As someone who just spent half a year living in Switzerland with the only reasoning behind it being, "Why the fuck not?"
The cost of living in Switzerland is LESS than the cost of living in Mammoth.
My rent for a 800 sq ft 1 bedroom including highspeed internet and 200+ channels and my utilities was $780 in as downtown as it gets Luzern with a view of a fucking fortress wall/castle and the river.
I typically spent less than $40 a week on groceries and the food was fresh and delicious. Although I did have to cook everything since things like pasta sauce don't really come premade.
Clothing was stupidly cheap if it wasn't brand name. Seriously... Cheaper than target.
What is sort of expensive is restaurants/going out. Starbucks is stupidly priced, but why bother. Normal cafe's, a latte was usually around $3 to $4. Food at a 711 type place was cheap and a bottle of tea was usually around $1.
Most average restaurants are in the $20 - $30 for a plate of food, but here is the thing, they are significantly nicer. There are no diners, there isn't really fast food, and if you do happen to go into a mc donalds, yeah, you will spend $11 on a combo that is better quality food than anything you will get at TGIFridays. I did happen upon a really nice all I could eat indian buffet. It was fucking delicious and $20 for everything. Seemed fare to me. But I'm used to living in Mammoth where the food is the same price unless it's happy hour (in which I didn't find any happy hour food there).
Now on to drinks. Beer could be more, could be less. Grocery store beer is dirt cheap. Like cheeper than PBR. Going to a bar... You're looking at around $8 per pint, but there aren't cheep beers so really its slightly more than getting a guiness. A lot of places do have happy hour though and I was finding $5 to be pretty standard. Also, European Pint is larger than a US pint.
Mixed drinks are fucking stupid though. A house whiskey is around $10 and is typically Jack. If you want soda, you will buy an entire bottle and spend about $15 for your drink. Places basically only have water on tap.
Hotels are expensive. There aren't really hostels. The lowest quality hotel you will find is basically the quality of a US Best Western in which you can expect to pay $150 on the cheap but will probably get free internet, breakfast, have a bar, and free transport. They don't really do things half assed.
Trains, you can get a half pass meaning everything is half fare. Zurich to Luzern was $14 each way and it's an hour train ride. Sooooo same price as LA. Train to Paris if booked in advance was as low as $40, on the spot was around $100. I had $90 first class and got free drinks, food, and internet for 4 hours.
Gas is expensive, but it's expensive most places that aren't the US... and the public transport is so good pretty much none of my friends had cars unless they were wealthy by swiss standards or lived in the country.