Category Archives: Zurich Money

Furnishing Your New Home On A Budget In Zurich

Zurich Furniture

 

So many of us expats will have arrived here by plane, and what does that mean? Well it means we pay for excess luggage by the kilo as opposed to having the luxury of arriving with a van full of possessions.

Contrary to all the places I have previously lived, my new room in Zurich has NO furniture included. So with a limited budget how can you get the most bang for your buck?

Many new expats in a rush to furnish their new home, will however overlook the possibility of buying furniture second hand or even being given furniture, and just go straight to Ikea.

Very few apartments in Zurich are furnished and as a result it is common for people to give away, or sell cheaply their old furniture when they move. Most of this furniture will be Ikea but at a knock down price and maybe with a few bumps and scratches, but easily worth it, especially if you are only here for a limited time.

Here are some of the options I recommend for cheap or free furniture:

IKEA 

People with a larger budget can just go to Ikea, but beware, some of the larger items (leather couches) have a lead in time, however the short term value for money is clear especially when there is a sense of urgency to certain items, for example a bed.

Delivery: There can sometimes be a long delivery wait for large amounts of furniture ordered on-line. Also there is a delivery charge or you can hire a van from them directly (depending on availability -avoid weekends) Their help line speaks English though so make sure to ask them what options are best for you.

ENGLISH FORUM

Expats on a tight budget with little German will find themselves at ease here. While the availability of suitable furniture here is sporadic it is helpful that all the wheeling and dealing is done through English. If you have the opportunity to get your furniture over a week or so, there are serious deals to be had.

However you must be vigilant and patient as good cheap furniture will be bought up quickly. If you spot the post early enough though sometimes you are lucky enough to get free or very cheap furniture, also try to haggle with the sellers if the costs are still too high for your budget, especially if you are buying multiple items as they will often be under pressure to get rid of the items quickly or will sympathise with your situation.

Delivery: this can be one of the biggest draw backs of buying cheap furniture second hand, the main reason people are selling it so cheaply is because they need to get rid of it and don’t want to move it personally. This means you must arrange to collect and deliver it yourself. See delivery headings below for more info.

RON ORP ZURICH (EN)

This is a great website used by a lot of local people in Zurich and other main cities in Switzerland, the good news for Zurich users is that there is a special English speaking Zurich part, so things are easy to understand. However the main drawbacks to the English speaking site is that not many local German speaking Swiss people use it and it has few bargains to be had compared to its German speaking counter part (see below).

Delivery: Same deal as the English Forum (see above)

RON ORP ZÜRICH (IN GERMAN)

While all the adverts here are posted in German, it should be noted that there are thousands compared to the hundreds  in the English site. But finding the item that you are looking for will be slightly more difficult for the non German speaker, for this I recommend opening up google translate in a separate tab and just “google translate” everything, so while this may sound long and tedious you will find far more items of cheap or free furniture, and maybe pick up some new German vocabulary.

The furniture is in the “Allerlei, Mode & Schönheit “ section and then the “Wohnen” subsection, there are further subsections, but at this point it depends what you are looking for. Before google translating every add, try opening then and looking at  the picture and then finding the cost in the article, if the two items match what you are looking for then it is worth translating the add.

Delivery: Same deal as the English Forum (see above)

FLEEDO

Another website, but this one is only dedicated to free furniture and is available in English too. The downside is that it is for all of Switzerland and sometimes there are not many items available in Zurich

Delivery: Same deal as the English Forum (see above)

CRAIGSLIST ZURICH

This website is not very well frequented by the Zurich population, but sometimes there are still rare deals to be had in the sale section. Craigslist is notorious for scams though so tread with caution.

Delivery: Same deal as the English Forum (see above)

BROCKENHAUS – AKA the second-hand shops

There are several of these located in Zurich and some of the smaller ones in your area might be worth a visit for bric-a-brac, but the biggest and most popular one is located just on the North side of the Hauptbahnhoff train tracks, with 3 floors of stuff and loads of furniture it is definitely worth checking out. While the prices may not be as cheap as the charity shops you might be used to, it is still cheapER by Zurich standards. The shop itself is actually generally quite cool and has a great vintage feel about it. There is loads of stuff and it is all very well laid out and not cluttered. Also there are plenty of kitchen crockery and accessories if you just need a few bits and pieces as well as a modest English book section. Worth checking out, even if you don’t need anything.

