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How to save money in Spain

How to save money in Spain, and how to find ways to save money online. Saving money is something that we are all a bit interested in. Find out how you can stop losing money on foreign exchage and currency rates and save money on foreign exchange rates instead. Find out how you can save money by an expat financial review. Learn more about expat health insurance and how you can save money on every day living expenses in Spain. You may even be able to save money on tax, and make the most out of your UK pension

Financial Solutions for Ex-Pats in Spain
08 March 2019

Financial solutions for British expats living in Spain are now more urgent than ever before. The UK government seems to have lost complete control of its Brexit exit strategy if they ever had one. Many expats have carried on hoping that everything will be alright, but now it looks less likely that “everything” will be alright. There is a precious little time to review your finances and put the best strategies in place to prevent potential financial problems.
What Are the Top Issues Expats Should Be Concerned About Before a No Deal Brexit?
Pensions are of course the biggest concerns to many expats. Your state pension is not likely to be affected but your private pension may be an issue. It is likely that your private pension may be subject to a 25% tax from HRMC. This is what happens to expats living outside of the EU now. British Expats in Spain may also find themselves to this rather hefty tax.
Health insurance could be another issue. The Spanish government seems to be extending an olive branch but you never know what is going to happen. If the UK government does not offer the same deal to Spanish expats living in the UK, things may change. It could be a good idea to take a look at the range of private health insurers which are available in Spain just to make sure that you have options available in case things go wrong.
Should you go offshore? Depending on how much money you have available, it may be a good idea to take a look at some of the deals offered by off-shore banks. Some off-shore banks have very reasonable investments level and can help you with everything from credit cards to travel insurance. Take stock of all your investments and money that you have in your bank accounts to create a complete picture of your position before you contact off-shore banks. A good option would be to incorporate a company in a location such as Gibraltar. 
Many expats are anxiously waiting to see what is going to happen. Maybe the best idea is to take some action and find out what you can do to help yourself to shore up your finances during this difficult and challenging financial period. 

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The Brexit Effect on Expat Savings and Expat Investments
18 January 2019

If you are finding that your expat savings are already being devoured by inflation, you may be worrying even more now when Brexit looms over expat savings and investments. Many expats have now moved away from investments such as stocks and shares. An increasing amount of expats hold their savings in cash in the bank. Many quote Brexit as a major cause for concern when it comes to reviewing their expats' savings.
However, this may just be the perfect time to consider an expats savings review. 
Expat Savings Review
Should you consider an expat savings review right now? Studies show that a very low number of expats would consider and expat saving view before they know the outcome of Brexit. But, reviewing the way you save your money is exactly what you should be doing. There is no way of bulletproof your finances against Brexit, however, there are acceptable risks.
Now could be a good time to look at moving some of that cash into stock market investments. Some financial analysts predict that the UK can be a serious mover and shaker when it comes to increased share prices after Brexit. At the moment, UK FTSE share prices are more reasonable than others, and now could be a good time to invest. 
Expat Investments Review
An expat investment review should always be part of good financial planning. More than likely you already have some investments in place. It can be a private pension or other investment instruments. But, there are some who think that having access to UK based private pension funds may be difficult after Brexit. If you are an expat relying on the current or future income of a private pension in the UK, it would be a good idea to find out what the alternatives out.
One of the alternatives could be to take a look at if QROPS. Make sure that you use a regulated financial adviser if you are planning a forage into the world of QROPS investments. Once you start looking around, you will find it can be hard to distinguish the wood from trees, and getting some professional advice is always the best idea. 
The commission charges on QROPS can be steep. Understanding all of the charges is key to taking out the right QROPS scheme for you. 
I know that I have written about these topics before in this blog. However, almost every day I meet people who are concerned about their savings and pensions. Most of them are rather complacent when it comes to financial reviews.  What matters more than anything else is that you are in control of your finances. Many people have no control at all.
When you find it hard to control your own expat savings and expat investments, you are the ideal candidate for a financial review. Don't be embarrassed. Contact a financial adviser and find out what action you can take to improve your investment return and make the most out of your expat savings. 

