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EXPLAINED: 8 ways to save money on your groceries in Switzerland

With the cost of living going up, many of us are thinking of ways to spend a little less. Here are some tips on how you can save money when grocery shopping in Switzerland.

Shop in season to save money when it comes to fruit and vegetables.
Shop in season to save money when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash

Think about the supermarket where you shop

A lot of the time, food items cost a similar amount in different shops. But there are many items that are available at much lower prices than the competition. Discounters like Denner, Aldi and Lidl offer some products at a much cheaper price than the two largest retailers Coop and Migros. You can check out the articles below to compare prices. 


Buy products in season

Purchasing fruit and vegetables is less expensive when they are in season. That’s because the products don’t have to be kept in cold storage in the same way, which thanks to the current high energy prices incurs high costs that are then passed onto the customer. So going for produce that is naturally abundant at the time of year can really pay off. 

At the moment, vegetables such as kale, pumpkins, squashes, leaks and cabbages are in season, but you can refer to an online Saisonkalendar (season calendar), such as this one, to keep an eye on which fruits and veggies are in season at different times of the year.

Opt for cheaper products

Instead of entrecôte or fillet of beef, try a cervelat or minced meat. Vegetables are also cheaper than meat, so you could go for more ‘meat-free’ days.

You can also save by buying low-price or own-brand products (for example, Prix Garantie from Coop or M-Budget from Migros). For some items, the price differences between cheap products, own brands and brand-name products are small, but for others they are bigger.

READ MORE: Pasta up by 13 percent: How food and energy prices in Switzerland are rising

Many common products are now more expensive. Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Look out for discount stickers and special offers

Discount stickers are an easy way to save money when shopping for groceries in Switzerland. All the major retailers like Migros, Coop, Denner, Aldi Suisse and Lidl reduce the prices of many food products shortly before their expiry date. The discounts are marked on the products (usually with a red or orange sticker) and often range from 25 to 50 percent below the retail price.

When picking up discounts, you need to be flexible. You won’t know which items are discounted before you go on your shopping spree. Usually, the evening shortly before closing time, and weekends are the best time to go bargain hunting. And keep an eye out for special offers. Customers can find out about weekly promotions in the Migros magazine, in the Coop newspaper and in the brochures of Denner, Aldi and Lidl, as well as online. 

Collect loyalty points

Many large Swiss food retailers have customer loyalty programmes. The most popular are Cumulus (Migros, Voi, Migrolino) and Supercard (Coop).

The two programmes work similarly: show your customer card or the app at the checkout. As a rule, you get one point for every franc spent. With Migros, you receive vouchers every three months that you can use like cash in Migros shops. At Coop, the points are automatically credited to your points account. You can use these points to pay for certain products as part of promotions. You can also pay for your purchases with points at the Coop City department stores’ (without the food department).

100 points correspond to one franc with both Cumulus and Supercard. This means that you normally have to spend 100 francs to get the equivalent of one franc. Get collecting. 

READ MORE: Cost of living: How you can beat Switzerland’s inflation blues?


Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

Keep an eye on coupons

Collecting coupons is a bit like playing the lottery. Sometimes the coupons match the groceries on your shopping list, sometimes they don’t. With the right coupons, you can get discounts of up to 50 percent. Checking out customer magazines like the Coop paper and regional newspapers can be worthwhile. You can also find coupons in the apps of supermarkets like Migros, Coop and Lidl. And sometimes the coupons are even available in the shop itself. If you buy groceries online, you can often find coupons for online grocery shops and delivery services on numerous discount sites.

But don’t be blinded by the coupons: they are often branded products that are much more expensive than other items in the same shop, despite the discount.

Try shopping at farms

Wherever you live in Switzerland, chances are high that there is a farm fairly nearby (or it may make a nice day trip on the weekend). Some farmers sell their fresh produce directly from stalls, and the fruit and vegetables can be cheaper than in the supermarket.

