Five-Minute Money Hacks to Get Your Budget Back on Track

Not. Enough. Time.

How often do you use these words as an excuse to not get round to anything, especially something as uninteresting as your personal finances?

We’ve rounded up ten ways to help you save money in Spain that take less than five minutes each.

#1 Check your bank account every week

Log on. Check money in and out over the last seven days. Log off.

For anything you don’t recognise, note it down and get in touch with your bank.

You have up to 56 days to return a direct debit in Spain. Don’t immediately return one you’re unsure about, if it’s valid you could be hit with an additional charge. 

When checking your account, if you’re still paying membership fees for anything you no longer use, get online, or call, and cancel immediately.

#2 Check your electric tariff once a year

Use our comparison site in English, it takes less than two minutes to put in your details and upload your latest bill.

And if you’re already on the best tariff, read our post for more suggestions on how to save.

If yours is one of the 70% of households in Spain paying over the odds, it could be the best five minutes you spend this month. 

#3 Diarise recurring payments

All you need is a diary or smartphone. Note the date your recurring payments, such as insurance, are up for renewal and the last date that each contract can be legally cancelled.

Car and home insurance companies should send you details about the new premium two months before renewal. But, in case you don’t receive it you’ll have your diary to remind you.

Don’t accept any increase in price without querying it with the company. Even if you’re not interested in changing company, in most cases if you hint that you’re willing to go elsewhere you’ll often find that companies will offer a lower premium.

#4 Ditch credit cards with annual fees (unless the perks are great)

Do you know if you pay commission for your bank credit card? If you’re not sure, find out.

With annual fees of around 30€ or higher, what perks are you getting that you wouldn’t get with a free card?

Take a look at our guide to cards with no annual fee that offer additional perks in exchange for a low quarterly expenditure threshold.

Don’t forget to pay off in full at the end of the month to avoid interest charges.

#5 Open an account for currency exchange

Stop using your bank for currency exchange. And don’t be fooled by the “no commission” banner – it’s just an excuse for poor exchange rates.

specialist account offers better rates and transfers in most currencies take less than a minute*.

Also consider getting a multi-currency card if you often travel abroad outside the Eurozone.

*For transfers ordered by credit or debit card.

#6 Get a store loyalty card

If you always shop at the same store, ask if they have a loyalty card. It only takes a few minutes to fill in the application form and cards tend to come with points, discounts and other promos.

Take care to check that it’s not a payment card, you don’t want to be hit with interest charges.

Take a look at our info on Club Carrefour Card Perks and the best store cards.

#7 Locate ATMs

Not all ATMs offer free withdrawals. And with more and more bank branches closing every year, finding a free ATM is becoming more difficult.

Before travelling around Spain find out which banks (as well as your own) allow free cash withdrawals.

If you’re thinking of going cashless, be aware that some shops and bars will only allow payment by card over a threshold, normally around 10€.

#8 Buy train tickets online, not at the station

For mid and long-distance train travel, buying at the station means paying an additional charge.

Find out all the tips and tricks you need to save on your next train trip in our guide.

#9 Unsubscribe

Junk email just tempts you to spend your hard-earned cash. Take a few minutes each day during one week to unsubscribe from absolutely everything that’s not essential.

Double results: less temptation and less time spent deleting unwanted mail in the future.

#10 Sign-up for our newsletter

Yes, we’ve just told you to unsubscribe from newsletters, but not from ours! It’s a five-minute read and comes with the best ways to save in Spain.

You can find the sign-up form at the top of the right hand column. We only need your email address and your first name, and we will never divulge your details to anyone.