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4 Things You Must Do As an Expat Before Brexit
14 January 2019

What is going to happen when Brexit comes into effect? Let's be honest, no one really knows when Brexit it. That is apart from one thing – Brexit will one way or the other effect your finances. More than likely Brexit will have some negative impact on your expat finances. You can't really bulletproof your finances, however, there are steps which you can take to make your income and personal financial arrangement less vulnerable. 
Our expat living standards are important to us. Many expats living in Spain or in other warm countries around the world, retired early to enjoy life. Brexit will have an impact on our standard of living in many different ways. Most expats in Spain are looking into how they can cut back on expenses to enjoy the things which we may now take for granted. 
4 Things All Expats Should Be Doing Right Now
If you have not already done them, there are 4 top things which expats living in Spain should be doing right now. Keeping up your standard of living should be top of your agenda. After all, living in Spain is very much about enjoying life.
Expat Savings Reviews
How are your savings doing? I bet that you are concerned about your savings. If you spend more than 183 days in Spain, you will be classed as a resident. Even if you have what you may consider a relatively small amount of money saved, you should complete an expat savings review. Take a look around the Internet, and you will find there are independent financial advisers who are happy to help you complete a complimentary expat financial review. This is just as important whether you live in Spain or Singapore.
Your savings in Spain are one of the things which could help to top up your income should any UK based investments cause a problem after Brexit.
Brexit and Expat Pensions
Many Spanish UK expats have raised concerns about the state of private pensions after Brexit. The jury seems to be out on this issue. In fact, it could be that you may not be able to receive your UK private pension in Spain after Brexit. 
As things are so unclear, and this is an issue for many UK expats in Spain and other EU countries, it is best to contact a financial adviser. There could still be some options available, but according to an article in the Independent, there is real cause for concern if the UK should crash out of the EU without a deal. Instead of being complacent, you need to review your options for your UK pension as soon as possible. 
Brexit and Exchange Rates
Are you receiving a regular income from the UK in the form on rental income on a property or other type of income such as regular bank transfers? Once again, you need to make sure you take steps to protect yourself from the expected negative effect on Sterling exchange rates which Brexit is expected to have. Check out some of the currency transfer companies around. They have plenty of experience in currency forecasting and can offer better rates than banks.
Expat Health Insurance and Brexit
What is going to happen to health agreements? This is another thing which is up in the affair. Brexit will certainly make travel insurance for UK residents more expensive, but how will it affect UK expats living in Spain and other EU countries? This is the big unknown, and if you are concerned, now is a  good time as any to check out expat health insurance.
The companies which offer expat health insurance range from Spanish companies to well-established UK health insurance companies such as Cigna and BUPA. One top tip before you invest in an expat health insurance. Make sure that you completely understand the policy. Most of the time expat health insurance will not cover the cost of medicines. You may have to deal with the cost of medicine in a different way. Before you buy international health insurance review what you are being offered and get everything in writing. 
Brexit is going to mean a brave new world for many expats in Spain other European countries. You should familiarise yourself with all of the potential risks before a Brexit deal is accepted, or the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

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Which is the Best Discount Shopping Site in the UK? Vs.
13 January 2019