Some farms in Switzerland are open around the clock. Money can usually be deposited in a cash box. Often payment via Twint is also possible. On you can find a list of Swiss farms by location. Although you can also buy regional products from farms on online platforms. However, the same savings are often not possible there as when you buy directly from a farm.

Fight food waste – and save money

Some organisations who want to reduce food waste sell almost expired food in Switzerland at a good price. Plus, retailers sometimes reject products simply because they are not in the desired shape, for example (such as crooked carrots).

The app Too Good To Go is well known. Customers use this smartphone app to buy a surprise package of leftover food. At the time specified in the app, you pick up the package. Various supermarkets, as well as restaurants, bakeries and takeaways are on board with the app. Food-waste shops like the Äss Bar shops, which sell baked goods from the day before, aim to reduce food waste rather than cost, but the prices are still far below the retail price.

If you are affected by poverty, you can also go shopping at Caritas grocery shops. Everyday products are usually available at much lower prices than in conventional supermarkets. The prerequisite is that you are on or below the poverty line, receiving economic social assistance or supplementary benefits to social security, or are in debt. There are also some local projects and food banks where people in poverty can buy cheap products – or even get them for free.

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For members


Six essential tips that will save you money in Switzerland

It’s no secret that life in Switzerland comes with a hefty price tag. But there are some ways to save on costs to make Swiss life less expensive.

Six essential tips that will save you money in Switzerland

On average, a person working in Switzerland earns 6,789 francs per month – the third highest salary globally with only Monaco and Bermuda workers faring better. On the other hand, Switzerland also has very high living costs which particularly affect people on lower incomes. For example, a household with a gross income of 9,817 francs per month will spend around 14.4 percent on housing and energy alone, with a whopping 46.5 percent of the salary going towards consumer spending.

So thinking of ways to save money goes a long way. Here are a few everyday spending hacks to help make your life in Switzerland a little less expensive.

Get a train ride

One of the easiest ways to save money on transport in Switzerland is to use its affordable train network which connects around 2,600 stations and stops across the country – meaning you can easily forgo cars altogether. This will not only save you a lot of money on gas but also helps you protect the environment by travelling greener. Two birds!

With SBB CFF FFS, you can pay for “Sparbillette” – or so-called Supersaver tickets – and benefit from an up to 70 percent discount on the standard ticket price. Travellers can choose from one-way tickets to day passes but will be limited to a few select routes and times. The trick is to book as early as possible to snag the best deal.

OPINION: Trains in Switzerland are excellent, so why are cars still king?

For frequent travellers, SBB’s GA Travelcard at an annual cost of 3,860 francs for adults is your most cost-effective option by a landslide. The travelcard allows you to travel on public transport throughout Switzerland for “free” and you can even get 5 francs off on short-term bike rentals at 20 SBB stations.

If you don’t want to hand over quite that much money, a great way of reducing your transport cost is to purchase SBB’s Half Fare Travelcard. The travelcard costs 120 francs per year and gives you an up to 50 percent discount on all travel by train, bus, boat, and most mountain railways.

A logo of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB / CFF) is reflected on a locomotive at the Zurich's main train station on November 8, 2022.

A logo of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB / CFF) is reflected on a locomotive at the Zurich’s main train station on November 8, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)


However, relying solely on trains as your means of transport isn’t always convenient. Still, there are ways to bring down cost even if the odd car ride is on your agenda. One way of doing this is by speaking to family members, friends, colleagues or flatmates and organising joint car rides to the same destination.

There are also many businesses in Switzerland that will let you find carpooling opportunities in your area should you not have anyone to share a ride with, such as IDOSH, FAHRPOOL, HitchHike and BlaBlaCar. 

Food and beverages

In Switzerland, people spend around 6 percent of their monthly average disposable income on food and non-alcoholic drinks and around 3.5 per cent on eating out and accommodations. With a monthly gross income of 9,817 francs, around 640 francs are spent on food and a further 285 francs on restaurants and similar establishments – not an insignificant amount!

