Welcome back to “How can you save more by spending less”, part 2.
In the previous article, we saw how we can save more by spending less on insurances. Let’s face it, this is not all you can do to reduce your spendings.
In this article, we will cover everyday expenses. We will look at how you can reduce your grocery expenses, reduce the price you pay for a new computer, and much more.
Everyday expenses are, by definition, recurrent. Compared to insurances, when you reduce daily costs a bit, it can result in a huge difference in savings at the end of the year.
This article will be split by domain where you can easily reduce your spendings.
Let’s dive right in!
Sport does not have to be so expensive
Some will say that the easiest way to not spend money on sport is not to do sport. While this is true, you still get something from doing some sport. Your future self will thank you very much if you are active.
Anyway, the question here is not if we want to sport or not, but how can we find cheaper solutions.
Unfortunately, not all sports can be done for free (or cheap). If you think about golf or tennis, you will need infrastructure to play.
This kind of sport is not what we are looking for when we want to reduce sports spendings.
In Switzerland, there are several ways to have to do some sport for free (or very cheap).
The first sport I want to mention is also the national sport: walking in the mountains.
Switzerland being very mountainous, a lot of people go for a hike in the Alps when the weekend comes.
While not free as you still need to go to the mountains themselves, it is not too expensive. The most costly part of hiking is buying the equipment you need:
- good shoes
- warm clothes
- sunscreen (yes, even if the temperature is getting cold, there is some sun)
Remember that once you have bought your equipment, you won’t need new equipment that soon. There is no real recurring fee here, except for the transportation cost. Also, the equipment you buy for the mountain can be used every day if you feel like it.
One quick note: don’t be too cheap on your equipment. Mountains are dangerous, even if you go on a marked trail. Having the right equipment can help you more than you can think.
As I said previously, in Switzerland, there is a considerable number of hikes you can do. SwitzerlandMobility is a great reference to find new hikes. All of their hikes are marked. SwissMobility describes their hikes and provides a difficulty level. Check for yourself. It is definitely worth it. 😉
Running is also a sport that can be pretty cheap. The only cost that you have is to buy shoes. You might want to consider purchasing some running clothes as you will be more comfortable than in your everyday attire. That should not make the bill go through the roof, though.
But Kevin, I don’t know where to run. I don’t want to run in the city center 😥 “you”
And I got you. It’s as if I already knew what you would be asking…
In Switzerland, at least, you can go on a trail that is called Parcours Vita.
Basically, Parcours Vita are nearly everywhere in Switzerland. They are free to use, and there are different trails that you can follow according to your own physical condition.
The particularity of Parcours Vita is the activities that you can do while on the trail. You will find spots where there is some infrastructure for you to execute the exercises.
For a long time, Parcours Vita was the only player in town, but Helsana (yet another Swiss insurance) entered the game. They created the Helsana Trails, which are pretty much the same as the Parcours Vita without the exercises.
Overall, I think that these free trails are a good solution if you want to go running. As Switzerland is relatively small, there is always a forest nearby that hosts either a Parcours Vita or an Helsana Trail. You just have to motivate yourself to go outside. But if you prefer to stay inside, I also have something for you. 😃
In that section, I will not talk about fitness (even if you can enjoy a reduction on your membership if you have supplementary insurance in some cases).
I want to talk about sport at home.
You can do some sport at home. In most cases, there are two small investments you need to make to get started:
- a floor mat (like a yoga mat)
- some motivation to stick to your plan
Once you have these two elements, you are ready to practice some indoor sport.
And even before you ask the question like before, I will already answer it. There are tons of videos online that you can follow if you don’t know what to do.
Because of the Covid lockdown, a lot of YouTubers created content for this purpose. Even the RTS (national TV in Switzerland) started a show called On se bouge!
I can’t say I followed it, but I find the idea quite nice.
Now, you have no excuses to not do sport. You don’t even have to go outside anymore.
Refueling your car can cost you a lot
Fuel for your vehicle
If you are not concerned by this section because you don’t own a vehicle, congratulations. You save quite a lot already.
But if for any reason you still need a vehicle, there are some things to know.
This section will be relatively short as my own tips and tricks are quite limited. If you know about anything that could reduce this spending, please let me know using the comment section.
