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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

Are You Still Owed PPI? How to Reclaim Payment Protection the Easy Way for Expats
05 May 2019

The PPI scandal rumbles on. You have up until the end of August 29 2019 to make a claim. If you have not made a claim yet, or found a PPI resolution provider, it is a good idea to so now. Many people are still not sure how to reclaim money owed to them under the PPI scheme. One of the reasons is simply that they are not sure if they had PPI or not. 

PPI was sold under many different names. It is easy to presume it is going to say Payment Protection on your paperwork. However, it is more likely PPI was sold to you under a different name.

These are the most common names, or terms, you will find on your paperwork:

Account Cover
Credit Insurance
Payment Protection
Loan insurance
Loan Protection
Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance ( Abbreviated ASU)
Payment cover
Protection plan

Who Is Affected by PPI Mis-Selling?

Anybody who had a mortgage, a loan or held a credit card in the UK can be affected by the PPI mis-selling scandal. That includes personal loans and car loans. Go through your old paperwork and try to find out as much information as you can. It could be you have a substantial PPI claim hiding in a drawer somewhere. Many expats are affected by PPI but not aware that they can reclaim PPI. Launching a claim as soon as possible would be a good idea as a Brexit could have a negative effect on exchange rates. A lower exchange rate would make your claim worth considerably less and is best avoided.

Companies and banks started to sell PPI back in the late 1980s. If you took out some kind of financial agreement around that time, it is likely that you will have been mis-sold PPI on one financial product or more. Don’t forget this applies to store cards as well.

Leading stores such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer added PPI to their credit card more or less automatically unless you ticked a box refusing the insurance. Most staff in stores were not well trained and did not explain Payment Protection Insurance would be added to their financial product.

Martin Knipe from the company RYM Claims says many people have still not checked their current or former financial products. You may not have PPI on your mortgage currently, but it does not mean that it was not added on in the past. Martin points out that some customers are concerned to claim PPI from a current loan or credit provider. A claim for PPI is not going to affect your current relationship with your lender. 

This is a list of loan providers which may have sold you PPI:

Credit cards
Store cards
Car finance

I Am An Ex-Pat - Can I Claim PPI?

You certainly can claim PPI even though you are now living abroad. Make sure you have your former UK address details when you contact a former lender or a company specialising in PPI reclaims.

It helps if you have as much information available as possible. An account number or former mortgage agreement will help.

How Much Am I Likely to Get In a PPI Refund?

PPI refunds vary a great deal. According to Martin, it is important to check. Refunds range from a couple of thousand pounds to over £50,000. 

To reclaim your PPI you can try it to go it alone or use a company. Most companies are very successful when it comes to making PPI’s claim on your behalf and know their way around the system. 

 Before you ask a specialist PPI reclaim company to help you, it is important to make sure the company is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Quality PPI reclaim companies will always make sure they inform you of their FCA number. Once again, it is a good idea for UK expats resident in Spain or any other country to start a PPI reclaim as soon as possible.

Take some time out of your busy day to check if you were possibly mis-sold PPI. You may even have a substantial claim on your hands.

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How to Boost Your Income in Retirement
14 April 2019

Has your pension income flatlined? Most people around the world only have a certain amount of income in retirement. Unfortunately, interest rates are still low and are not likely to increase in the near future.  It is not only you who are affected. Millions of retirees have been affected by steadily falling interest rates.
This has forced many retirees back to work, many have found themselves struggling even though they thought they were going to have good retired incomes. The truth is that living costs are out of line with many pensions. 
Instead of enjoying their retirements, many have been forced to go back to work. These days, you are likely to find retirees working in supermarkets and gas stations to make ends meet. Should you find yourself in a similar sort of situation, it could be a good idea to check out what you can do to help yourself.
Are Your Owed Any Money?
First of all, check if you are owed any money. If you live in the UK and were born before May 3, 1953, you are entitled to what it is known as the Winter Fuel Allowance. This means that you are entitled to an extra payment of £100 up to £300 per year. 
You should also check if you are owed any money from banks or building societies. PPI has been very much in the news and is still an issue in the UK. Check out if you are eligible for a PPI claim
Find a Job
Yes, it is a good idea to find a job. But, do you need to leave home to work? If you need to travel to work, you need to take any travel expenses into account. Fuel is not cheap, and driving to work can easily cost you a lot of money. 
There are smarter ways to work. You could become a dog sitter and walker, take in ironing, or even do some sewing. Of course, you can also work online. Setting up your own blog is a good idea. You can make money from your blog using online advertising schemes such as Adsense and affiliate marketing programs. 
It is not difficult to become a blogger and companies such as Weebly makes it easy for you to set your first website. Even if you have not tried blogging or creating your own website before, you will find it easy to do with Weebly. Who knows – you may even become a Digital Nomad! 
Make Sure You Make the Most Out of Money Saving Schemes
Popular supermarket bonus schemes can help you to save money if you use them in the right sort of way. It does not seem to matter where in the world you live, you fill that your local supermarket will have some sort of loyalty card scheme. They can save you money, but you need to be clever about how you use your points. If you are savvy enough, there are some high ticket items which you never need to spend money on again. But, you need to think ahead. 
Also, you need to check out cash back credit cards and make sure you make the most out of your ISA allowance. More and more banks are leaving the UK high street and it can be hard to find financial advice. Not all of us like to use services such as internet and telephone banking. 
Cashback sites can help as well, and there are a couple of good ones that you could try. You could even set up a newsletter promoting the best deals on cash back and discounts sites. 
In other words, there are a plethora of ways to boost your pension. Keep an eye on how much money you are earning to inspire yourself and others. 

