods at Migros and everything they don`t have and staple-foods (legumes, rice, etc.) at an Asian Store. Maybe once a month I pass an Aldi and pick up some of their cheap veggies and fruits.

Some key points to achieve that are:

  • pre-packaged stuff is expensive and spoils quickly
    example: A head of lettuce lasts for more than a week in my fridge. The pack of prepared lettuce spoils in a couple of days and costs 3 times more. And washing your salad is not that hard. (Save maybe 40-60% depending on the product.)

  • pack lunches
    The Uni-Cafeteria would be an option. But I enjoy cooking and can save around 3 CHF/day doing it. For most people a simple packed lunch probably costs 3-4chf of ingredients and their cafeteria/restaurant costs 12-22chf.

  • eat what`s cheap
    If you are attentive, you can find some very cheap veggies and fruits at Migros. They are either on sale or hidden away at groundlevel. You can get a head of broccoli or cauliflower for 1.00-1.50 CHF often but it alternates. At Aldi they usually have 2-3 veggies and 2-3 fruits on extreme sale. If you alternate between Migros and Aldi you can have a decent range of very cheap produce. (Save around 25-50% on veggies with these.)

  • buy in bulk what lasts
    Do you like to eat a lot of rice-dishes or curries? Get a big bag of rice/legumes at your local asia-store.
    Do you like onions? Get a big bag of onions at Migros. Onions last for a loong time at room temperature. (Save 45-65% on a lot of non-perishables with this compared to single piece prices.)

  • no meat
    I think most people spend a lot on meat. Theoretically you could only buy very cheap stuff but I know noone who actually does that. So it is better to scratch it. (Probably save 0-60% on protein stuff depending wether you ate cervelat or steak before and wether you will eat legumes/tofu or fancy substitutes after.)

  • eat what you have first
    I hear the average household wastes almost 15% of the food they buy. (Save 10-15% of your total food budget by being a bit smart about it.)


I agree, this is excellent advice (I especially second the last point: eat what you have first, try to never throw away any food by eating it while it is still good!)


To answer the topic question, mine seems to be around 800chf/month; including:

  • groceries ~300 (mostly cooking for dinners and weekends at home; includes wine too :smiley: )
  • lunch at the company ~250 (very rarely do I prep at home / bring leftovers along)
  • eating out ~250 (probably eat in a restaurant once a week with friends, some to-go food here and there)

I will have a clearer picture (data) after a few more months.
It could probably be optimized, but food is one thing I don’t want to cut myself off on. :slight_smile:


I agree with no meat. A big saver being vegetarians in Switzerland! We get most of our veggies and fruit from Denner, nice and cheaper than Coop or Migros (no Lidl around). We make healthy and tasty home-cooked meals with beans, chick peas, lentils, tofu, and occasional eggs and cheese, combined with brown rice, brown pasta or potatoes (some of these from Migros). If we don’t go to restaurants, we spend about 1000 CHF on food for our family of 3 per month, including some beer and wine.


If you look for discounts, it is definitely possible to eat quite a lot of meat and have a very frugal budget, in Switzerland!

In 2018, we spent about 300 CHF per month on groceries, on average. This is for two people. And we eat a lot of meat. Two days, we came back from Aligro with more than 20Kg of meat.
If we add all the eating out, this makes an additional 200 CHF per month on average.

We buy almost everything at Lidl, a few things at Migros, a lot of meat at Aligro and a few specific things in an asian shop.

I’m very surprised with the numbers from that thread. It seems people are spending more than I thought. And I am surprised that people advise no meat where it is totally possible to have a good frugal food budget while eating a lot of meat.


Isn’t aligro a lot more expensive than lidl? When I was there I wasn’t excited about the prices…


For some things yes, that is why we buy almost everything at Lidl.

We mainly buy pork at Aligro. We eat a lot of pork and most of the pieces are significantly cheaper at Aligro. Some pieces are 50% cheaper per kilo, but you have to buy large pieces of several kilos.

We also buy some chicken. For instance, Chicken legs are much cheaper at Aligro if you buy packs of several kilos than at Lidl. But some other pieces of chicken are cheaper at Lidl.


So we did a lot of optimisation last year in the groceries budget section. I won’t go into actual numbers because everyone is different and everyone calculates their food budget differently (e.g. cleaning products != food, having a separate budget for eating out etc.) but here are a few observations I made:

  • we were able to cut 30chf per week from our grocery budget by eating vegetarian (we weren’t eating a lot of meat before)
  • dairy products are surprisingly expensive and if you eat a lot of them, as I do, they can easily make up 30% of your groceries bill
  • all ready made stuff and that includes sweets especially is incredibly expensive, Swiss chocolate bars like Ragusa, etc - almost 2chf a piece. that adds up.
  • it is easy to accidentally buy stuff that is not in season or shipped from somewhere over the rainbow when not paying attention in the veggies section … for example sweet potatoes at Migros which I found at 8.90chf per KG (normal price around 1.50 per KG)
  • all forms of alcohol will increase your weekly budget substantially but still cheaper than going out for drinks
  • even Aldi and Lidl carry brand products which can be up to 3 times more expensive than the regular stuff they sell. Shampoo at 1.50 vs 4.99 for Head & Shoulders, 2.67 vs 6.99 for Barilla Pasta (why would anyone buy brand named pasta?? its the same damn thing …)
  • products labelled Swiss are rarely more “animal friendly” than imported products. The label “Swiss” means absolutely nothing.
  • one of the cheapest breakfast products for me is porridge. You can’t beat price / calories for porridge. It is also healthier than bread based breakfast.
  • if you are into fitness one of the cheapest sources of protein is actually protein powder. If you are shopping for protein rich foods you can easily overspend and end up with poor protein sources. I personally cut down on meat and protein enriched products and instead switched to substituting more with protein. It might not be very healthy but neither is eating any other pre-package stuff.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

I used to pay no attention to any of these things before discovering mustachianism. Its surprising what you find when you look more closely.