Delivery: Apparently they do deliver, not sure exactly how much, but it depends on the size and cost of the item, they also do assembly.

THE FLEA MARKET

There are a couple of really cool flea markets in Zurich. The one I am most familiar with is at Helvetiaplatz at the end of the Langstrasse 8-2.30 on a Saturday. Just to be warned, this is not a high class flea market but has more of a people just trying to sell their old stuff kinda feel. Still though there are some home gems to be had, but not so much furniture as it tends to be what people fit in their car. I probably wouldn’t recommend buying electronics there though, but you can always haggle which is fun, just make sure to brush up on your numbers in German as the majority of vendors speak no/very poor English.There is a good range of bicycles though if you are interested in a cheap and healthy way of getting around.

Delivery Options:

With most of the cheap and free furniture delivery is not an option. So keeping this in mind there are a number of options to get your stuff home safe.

Hiring a van for the day – only if you can arrange it so that you can pick up all your stuff at around the same time, still going to be a couple of hundred CHF. there are many different company’s so shopping around is recommended depending on your needs.

Man with a van– Great for larger items like beds and couches, paid by the hour though so long distances can become an issue. Cost and quality varies greatly, so it is definitely worth shopping around.

Public transport – works best in pairs for smaller single items. Make sure you travel off peak times.

Waren taxi – this is a third party service, kind of like a taxi for your furniture. Great for moves or pick ups from furniture shops where you have multiple items and don’t want to wait for long delivery times. They provide a large variety of moving services, again there are multiple company’s so shop around.

Mobility car sharing – this is like a public car sharing scheme. You subscribe to the service and then you have cheap access to cars all across Switzerland. A very good option for short collections trips as you pay per hour and kilometre. There is a sign up fee, and their website is available in English

Collection with friends – Friends, especially local friends are the best way to move stuff. So ask around amongst the people you know, even if they don’t have their own car maybe they have another sympathetic friend, a subscription to the mobility car scheme or can help you carry stuff on the bus. The value of this help should never be underestimated.

Always make sure to thank all  the people that helped you move or gave you furniture, this can be as simple nice box of chocolates or a dinner at your new place once you have settled in. You should always make sure to offer your friends similar help if they are moving too, as what goes around comes around.

 

Best Value Prepaid Mobile Phones In Switzerland?

With a seemingly large selection of operators to choose from in Switzerland, I’ve decided to do a little research into what the costs and extras are. Now while there are some tips and advice available on-line none seem to be very clear as to which network is the best and I suppose that is because everyone requires something different from their phone provider.

So keeping this in mind I have decided to compare the providers based on my requirements. 

I am a 26 year old, who only uses her phone for texts and calls, I’m not interested in a new phone and as I am unsure as to how long I’m going to be staying in Zurich I want to get a prepaid phone.

The three Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in Switzerland are swisscom, sunrise and orange. Their networks are used by a number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). I have provided the list below that details which reseller is running on which network.

swisscom – www.swisscom.ch 

sunrise – www.sunrise.ch 

orange – www.orange.ch

So having found this list of providers on-line, I proceeded to investigate their websites to see which network would suit my needs best.

Some of the websites are very clear and some of them are not, and these are the result of some extensive trawling through all their websites.

While all the information is some times not clear, available and will probably be soon out of date. I felt that it might be helpful for people to be able to more quickly compare prices.

While I have neglected to include the initial cost of the sim card it should be mentioned that this basic cost is personally somewhat irrelevant compared to what you will be paying later down the line.

a table of costs of prepaid Swiss mobile phone companies  

Disclaimer – All the information provided in the table was compiled by me  on the 30th of August and was subject to my understanding of the website, so should in no way be taken as the guaranteed costs, only a guide. If your interested in a particular network consult their website personally before hand or get in touch with them directly.