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Have You Been Mis-sold Your QROPS Pension or Other Pension Scheme?
07 April 2019

Since the 1980s, the financial service industry both in the UK, Spain, and other countries abroad, been making a lot of money from selling pensions. Unfortunately, many of these pensions have been mis-sold. For many expats as well as UK residents, this has meant huge financial loses. Some have even lost their entire pension pot.
QROPS Pensions
QROPS stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme. When it comes to overseas pensions schemes, this is perhaps the most common pension scheme ex-pats may have found themselves talked into. It sounds great on the surface of it, but in the long run, a QROPS investment can be an expensive mistake.
Funds held in UK pension schemes have been transferred into QROPS often with companies which are not properly regulated. The initial point of contact is often a cold call and the operator may even come across as slightly aggressive. 
The caller makes the QROPS sound great, and ex-pats often commit to them in their droves without having checked out the nature of the investment and the alternatives. They are promised a lump sum and a new pension in an overseas territory. 
The truth is that companies do not offer QROPS schemes out of the goodness of their hearts. Financial brokers and investment firms make a small fortune out of selling these schemes. Commission rates vary a great deal, and you can end up paying anything from £8,000 to £30,000. There is little wonder why companies insist on them being such a good investment option.
Most QROPS schemes are not a good investment option for you. Instead, they really only make financial sense to the financial adviser or investment company selling them.
Self Invested Pensions (SIPP)
SIPP style pension schemes were mainly sold in the UK. On the surface of it, they sounded great but it would appear investors may have lost millions. SIPP pension schemes are set up to hold high-risk investments with high charging structures. Investors have commonly transferred their private or employer's pension into a SIPP after having been promised high returns.
If you have invested in a SIPP, it could be a good idea to find out what your pension is now worth, and at the same time, you should make sure you understand the charging structure. 
Occupational Pension Schemes (OPS)
Occupational pensions schemes are often set up by unregulated companies to try to avoid the proper advice process. We have heard a lot about them recently thanks to employers the likes of Sir Philip Green. OPS plans are mainly set up by employers to help their employees save for retirement.
Most OPS schemes fall within three categories:
  1. Benefit pension schemes
  2. Contributory pension schemes
  3. Cash balance plans
The employer is often required to pay in and contribute towards the scheme. Most employers like to match their staff's contribution.
You should always review your pension arrangements. However, do not take the advice of cold callers. If you are thinking about making changes, speak to an independent financial adviser, or maybe speak to a couple to make sure that you are familiar with all of the options available. 

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How to Keep Your Credit Card Safe
30 March 2019

Keeping your credit card safe is a serious matter these days. Billions are being lost to credit card fraud every year. Yet, many people seem to be only too happy to hand out their credit card details. We are increasingly reliant on our credit cards to pay for goods and services. When making payment for goods online, we don't think twice about handing over our credit card details.
Many consumers are not aware of how they can protect themselves from credit card fraud. For instance, it is only too easy to hand over your credit card details when your annual insurance policies are due or when you want to complete a purchase.
Top Tips On Keeping Your Credit Card Details Safe
There are ways in which you can make credit card less likely. Maybe one of the best ways is not to pay by credit card at all. If an online retailer accepts Paypal, this is often a more secure payment method. However, there are times when you do want to use your card. If that is so, there are a couple of steps that you can take.
Phone Them Back
When your insurance company phones you up to ask for a payment, it is a good idea to phone them back to make the payment, After all, how do you know it is your insurance company? The first thing you should do is to check that they have your insurance policy number. If they do, it is great, but it does not give you the complete picture. Many companies get hacked every day, and companies holding financial information are more likely to get hacked.
To make sure that you are actually talking to your insurance company, ask them if you could call them back. Check that the phone number given to you is associated with the company. You should also ask them to send you an email to confirm the cost of the policy. Don't be embarrassed to do – it is your money.
Check Your Statement Online
Make sure that you have access to your credit card statement online. This allows you to check on an ongoing basis to make sure that all transactions are correct. A lot of people throw away their receipts, but this is not a good idea. Check your statement a couple of times per week.
Set Up An Alert with Your Credit Card Company
Setting up an alert is another good. A lot of credit card companies allow you to download an app which records and sends you a message when someone debits your card. This is a great way of keeping an eye on your card. If you suspect fraud, give your credit card company a fraud right away.
Leaving Your Credit Card Details Online
Don't leave your credit card details with your favorite online shops. You may trust them, and they could be great, but you never know. Even the safest stores can be hacked or a member of staff may access records.
If a company insists that you leave your details with them on a permanent basis, you should ask yourself why. Some auction sites ask you to leave your credit card as a form of security or to make bidding easier, you should vote with your feet.
On top of that, you should never give your credit card to the restaurant staff. Make sure they bring the machine to your table instead.
In other words, never let your credit card out of your site, and you may even want to consider a prepaid credit card to be on the safe side. 

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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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