Savings tips for families – how to make provision for your future

Family with money boxes and money

Savings tips for families – how to make provision for your future

On the subject of savings and particularly in the case of families, there is often a yawning gap between desire and reality – with the result that many people wonder helplessly at the end of each month, "Where did all the money go?"
Use our ten savings tips to find out how you as a family can get a grip on your budget and even put aside a little bit more for your future.

Savings tip 1: Track your money

Is it sometimes hard for you to be consistent? But you really should be when it comes to your Visa debit card. Set yourself some clear rules – it’s worth it. The first and most important rule is to get a clear overview of where, how and when money is being spent. This can lead to some surprising discoveries about where, when and how much money you are spending, in some cases pointlessly. A glance into your wardrobe can also be a sobering experience: Do you really own 30 different pairs of pants? What for?

Savings tip 2: Control your "money burners" and allocate your money

When you have identified your biggest "money burners", you as a family can establish a budget for yourselves. The 50/30/20 rule is useful in this case: 50% for fixed, necessary spending, 30% for leisure and pleasure, and 20% for saving and investment. The necessary expenses include such things as your rent, taxes, telephone and food. In the area of leisure and pleasure you’ll find such items as hobbies, excursions and vacations.

Rule: 50 – 30 – 20

Fixed costs and living costs 
(necessary expenditure)
Outgoings for personal pleasure 
(vermeidbare Kosten)
Savings, investments and
debt repayment
50% 30% 20%
  • Rent/mortgage
  • Electricity, heating and water
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • School and childcare costs
  • Telephone and Internet
  • Subscriptions and memberships
  • Leasing or car finance
  • Maintenance
  • Food
  • Going out to eat and drink
  • Shopping
  • Hobbies
  • Movies and events
  • Bigger outgoings, e.g. for furniture,
    a TV or holidays,
  • etc.
  • Savings and investments
  • Repayment of debts
Particularly in this "fun" sector, you may well find savings potential. But you might also notice that not every fixed cost is really fixed: Maybe you can cancel some expensive memberships, take out a cheaper mobile phone contract or save CHF 50 on food every week by shopping more judiciously.

Savings tip 3: Set yourself goals – and work towards them

No matter where you identify savings potential, you will ideally be able to invest 20% of your available income in your future – via pillar 3a or 3b, by means of investments or life insurance policies. Smart savers set themselves short, medium and long-term savings goals. One short-term savings goal might be to order the traditional "Friday pizza" just once a month and to rent a holiday cottage as a family in the summer with the money saved. As for medium-term savings, you might, for example, set some money aside for a new car. And for long-term savings, you could invest in your personal retirement provision. The simplest way is to set up a monthly direct debit from your account.

Savings tip 4: Planning for the unexpected

Another important thing: Always have a "nest egg" available for any unexpected expenses, whether for some expensive dental treatment, a major car repair or a broken-down dishwasher. This "emergency reserve" should be quickly available and be equal to about two months’ salary, because unexpected costs are annoying enough without also causing you money worries.

Savings tip 5: Save money on mobility

It costs a lot to buy a car, but the running costs are also expensive. There may be alternatives – an electric bike instead of a second car for small shopping trips, car-sharing or a gentleman's agreement for the whole family. Using the SBB’s Junior ticket your children can travel with you free of cost for a year, an offer which will pay off for almost every family. In Zurich MyWay, Zurich Switzerland offers a usage-based car insurance policy. You can track the cost via an app at any time – for greater transparency, thanks to kilometer-based billing. And drivers of electric vehicles can charge them using the Z Volt app for at a reliable standard price at more than 3,000 charging points in our partner network throughput Switzerland.

Savings tip 6: Travel more economically without loss of comfort

A lot of money can also be saved on journeys and excursions. Make use of special offers and book flights and rail trips well in advance. The traditional summer destinations are usually much cheaper in the spring or autumn holidays, and also less crowded. When planning a holiday in a neighboring country, take note of the school holidays there and avoid them if possible. Do you have several children? Then a vacation apartment will probably be cheaper for you than a hotel. You also have the possibility of preparing meals yourself and thus save even more money. It might also be worth considering an apartment-swap or a house-swap. Interesting swap properties can be found either through specialist platforms on the Internet or you could organize something within your family or group of friends: Why not simply swap apartments with your cousin from Austria or with a university friend from Valais?