We all try to save a little bit of money these days. Shopping discounts are becoming more popular by the day. In the UK, the two top discounts sites are and Wowcher. Both of them have some fantastic offers, and you save a lot of money by using discount shopping sites. But, can you say that one is better than the other? 
Unless you use discount shopping sites a lot, it can be hard to distinguish figure out which one is the best. Both Wowcher and Groupon have their advantages and it is a matter of figuring out which one suits your needs. 
Don't rush into anything. Even though both sites say that they have limited offers, and even a count down, there is always plenty of good offers available on both sites.
The top reasons for shopping on Groupon in the UK includes being able to invest in designer brands at bargain prices. You may have to hunt around a bit, but if you love your designer brands, this is the best site out of the two. Some of the designer bargains on Groupon are a little bit last season, but you can certainly get great value for money.
Buying clothes on Groupon is another good idea. You can pick up some real bargains. At the same time, you need to be aware that at least some of the bargains may come from factory outlets in China. It does not mean that the quality is bad, you just need to be careful with sizes.
Investing in fashion jewelry on Groupon is another hot tip. Take a look around the site, and you will find plenty of deals on brands like Swarovski and some designer brands of jewelry as well.
When you are an addict to designer sunglasses like me, Groupon is the best site to use. It does not seem to matter what time of the year you log on, you can find some good deals on designer sunglasses. Many of the offers can be as low as 50% off the shop price. Certainly a deal worth having.
Furniture is also good value for money on Groupon. Sure, IKEA is a great way to decorate your home on a budget, but you should check out Groupon for your furniture needs. The delivery costs for furniture are reasonable, and you don't have to worry about walking through a great big store with many tempting bargains on bits and pieces. Just click and order, and your order normally turns up within days.
So, what about Wowcher? I think that Wowcher is a great site when it comes to discount days out. It is especially good if you live in London. As we all know, going out in London can be expensive, and Wowcher has some great deals on days out in London. Spa breaks and beauty treatments are both great value for money on Wowcher and worth looking out for.
The other thing that you want to check out on Wowcher is the holiday section. The site has become synonymous with deals on holidays and weekend breaks in the UK or abroad. Sure, there are other sites out there which have offers, but I have personally picked up some great deals on Wowcher.
Furniture deals on Wowcher are not always so great. But, that does not mean you can't use Wowcher when you feel you need to update your home. Look out for deals on bedding, duvets and pillows. Wowcher is also a great site for picking up deals on towels and other household essentials.
On top of that, you will also find plenty of deals on designer watches and some branded jewelry.
You can earn points as you shop on Wowcher. If you use the site on a regular basis, they will quickly add up and you can bag yourself bargains using your points. 

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Brexit: What You Need to Know About Brexit and Expat Pensions
07 January 2019

What is going to happen to pension saving after Brexit? The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is not only affecting residents in the UK. It is a problem which is a concern of many British expats living across the world. Should you find yourself worrying about your pension savings, it could be a good idea to consider having an expat pension review.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live On In My Retirement?
When it comes to pensions, Brexit is making a difficult situation even harder to understand. No one seems to have a clear answer on what is going to happen to pensions after Brexit. However, there is one thing financial experts do agree on. The foreign exchange rate, pound sterling to the Euro, is bound to be affected. If your funds are currently based in the UK, and you get your pension converted from Sterling to Euros, you will see a fall in your pensionable income.
Now is a good time to sit down and add up your expenses, and check your financial plans for the future. It could be that you will need more money to continue to live abroad or in the UK, and it is best to be prepared.
Does the UK State Pension Cover an Expat Lifestyle?
If you are surviving on only a UK state pension, you may just find yourself struggling after a Brexit. If the right deal can't be agreed with the other 27 EU countries, you may even end up paying extra for your expat lifestyle. At the moment, many UK expats in European countries are fortunate enough to access the health systems in their countries thanks to a special agreement. The question is if this will remain in place. If it does not remain in place, you may be asked to take out private health insurance.
How much money do you really need to enjoy an expat lifestyle? Most expats living in Spain like to go out for dinner or lunch a couple of times per week. Going out for lunch or dinner is one of those things all expats expect to be able to do. But, it could be time to take a step back and add up how much eating out is costing you per week. If it costs you more than 40 Euros per week, it could be a good idea to start cutting back. Don't forget about adding in those beers that quickly adds up.
How Much Have You Saved Up From Your Annual Income?
Unless you have saved up at least 15% of your income throughout your working life, you may struggle to enjoy a good quality lifestyle in your retirement. The truth is that we should always be reviewing your pension status. It is a well known that we are often complacent about our pension during our working life.
We may start off saving a certain amount, but as costs go and wages stay stagnant, it may be harder to keep up the payments not to mention increasing them. This is one of the reasons it has become so important to cut back on expenses. But, cutting back on expenses is easier said than done even though your income may have increased during the years.
As a rule of thumb, a 15% annual saving rate from your income is what you should aim for if you would like to have an opportunity to enjoy a good quality lifestyle in retirement. But, if you are in a lower paid job, you may even need to save more to cover future living expenses. Ask yourself what you NEED to spend your pensionable income on, and what everyday living expenses you could cut down on. On top of that, you certainly want to consider what extra income you could generate during your retirement. 
Brexit is like a step out in the big unknown for many. Stop for a while and consider what Brexit may mean to you financially and consider how Brexit will affect your retirement financial planning. 