The best tip to quickly bring down your food bill is to start meal prepping. While eating the same meal seven days in a row may not appeal to everyone – but would save you the most money – you can also start by writing down the meals you plan on cooking throughout the week. This allows you to not only be more conscious of what ingredients you buy (such as vegetables) and when you plan on using them, but it will also prevent food waste.

Speaking of food waste, another great way of saving the odd franc is to download the app Too Good To Go and purchase one of their surprise food packages at a reasonable price. The company sources fresh food which would otherwise be wasted in cafes, restaurants, and shops, simply due to not being sold on time.


Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

A tip to help you make the most of your money – even if planning ahead is replaced by the occasional impulse purchase – is to get a customer card, such as Coop’s Supercard or MIgros’s Cumulus card, from your local grocery shop and start turning points into money.

READ ALSO: 8 ways to save money on groceries on Switzerland 

Compare before committing

It is a well known fact that insurance-related expenses in Switzerland make up a large chunk of your monthly expenses. In 2023, for instance, health insurance premiums averaged 4,766 francs across all basic insurance models, franchise providers and age groups. This corresponds to a monthly premium of 334.70 francs. Compared to 2022, premiums have increased by 6.6 percent. But with around 200 insurance providers throughout Switzerland, it can be tricky to know where to get the best deal.

Whether you have newly moved to Switzerland or are looking to get a better deal on your insurance, it is smart to have a glimpse at one of the many comparison websites on offer to ensure you don’t overpay for your medical, mortgage, telecom, or car insurance needs. Comparis, moneyland, insurando and krankenkassenvergleich are some of the best websites to get you started.

Save on taxes

Let’s face it: not many a Swiss resident looks forward to filling out their yearly tax declaration. Nevertheless, it is essential that you keep hold of your receipts throughout the year and carefully fill in all details as turning a blind eye could mean missing out on valuable money-saving opportunities.

In Switzerland, you can save money on taxes by choosing to pay some of your income into the third pillar. The money you pay into pillar 3a can then be deducted from your annual taxes. In 2023, employees with a pension fund insurance can pay up to 7,056 francs into pillar 3a. 

An example: a single, 50-year-old Roman Catholic pension saver with a taxable income of 80,000 francs and access to a pension fund saves around 1,702 francs in taxes in the city of Lucerne if he pays in the maximum amount into pillar 3a.

Self-employed people can deduct up to 20 percent of their earned income, equating to a maximum 35,280 francs in 2023. In order not to miss out on the tax advantages, it is worth transferring the money at the beginning of the year.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Switzerland in March 2023

Swiss Francs.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash


Rising interest rates fuelled by economic uncertainty has meant renting a home is cheaper than buying in Switzerland for the first time in 15 years, a new study has found, but that doesn’t mean that renting in Switzerland is cheap. Still, there are ways around forking out a small fortune on rent cost.

If you’re not fussy about sharing your space, co-living is likely your best bet to slash rental costs fast. You can find a list of co-living companies on

Another alternative is to rent outside the city centre and find an apartment in a small town or rural rea of the country. In fact, thanks to Switzerland’s reliant public transport links, smaller towns don’t mean reduced transport connections. Olten, Aarau and Baden are just a few examples of well-connected towns with great transport links – and more affordable rents.

Those renting in Zurich specifically may also want to consider committing to an apartment long-term. According to a publication by the Statistical Office of the Canton of Zurich, households that have not changed residence for a long time pay less rent than those who move around. This because households opting to move out of their residence have often not lived in their apartments very long and therefore already pay higher rent prices. 

READ ALSO: Zurich hit by affordable housing shortage amid record high immigration

As a result, the rent cost for the subsequent vacant apartments is already significantly higher than those apartments in long-term rents. Hence the reason why those moving in will also pay a higher rent price.

As a general tip, it makes more sense to commit to an apartment longer term if you are looking to save money on rent.