As for my personal choice of mobile phone operator? Well I ended up going with Orange. The sim card cost 10 CHF and had 5 CHF credit included, the main deciding factor was the fact that the people I am going to be calling the most are also on the same network, and Orange allow you to choose 3 friends to call for free on the same network (T&C obviously apply).

Also since they are one of the larger service providers I can be assured that if I have a problem is I can speak directly to a human being in a shop and that they probably have a half decent help line.

So while I also heard good reports about migros-budget and yallo being cheap from friends; swisscom and sunrise having good coverage but being expensive, other less mainstream networks I searched seemed not to have many reviews (well in English anyway).

So if you are looking to get a Swiss number keep the following things in mind

    • who are you going to be calling (network, country)?
    • when are you going to be calling them?
    • how much do you want to spend per month?
    • do you need internet access?
    • are you sending more texts than calls?
  • do you want to be able to talk to someone face to face if you have a problem?

However compared to some other European countries Switzerland seems overall quite cheap and well serviced by prepaid phone options.

 

Happy Birthday Switzerland!

August 1st is Swiss National Day so I am pleased to say Happy Birthday Switzerland!

Initially it’s nice to see the holiday fall on a weekday so we actually get the day off but it’s a day taken very seriously in Switzerland.

 

 

It celebrates the creation of the Swiss Federal Confederation in 1889.

All cities and most towns will be running their own celebrations and if you have gone past a Migros lately, you will know to expect a lot of fireworks! 

Speeding In Switzerland. They Will Get You And You Will Pay!

One thing that may surprise you is the voracity of the Swiss Police in catching and punishing drivers who break the law.This is an excerpt of a letter that landed on our doormat yesterday-Briefly translated, the car was traveling at 54 km/h in an area with a limit of 50 km/h. After a rounding down factor of 3 km/h for laser speed traps, the offence was speeding by 1 km/h over the speed limit.This was at 02:08 in the morning. This is merely to point out that speed cases in Switzerland are generally black and white. If you were speeding and you get caught, you are going to be fined with no exception. Always observe speed limits. The fines are expensive, can be cumulative and breaking the limit by larger amounts lead to larger fines and

even criminal action. Although punitive sentences are rare, they can often be levied but removed upon payment of an even heftier sum. his page shows the rough guidelines for speeding offences and penalties in Switzerland as well as the rounding down applied for different types of speed trap. It is in German but easy enough to follow. Here is the page in English. Just be careful and be especially aware of drops in the speed limit on motorways. If a particularly tricky bend is coming up, the limit will be reduced and this reduction will likely be coupled with a speed trap. If you are not a Swiss resident you will also be pursued for payment, especially if you are from Europe. If you are driving a rental car when you are caught speeding in Switzerland, there is really no way of avoiding payment as the Swiss will charge the rental company who will then bill you for the fines as well as an admin fee. The first you will know is a charge on your credit card or a bill in the post from the rental company. If you are driving your own car when caught speeding, the Swiss authorities will contact your local Driving authority for your postal address and write to you directly. You can choose to ignore it but this is not wise. This will make you a criminal in Switzerland which is fine if you can guarantee you will never return but if you do come back to Switzerland, you will run into a lot of trouble if you were stopped by the police for any reason. If you have any experiences with speeding offences in Switzerland, please join in with a comment.

Compare The Cost Of Living In Zurich With Other Cities

We were told about a new website that offers a new twist on the common requirement of comparing the cost of living in one city with that in another. Expatistan offers a simple way of making this comparison, and its community-driven updates should ensure that it remains relevant and up to date. Just enter the two cities into the form on the home page

This query gave us the following:

Drilling down on the Food data:

The green figures basically mean that these items are cheaper in London than they are in Zurich, which is no surprise. However, it is odd that the high cost of transport in London skews the figures so dramatically. The result is that it gives the cost of living in London as being 5% higher in London despite almost every other category being markedly higher in Zurich. Users can submit the cost of certain items in a city to keep things up to date. These are quite specific, such as a liter of milk or a bus journey in the central zone. If you are thinking of moving to Zurich, or would like to keep an eye on the cost of things elsewhere, Expatistan is a useful tool.