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How to Access a Personal Loan in the UK When You Have Bad Credit
28 October 2018

I need a £500 today But I Have Bad Credit – What Should I do?
Do you have bad credit and need an urgent loan? The small loan market used to be very restrictive. Payday loans were the only option available for many borrows who needed a small urgent loan. Borrowing a small amount is common in the UK. Unfortunately, low wages and bad credit remain a problem, and a borrower may, for instance, need to borrow money to pay an unexpected bill.
What Criteria Do You Need to Meet When You Need a Small Urgent Loan? 
You need to consider that you would need a guarantor. This is a person who guarantees to pay off the loan for you in case you can't afford to pay it back. Normally he or she would need to be a homeowner and will be asked to provide proof of regular income such as P45 and wage slips. 
Having a guarantor is particularly important when you have bad credit or CCJ's. Some lenders may accept you even though you may have bad credit, but this may not apply to lenders who have not dealt with you in the past.
What Personal Loan Companies Will Help Me?
There is a range of personal loan companies out there which can help you. The best thing you can do is to make sure you have a guarantor in place before you approach any companies. Once you are certain you have a guarantor on board it will be easier to find the right loan solution for you.
Payday loan companies and personal loan companies have a minimum amount they will lend to you. Fortunately most of the time they are pretty easy to reach. You will find their details on the web, or daily newspaper carry adverts as well. The best companies for small personal loans include Amigo loans and 1 plus 1 Loans. 
Before you and your guarantor sign up for any loans, you need to read the terms and conditions. The APR on small loans is often very high, and you can end up paying back much more than the borrowed amount. Reputable companies will have calculators on their websites. Put in the amount you need to borrow and make sure you can afford the repayments. 
What Are the Repayments On a £500 Loan
The repayments on a £500 can be as much as £52 per months and the minimum payment period is 12 months. That means that you are going to end up paying back at least £624 but often more than that if certain fees are applied. The average APR is around 47% which is a high APR to accrue should you miss a payment.
Always make sure that the company you use is a direct lender and not a broker. Getting involved with a loan broker will cost you extra on top of the actual loan and other fees. 
In general, it is best to avoid small loan amounts, but with so many zero hours contracts around and challenging employment conditions, many need quick access to extra money from time to time. 

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How to Get Compensation for Bad Pension Transfer Advice
18 October 2018

In recent years transferring your pension to another pension provider, or if you are an ex-pat living in Spain, you may even have been tempted to join a QROPS plan. But what do you when things go wrong and you have been given the wrong advice? 
What is Pension Transfer? 
A pension transfer means that you transfer your occupational or private pension into another pension scheme. Sometimes there is a cash sum involved but at other times, funds are just moved on a new scheme. 
Pension transfers may sound great on the face of it, but it all depends on how the money is reinvested. If you are a senior, a pension transfer could be a high-risk financial strategy especially if you are transferring your pension from an occupational pension scheme. It is important to realise any transfer is irreversible. Unscrupulous financial advisers may fail to explain all of the dangers of pension transfers. It is important to realise any pension transfer is irreversible and you may even lose any guaranteed income when you retire. 
Understanding the risks associated with pension transfers should not be underestimated, and it is crucial to understand transferring your pension may not be for you. As a matter of fact, a pension transfer is only right in extremely limited circumstances. Sadly, pension transfers have been widely mis-sold.
How Does Mis-Sold a Pension Transfer Happen?
If you are on a fixed income or are going to be on a fixed income in your retirement, a pension transfer is not likely to be in your best interest. Many companies promoting and selling transfers fail to explain they are both complex and risky. They may even be part of high-risk investment strategies and you can stand to risk losing valuable pension benefits.
An investment adviser or financial company will seldom offer a guarantee on your investment. For a person used to selling financial products, it is easy to make it sound like you are going to benefit, but unless you are an expert, misunderstanding pension transfers are easy to do. 
There are some systems in place to help you if you have been mis-sold a pension transfer, but that being said, compensation may not be applicable in all countries. 
How Do I Know if I Have Been Mis-sold a Pension Transfer?
How do you spot if you have been mis-sold a pension transfer? Most people don't realise that they have been mis-sold a pension transfer until it is too late. In some cases, the investment adviser may even have left the area, or if you completed on your pension transfer over the phone, you could perhaps find he is not answering his phone anymore. This is very serious, and you should as soon as possible contact the police. 
However, there are other indications which can give you some clue that you have been mis-sold.
1)A final salary scheme which was, or is, your only source of retirement income. 
2)You realise you were not given a complete explanation of the risks involved in transferring your pension, and your income has been severely affected.
3)You all of sudden think that you may have been pushed too hard and now you are not sure if you have done the right thing.
Fortunately, there are specialist companies out there which can help you to reclaim your money. They are not always successful, and if you do suspect financial fraud, you should contact the financial authorities in the country you live in. Sure, you should always review your financial situation. But when it comes to your pension, it could be best to leave it invested in the original pension scheme.

