How to save money when moving to Geneva

Geneva Lake expats

Lake Geneva by Lawrence Murray (

Geneva is Switzerland’s most international city, and one of the most expensive in the world. Most people moving to Geneva end up living in one of the small French towns right across the border due to its extremely high cost of living. Many expats are not able, or do not want, to spend that much money.

Continuing our series of articles on saving money when relocating abroad, the following will provide you tips and tricks to save money when moving to Geneva.

1. Housing

As already mentioned, one possibility is to look for housing outside the city or just over the French border. This is not only because of the high cost of living – Geneva is suffering a housing crisis. There are too many people moving to Geneva and not enough apartments. Some employers will help with your search, so check with your company.

If you are still struggling to find an apartment, you should have a look at the peripheral areas such as Cologny, Chênes-Bougeries, Meyrin, Grand-Saconnex, Veyrier, Carouge and Lancy. They are well-connected to the city centre by public transport.

2. Food

For all those who love to go out and eat at restaurants, there is a great scheme to help you save money in Geneva. L’Assiette Geneva is a card that allows two people to eat for the price of one. It is valid in more than 130 restaurants in and around Geneva.

If you would like to save money while shopping for groceries, it is recommended to shop at larger supermarkets. They are usually cheaper than small ones because of their bulk buying power. Go to the supermarket after 5 pm! Many stores will give a discount on perishable products.

If you live close to the border with France, you should buy your groceries there. Many products cost less than half what they do in Geneva.

3. Transportation

Geneva’s city centre is a quite small, so it is no problem to walk through the city. Nevertheless, Geneva’s public transport (TPG) system with buses, trams, trains and boats is well-organised, efficient and reliable, in true Swiss style! In general, it is cheaper to use public transport than your own car.

If you have to take the train, check your options for saving money on the SBB website, the Swiss train operator.

4. Other money saving tips

The GENEVA PASS is a good option to save money during your first days in Geneva. It offers you free entrance to museums and discounts on tours and cruises.

In order not to lose money on bank charges you should get a Swiss bank card as soon as possible, or check with your bank whether your card will work at ATMs without any fees.

Please share your ideas on how to save money as an expatriate in Geneva in the comments below!

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