Savings tip 7: Be smart when planning your excursions

There is also savings potential to be found in family excursions. Many associations, newspapers, banks and insurance companies offer discounts for events and excursion destinations. Think about which annual subscriptions are useful for your family, so that you don’t have to buy an entry ticket every time. Find out whether there are free-entry days in certain museums or when you can go to the cinema at reduced prices. It is often possible to experience a successful outing without any great expenditure: Bread rolls instead of brunches, picnics instead of three-course meals and the swimming pool instead of a theme park. The main purpose of family activities is to have a good time together. This is a feeling that cannot be bought – and is in any case priceless.

Savings tip 8: Shopping sensibly

Probably the most important tip for every day family life: Avoid impulse buying. The are (supposedly) very enjoyable but they often lead to the wardrobe, the bookcase and the kids’ room filling up with things that we actually don’t need and consequently seldom use. Don’t be afraid to buy used furniture now and again – it usually costs just a fraction of the new stuff. Set yourself an energy-saving challenge and reward your family when the water, electricity or heating bill turns out to be lower. Make yourself a weekly shopping plan and don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. If your children are with you, don’t let them put things into the shopping trolley. You could still let them each choose an item of food.

Don’t let saving become an ordeal. Instead, turn it into a challenge that the whole family can take part in. Record your successes and set yourself goals, such as a nice vacation.

Savings tip 9: Make use of the savings potential in insurance

Get advice about whether there are special family discounts for your insurance. Make use of combination discounts when you take out different insurance products and find out whether you can get reduced premiums through your employer or as a member of an association. This applies, for example, to employees of companies that have their pension fund with Vita from Zurich Insurance. It is also worthwhile checking your insurance situation regularly with an advisor – are there any coverage overlaps or gaps? Are any things covered that you no longer need? Can any premiums be optimized?

Savings tip 10: Pocket money: Parents’ tips for the next generation

Give your children the opportunity to get used to handling money at an early age. Pocket money is ideal for that. Allowance tables give you a rough guide to how much allowance money your child should be given at at what age. Pay out pocket money at regular intervals and without being asked. Point out to your child that they can achieve a variety of goals with their money – they can fulfill wishes with it, they can invest it, save it for a specific purpose or donate it to the needy. The children may save their money accordingly, in different money boxes. Allow your children to make a few mistakes of their own and spend their money unwisely, because they will learn from that. If the pocket money has all been spent and you top it up or give them an advance, you are not teaching your child financial discipline. It might be more useful to look for options together with the child to earn some money, such as specific jobs in the house or the garden. More parents’ tips for a positive attitude to money, good money habits and a future-oriented allocation of allowances can be found at simosackgeld.ch.

Free financial resources? This is how to invest your money

Have you found potential savings and you now want to invest the money freed up in a sensible way? With Zurich, you have a variety of options. For example, you can take out a pillar 3a solution and pay in up to CHF 6,883 per year for your retirement. You can deduct the full amount from your taxable income. You can save for long-held, major ambitions, such a world tour or your children’s education for example, in a Fund Account. Comprehensive  pension advice is particularly useful for families, so that your partner and children are covered and you can make provision for your old age at the same time. We will be happy to advise you.

More articles

Couple talking

Make dreams come true with good retirement provision

No matter how life plays out – a good pension plan adapts while at the same time offering security and returns with a high degree of flexibility.
Frau und Mann mit Wolldecke

Marriage or common-law partnerships: Who gets the best deal?

As soon as two people are co-habiting, they are living in a common-law partnership. A couple in a common-law partnership, however, does not enjoy the same protection as a married couple. We explain why.
Two women look at a document

Good retirement provision for part-time employment too

Children or career? Today, both are possible – the world has become far more flexible and part-time employment far more widespread.