To operate a vehicle, you need fuel. As of today, most cars still work with gasoline. That means you need to go to the gas station from time to time.
You probably have already seen that the price is not the same between different stations, right?
The price is usually higher in stations linked to big brands such as Migros, Coop, Shell, … You can usually avoid this premium if you use an independant owner’s station.
I sometimes get a 5 cents reduction per liter when buying at a big brand gas station, but that just makes the end price closer to normal instead of being way too expensive.
I have seen that the price can vary quite a lot between different gas stations in the same area in my region. The most extreme case I had seen was 8 cents. If you have to fill up your car that would contain 55 liters (size of a VW Golf), you will save 4.4 CHF. That is just for one refuel!
If you have to refuel every 2 weeks, that will make 114.4 CHF per year.
The only thing you need to do is pick the right gas station when you need to refuel.
It is worth noting that some gas stations allow you to pay with Reka checks. If your company allows you to buy Reka checks with a big discount, it is a good way to save money.
Public transports can be quite expensive to use, but with the right mindset, we can travel for less
Move using public transports
Moving around using public transports is excellent from a cost and ecological perspective.
Even though I said it’s great from a cost perspective, don’t take for granted that it will always be cheaper. You have to do it right!
The ways you can save more money when using public transports are entirely based on your usage.
If you travel regularly, usually a travel card can be cheaper than buying individual tickets.
Let’s take the example of an employee traveling from Fribourg to Lausanne every weekday.
If we take the year 2020 as input for our comparison, we see that we have 254 weekdays. We can remove from that number 25 days of holidays, which gives 229 work days for the year.
Usually, people travel back and forth, so we will count 2 journeys for each workday.
This gives the following table for the different ways to pay for the fare:
|Ticket type||Upfront amount||Single journey cost||Yearly total|
|No reductions (full fare)||0 CHF||25 CHF||11450 CHF|
|Half fare card (half fare)||185 CHF||12.5 CHF||5910 CHF|
|Point-to-point travelcard||2808 CHF||0 CHF||2808 CHF|
|GA travelcard (adults)||3860 CHF||0 CHF||3860 CHF|
|GA travelcard (young 16-25)||2650 CHF||0 CHF||2650 CHF|
As we can see, the price is very different from one option to the other. As a matter of fact, the rule is more or less as follows: If you travel only a few times a year, pay for the full fare ticket. If you travel more than a few days per year, you may want to go for the half fare card option.
Then, when it comes to a daily or weekly commute, you have to look at the travel cards. They are really cheaper than buying each ticket separately.
When you need to compare a point-to-point travel card and a GA travelcard, you have to check whether you also travel often outside of your regular route.
Also, suppose you travel infrequently and already know beforehand what route you will take. In that case, you can use a supersaver ticket. They can reduce the price quite a lot but force you to take a single connection.
You don’t have to max out your credit card to get the things you need.
The first question you should ask yourself is: do you need it (or absolutely want it)?
If the answer is yes, you have several options at your disposal.
The first one would be to buy new. This is the most expensive option, but it comes with some advantages. You have a two-year long warranty, and you can expect that the item you bought comes without any issues or scratches. It is worth noting that you will pay a premium for these advantages and it will not come cheap. I usually buy new for things that I find very personal such as clothes or that I use professionaly like computers. I just try to buy clothes that serve me for several years, and I buy computers where I can change the parts myself if needed.
When you buy something new, wait for a sale period. This can reduce the price drastically. If you need to follow the price of a single item over time, you can use the website TopPreise. Even though the name is in german, the website is translated in french and english.
The second option you have would be to buy second hand. When you buy second hand, you can start with a pretty good price reduction from the “new” price. Depending on the item, it can go from 20% to a 50% reduction. Things that make sense to buy second-hand are books, board games, computers sometimes, cars, …
The third option is to find something that has been dumped. Switzerland is one of the countries where people throw away items simply because they want to change to the new version. You can easily find furniture that holds very well for free at your local recycling center. If you like to tinker with things, you can always repair these items for nearly free.
There are a lot of different ways to save money every day. Most of them don’t take too much time to implement in our daily lives. In the end, they help you save some money on the things you buy so that you can save more money for the future.