1. To reduce your rent, move further away from Geneva and Lausanne: prices drop as you head away from the cities. Geneva is famous even within Switzerland for its high rents due to a severe housing shortage.
2. Use the Internet to find the best deals on services and products. For example: Comparis provides quotes and comparisons for many major Swiss services including insurance, finance and telecommunications.
Kelkoo is a French company that compares prices of many products available online.
3. Tap into local knowledge. Join international and other clubs or associations and use online communities, classifieds and forums. The “business and work” section of the GenevaLunch resources page is a good starting point.
4. Get to know old-timers, and don’t be shy about benefitting from their experience.
5. Investigate how technology, such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) can help reduce your telecommunication costs.
6. Make use of the region’s excellent public transport system, which in Switzerland includes the CFF rail company, several regional rail lines, the TPG in Geneva and the TL in Lausanne. Consider whether you really need a car (or a second, or a third!).
7. Be aware of foreign exchange charges when dealing in different currencies and investigate banking options to avoid overpaying. Switzerland is noted as one of the best countries in the world for electronic banking, far safer and cheaper for paying bills than checks, which are almost non-existent. Electronic transfers are common.
8. Shop at large supermarkets rather than small épiceries and cross the border to find savings on certain products. Take advantage of supermarkets’ weekly specials to stock up on staples.
9. Eat out at lunch instead of dinner, when possible. And always think about ordering the plat du jour – it’ll be, by far, the less expensive option and may also be the freshest and tastiest!
10. Outline a monthly household budget and set yourself a savings goal.
Money-Net has some excellent online tools for setting budgets and calculating expenses and savings targets.
11. The GenevaLunch resources page is continually updated and links are checked: this is a goldmine of information about life in the community and many of the resources listed offer ways to cut costs.