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How does a team leader for Spitex live on a net salary of CHF5,600? 

From time to time we ask people in Switzerland to keep a diary of their expenses over a week. The aim is to give our readers abroad an idea of wages, expenses and living costs in Switzerland. Today’s money diary comes from a team leader at the home-care organisation Spitex with net monthly income of CHF5,600 ($5,695.50). 

Net monthly income  

As a graduate nurse and team leader in a public Spitex (nursing care at home) with a part-time job (70%) plus an additional contract as a relief worker paid on an hourly basis: about CHF5,600, depending on shifts and additional hours of relief service. 


My partner has been invited to lunch and I accompany her – 100 kilometres away from where we live. We didn’t realise that until the evening before. It’s not ideal from an environmental perspective, but we take my car and combine the trip with a spontaneous visit to another friend, who happens to live five minutes away from the restaurant. 

Contrary to my usual habits, I skip dessert in the restaurant because I am in a “vegan phase” and the restaurant has a vegan main course, but no vegan dessert.  

On the way home, I fill my car up with petrol.  

The fridge is still full, for dinner there are enough vegetables, salad and bread. 

Expenses: Petrol CHF58 (my girlfriend paid CHF25); lunch in a restaurant CHF44 


First day back at work after the holidays. I take my e-bike and enjoy the short trip to work. As I have handed in my notice there and the new job will be further away, I won’t be able to cycle to work for much longer – something I will definitely miss! The bike actually really needs servicing but because I won’t need it for much longer I don’t want to spend money on it. 

I work a half-day in the office today and eat lunch at home: lentil soup with soy sour cream. 

I spend the afternoon with my horse, and take my car there. The stable is 7 kilometres away from home. 

In the evening I go back to work: As a team leader, I have to do the annual employee reviews, for which I must monitor their work. At Spitex, that means I have to accompany my colleagues on care visits. I drive to the Spitex centre and accompany my colleague from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Before that I eat a salad at home and take a sandwich for the break. In the evenings I can park my car at work for free. 

Expenses: None 


Today I work the morning in the office and take my bike. I had breakfast at home (bread with margarine and jam that was a homemade present from a friend). It annoys me that the margarine contains palm oil and I decide to buy one without the next time. 

At lunch I go to the organic shop right next to my office in the town centre. I eat lunch at home, the same lentil dish I had yesterday. 

Then I head back to the stables; today I have a riding lesson with my trainer. She sends me monthly bills and a full hour costs CHF60. I take about four hours a month, depending on how much time and money I have  😉

After that I go home quickly to shower and eat salad and rice, have a power nap, and then back to work. Like yesterday, I have to accompany a colleague. Today it takes a bit longer and I am home at 11 p.m. 

Expenses: Organic shop CHF27.95 


Today I am only working in the morning. I have quite a lot of flexibility in choosing when I work, apart from accompanying the late-shift workers on their care visits in the evening. 

On the way home I ride past the station on my bike. Tomorrow and the day after I have school, which is 30 kilometres away, a 30-minute train ride. The tickets are also valid for the bus I will catch in the morning to get to the station, but I can only validate them at the station (validating tickets with my mobile phone is unfortunately beyond my skillset). So if I validate the train ticket in advance, then I save the cost of a bus ticket in the morning before school. So I validate tickets for tomorrow and the day after. I have the half-fare card, so my travel is at a reduced price. 

I spend the afternoon with my horse, then I cook in the evening for myself and my girlfriend. 

Expenses: Train tickets for two days CHF33.60 


Today is the first day of school after a two-and-a-half-month summer break. It is always two days in a row per month. It doesn’t start until 9.15 a.m. which means that I don’t have to catch the bus until 8. I look forward to school. 

I have a lot to eat with me; bread, fruit, nuts and tea. But I have clearly forgotten after the summer break how hungry I get at school. I have already eaten everything by noon. I make a quick dash to Tibits and buy a vegan kebab. 

At 6:30 p.m. I am home and cook the potatoes we bought last week from our neighbour, an organic farmer. 

In the evening I want to go to the stables, but my car has other plans: the engine light is flashing and given that my car is quite old, that’s a sign I shouldn’t take any chances. I stay at home, feeling really frustrated. My horse has a metabolic disorder which means that he needs lots of exercise to avoid getting seriously ill. That is why I go every day, but of course also  because it is my hobby and it does me good  😉

Expenses: Lunch: CHF7.80  


School again today. I slept really badly because of my car, I was fretting about having to buy a new one. I will need the car in my new job. Given the irregular hours of care work, I don’t want to have to rely on public transport. 

So I wake up late, feeling grotty. But my girlfriend has today off and has prepared my food for the day, which is nice. Today there is so much that I have enough to last all day – potatoes with soya quark and stuffed courgettes, bread and fruit. 

Luckily my girlfriend also took the car to the garage – it’s not as bad as I thought, she got the electronic problem solved by just paying a tip. 

In the evening I went back to the stables in the newly repaired car. Although I actually feel too tired for it, the fresh air and the smell of the stables does me so much good that I feel relaxed and fresh afterwards. 

Expenses: None 


Today my girlfriend is going hiking – she leaves home on foot. I am planning to take the train later, meet her en route and a walk part of the way with her. So while she is already hiking I clean the apartment and prepare provisions. Equipped with food, I go and meet her and we walk 10 kilometres together. I am really not in training; after a short time, I have backache and start thinking about getting a taxi in the middle of nowhere. But my girlfriend is kind enough to take my rucksack and we manage the whole distance. From there we get the train home. We go to Migros around the corner from our apartment and buy vegetables, crisps and soya yoghurt for the evening. We usually buy vegetables from the organic farmer, but we are too tired tonight to take this last trip around the corner. 

Once home I go straight to the stables – I don’t sit down, otherwise I would never get up again! But as always, I perk up with the horse and come home feeling refreshed before dinner. We cook pasta and have a TV night with our feet up. We don’t have a TV, so my girlfriend’s laptop does the job. 

Expenses: Return bus and train fare for the hike CHF11; Migros CHF24.15