Guide for families
Expenses rise when children arrive. And as they grow so do their needs: leisure activities, sports clubs, electronic devices and holiday camps all cost money.
Saving tip 1: Create a family budget
To ensure that the parents' income and expenses for the whole family are in balance, a clear overview is required. The family budget could be structured as follows:
After deducting these fixed costs, a family in Switzerland is left with an average of between CHF 1,000 and CHF 1,500. A detailed list of income and expenses helps parents keep track of the family budget, spend accordingly, and be able to enjoy a meal out or a day’s skiing to the full.
- Parents’ monthly salary
- Child allowances and any other benefits
- Fixed costs: housing, taxes, insurance, health insurance, internet, TV, car, public transport
- Household: food, items for the home, electricity, living expenses
- Personal expenses: clothes, shoes, education, personal hygiene, leisure, holidays
- Provisions: unforeseen expenses, holidays, medical bills
When to give pocket money?
When children know their numbers and can count is the moment when they can start to make their first experiences with money. This is mostly a small monthly amount of pocket money when they start school. It’s helpful for the child to manage their money if you agree with them when, how much and for what they will get money. The child is then free to spend the pocket money according to these rules.
Equal rights with money too
Studies show that girls often receive pocket money later than boys. It’s important to teach children how to manage money regardless of their gender.
Saving tip 2: Buy second-hand and borrow instead of buying new
Much of a family’s budget is spent on purchases of all kinds: clothing, shoes, books, household appliances, leisure items, gifts or vehicles. However, many things don’t have to be bought new, but can be borrowed or reused. Sharing platforms, second-hand shops, platforms like Tutti as well as libraries, games libraries and similar institutions are currently experiencing a revival – this is good for the wallet and good for the environment.
Tips: save on food shopping
- Shopping list: by planning your purchases with a shopping list, you’ll be more efficient and less likely to make spontaneous buys. And: prices are cut on many food items shortly before the shops close.
- Visit second-hand shops: many Swiss towns now have second-hand shops. This is ideal as items in good condition can be browsed and bought at value-for-money prices – or you can sell your own things too.
- Second-hand online: used, inexpensive items for family life in Switzerland can also be found online, for example on Tutti, Ricardo, in classifieds or Facebook groups.
- Think it over: do you really need a new car, could you exchange it, or use a service like Mobility? Or even share with the neighbours? Thinking first before making an expensive new purchase can also ease the family budget.
Include the children
Children and young people have many wants – and not all are cheap. Which is why it's all the more important that parents have a clear line and establish simple rules. Of equal importance is to talk to children about what they want and to take an interest. Some dreams may be fulfilled with a little patient saving.
Tips for parents: alternative gift ideas
Spending time together, making something or enjoying nature: you can give a present without spending a lot of money. A few ideas that aren’t expensive:
- Spending time in nature, including cooking on a campfire
- Staying overnight on a farm or taking a pony ride
- Creating a treasure hunt with friends
- Building a treehouse or tipi
- Painting in a creative studio
- SBB and BLS also offer tips for family excursions.
Saving tip 3: Optimise health insurance
It’s clear that health insurance premiums and healthcare costs are a financial burden in Switzerland, especially for young families, single parents and people on lower incomes. These are the savings options available.
Save with CSS
- Families with children up to 18 can save a lot of money with the family discount.
- Family doctor model: families save at least 10% on premiums if they make the paediatrician their first point of contact.
- Raise your annual deductible: clients who raise their deductible to the maximum pay less in premiums every month. Make sure you have provisions should medical bills be incurred.
Health insurance premiums at a glance
Saving tip 4: Make use of offers
We’re living in changing and uncertain times. And for many families, even diligent saving is not enough to make ends meet. If money is short at the end of every month, certain concrete offers can help:
- Reka holidays: offers from Reka holidays enable those on a small budget to also take a trip to the mountains or a lake.
- Swiss Association of Single Parents
- Pro Juventute
- Budget counselling Switzerland: professionals will help you set up and follow a budget.
- Kultur Legi: for reduced prices on tickets to museums, theatres, cinemas or concerts.
It’s not a good idea to save on healthy food, making provisions for unplanned expenses, or regular relaxation and feel-good experiences. This is what life quality for families is all about.