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This post teaches you how to live frugally. I currently live in Switzerland which is one of the world’s most expensive countries. It’s quite difficult to live comfortably on a student budget. I definitely can’t afford going on luxurious ski trips every weekend, that’s for sure.
In a previous post, I proudly announced how I saved over $11,000 living as a student in Switzerland. This article discusses how I save thousands of dollars every month by living frugally.
1. I walk everywhere
The cost of public transportation in my city is $3.60 per trip (1 CHF = 1 USD). I walk instead of taking the bus which saves me $7.20 per day. It only takes me about 30 minutes to walk to my university and it makes for great exercise too (can you tell I love to walk?). If you don’t like walking, biking is always an option.
Obviously this option is not feasible for everyone. If you live really far away from your workplace or school, then of course it’s understandable that you would take the bus or drive.
Monthly savings: The monthly bus pass is around $75 which I basically avoid altogether.
2. I have the most basic cell phone plan
My current phone plan is the most basic one that includes everything I need (calling, texting, 3GB of data) at $20 per month. I brought my own phone so I didn’t have to buy a “premium” plan. Premium plans are usually around $80.
Monthly savings: $80 – 20= $60
3. I don’t drink alcohol
The Swiss are the highest consumers of wine in the world with an average annual spending of 505.50 GBP per year ($700). That makes an average cost of $58 per month. Keep in mind that this estimate doesn’t even include beer which can cost up to $10-20 per beer in some bars!
My friends are always commenting about how much money I save just by not drinking alcohol. If I save $700 a year on alcohol and assuming I start drinking at 18 and die at 85, I will have saved over $46,900 in one lifetime [calculation: 67 years x $700 per year].
Monthly savings: $58
4. I cook instead of eating out
On average, I spend about $250-300 a month on food. I’m able to keep my food budget relatively low because I mostly cook at home and shop at discount grocers. If I were to eat out everyday, I would be paying at least $80-100 per day on meals.
Honestly, I don’t like eating out that much because it’s time consuming and sometimes the food doesn’t meet my expectations. Cooking is also more fun and much healthier.
Monthly savings: restaurant costs less grocery cost = $2,400 ($80 per day x 30 days) – 250 = $2,150
5. I live in a one-bedroom studio outside of the city center
A 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre averages around $1,400 a month. Currently, I pay only $910 because I live outside of the city center.
Right now, I live in a super cute apartment that is only 5 minutes from the lake. It’s amazing and I prefer the tranquility of my small village versus the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Monthly savings: $1,400 – 910 = $490
6. I don’t have a home phone
I am barely at home so I never signed up for a home phone. Who uses a home phone nowadays anyways?
Monthly savings: $35
7. I don’t pay for Internet
I don’t pay for Internet because it’s included in my rent. Otherwise, it would cost $60 a month plus the cost of buying my own router. I am not even sure if I would be able to set it up!
Monthly savings: $60
8. I don’t drink coffee
Did you know that the Swiss are also high consumers of coffee? They drink about 2-5 cups a day and spend around $25-50 a week on coffee.
I’m glad that I only drink tea, and that I have stocked up on my favourite tea (Japanese matcha) back when I was visiting Japan.
I imagine that if I were a coffee drinker, I would brew my own coffee every morning to avoid spending $200 a month.
Monthly savings: $50 per week x 4 weeks = $200
9. I don’t watch TV
I’ve never been a fan of watching TV, especially if I’m alone. I just don’t seem to have the attention span for it.
If I’m deep in procrastination, I will sometimes watch a few series on Netflix. But in any case, I use my boyfriend’s account (i.e. free). There are also some excellent sites to stream TV shows for those who don’t have cable or Netflix!
Monthly savings: $45 ($35 for cable and $10 for Netflix)
10. I don’t go to the gym
I don’t go to the gym and choose to take walks/hikes or do yoga as my main form of exercise. The only form of exercise that I pay for is ballet lol!
Monthly savings: $100
11. Lastly, I don’t have a car
I haven’t driven since moving to Switzerland. The public transportation is so convenient that I never felt a real need for a car. Plus, most European cars are manual I’ve only learned how to drive an automatic.
Monthly saving: $1,000 (gas, insurance, parking, etc.)
Total monthly savings: $4,273!!!
Total annual savings: $51,276!!!!!
It’s crazy to imagine how much money you can save by living frugally. I save over $51,000 annually which is more than a full-time job pays! The best part is that the majority of these money-saving habits are because I actually don’t like consuming a lot of expensive products/activities (i.e. alcohol, eating out). I guess you can say that it pays to be naturally frugal 😉
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