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Car Leasing in Spain Made Simple
30 September 2018

Most ex-pats know that buying a  car in Spain can be both expensive and hard work. Second-hand cars in Spain are expensive compared to the same models and year of manufacturer back in the UK. What about new cars? Some may be better value for money but don't expect to get the same discounts that you can get in other countries.
As a car buyer in Spain, you are also expected to pay for the transfer fees, and checking if the car has any finance outstanding. Simply put, buying a car in Spain can mean a lot of hassle.
Long Term Car Lease in Spain
Should you lease your car in Spain? Car leasing, or auto renting,  as it is called in Spain, is popular with the Spanish. The vast majority of my Spanish friends lease their cars. Does it offer good value for money? The simple answer to that is yes.
How Do I Lease a Car in Spain?
If you would like to lease a car in Spain, it is best to turn to your bank.  Manufacturers also operate leasing schemes, but so far I have not found a manufacturer's plan which offers good value for money. 
It is a much better idea to turn to your local bank and ask them what they have available. Offers and cars will change all of the time, and you can even lease, or rent, vans for business purposes. When you lease or rent a vehicle for business purposes, you will be allowed to reclaim monthly IVA and offset the monthly cost of the vehicle.
As usual, certain terms and conditions do apply, and you need to make sure you understand them. But, you can certainly save money when you lease your vehicle in Spain.

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What You Need to Know About Your Credit Report: Free Credit Reports Know-How
24 August 2018

Have you ever wondered who pulls your credit report and why? If you have, here is some food for thought for you, and you may just want to check your credit report. 

Most people associate their credit report with the chance of obtaining new credit, and give no thought to the other reasons of how it may impact on their daily lives. The negative aspect of bad credit is more often considered with a poor report being detrimental. The other way to see it is that a good credit report is helpful in many areas, opening doors and saving money.

It is up to each individual to build and maintain a good credit score to work in ones favour. A bad credit report can be rectified through various means and once a favourable report is achieved it should be maintained, and checked regularly.

So who pulls your credit report and why? It is available upon request for a number of reasons. Banks and creditors have the right to the information held, as do insurance companies, mortgage lenders, landlords and employers. It is in your own interest to maintain a good credit score and not have detrimental information on your record, as you can’t hide it.

It is clear why landlords want to assess the information held. A landlord does not want to rent his property to an irresponsible tenant who may have a habit of paying bills late. A landlord does not know the person and a credit check is a good method of assessing a stranger’s risk of paying the rent on time.


An employer, on the other hand, will be looking to establish an actual relationship with an employee and there are many more determining factors in a person's suitability than a credit report. Obviously, it is of prime importance for anyone looking for a job within the finance industry to have a top-notch credit rating, but less necessary for other employers to see.

On the one hand, a good credit report indicates responsibility, whilst a bad credit report can mean that a person just hasn’t built up a credit history, or a long history of good credit has been tarnished by one temporary blip. Nevertheless, some employers do take a credit report into consideration before extending an offer of employment. Employers may turn down an applicant due to bad credit on the presumption they are irresponsible and less trustworthy.

Ninety percent of Insurance companies pull your credit report too, again looking for signs of responsible handling of finances Statistical analysis has shown that a person with a good credit report is less likely to be an insurance risk and make fewer claims.

Responsibility with credit is generally interpreted as responsibility in other areas of life, such as home security and maintenance, good car maintenance and safer driving habits. Thus insurance payments are influenced by credit scores and a good credit report can result in lower property and auto insurance premiums.

Potential creditors, be it mortgage companies, banks, loan companies or credit card issuers all have the right to pull your credit report as their first move to assess your suitability. They want to safeguard the money they advance you and what better way than to evaluate your credit report to get a full picture of your credit history.

They may turn you down flat, or they may offer you what you want subject to higher interest rates. Then again they may see a report with an excellent credit history and advance the mortgage or credit and consider you a valuable customer worth doing business with. A good report can work in your favour and lead to preferential rates and better deals. It could literally save you thousands of dollars in mortgage interest.

This information shows the merits of maintaining a good credit report and the downfalls of failing to do so. Always check your reports, which are free annually, and ensure any errors are rectified before someone pulls your report. As you are aware that it will be checked, make your credit report work to your advantage.

You can obtain a free credit report from the following companies


Annual Credit Report



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Supermarket Club Card Savings vs Budget Supermarkets
04 August 2018

How to Save Money on Food Shopping; Consum vs Lidl


We all handle our economy in different ways. Some of us believe that the best way to save money is to cut our food bill as much as possible. As long as you are still eating healthy foods, there is no harm in that at all. But it is easy to slip up and start to eat less healthy food just because it is cheap. 

I decided that I would do an experiment and see how much money I could save by shopping in my local budget supermarket for one month, and how much money I could in money off vouchers in my regular supermarket. 

My grandma always used to tell me that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. Is that still true? Shopping today is far more complicated than it used to be. We have many more supermarkets. They offer different deals and new shopping experiences. Multibuys or 50% off the second product is rather a new thing, and I am sure that our grandparents would be very confused about the concept. Do I believe in multi buys? The jury is still out on that one. 

How would our grandparents feel about club cards? I am sure that they would find them hard work. After all, all of the supermarkets are different. You can pick up extra savings and choose how you spend them. You can even spend your club card specials on non-grocery items. The modern shopping experience would certainly have many of our grandparents confused.

At first, I was confused as well. As I wanted to get it right, I wrote down the weight of the items that I normally bought. So, if I normally bought a multi-pack of tuna ( 3 tins at 80 grams each) I wanted to make sure that I could buy the same quantity in the other store. Walking around the store, I soon realized the budget supermarket would not be cheaper on all of the items I would normally purchase during my weekly shop. I also decided that I would only buy supermarket own brands and leave top brands out of my price comparison. 

It was rather a big project to take on, but at the end of the two months, I finally sat back and look at the results. Yes, the club card savings soon added up, but when I checked my statement online for the month, I found that I had not accumulated as much money as I thought I would. My friend is an addict to this supermarket, but even with her club card savings, I am pretty sure that she is not getting such a good deal. 

My weekly shop in the budget supermarket saved me a lot of money every week. Savings soon add up when you are saving 20 centimos on every packet of dog food you are buying, and 2 Euros to on cheese. It helped that the budget supermarket had special offers on every Thursday, Saturday, and Monday. They also had other deals I liked such as a box of three pizzas which I could just add extra toppings too. On average I saved about Euros 10 per week by shopping in the budget supermarket, and sometimes more. 

I am almost a convert to budget supermarket shopping, but any items which are cheaper, or the same price, I still buy in my regular supermarket. Even though I buy less in my regular supermarket, I still get a monthly money off cheque as I take advantage of special offers which offer good value for money. And grandma was right, the pounds do look after themselves when you look after the pennies or centimos in my case.

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