This is a guest post by Maxine Raynor, a fellow Madrid expat, who launched Money Saver Spain to help us spend less !
For most people being a savvy shopper on their home ground and in their native tongue is second nature. However, moving to another country where you no longer speak the lingo means you often rely on the major department stores for shopping and the advice of well meaning friends regarding which companies to use for phones and utilities contracts.
Last year MoneySaverSpain.com was launched in order to help expats and long-term visitors save money in Spain, with info in English updated every week on the latest offers as well as more in-depth articles which give advice on a variety of areas, such as requesting grants from local authorities, how to deal with rogue salespeople and a lot more. Also we try to find new and innovative products or services in Spain that might be of interest, such as a website for creating your own fancy dress costumes – really useful for the many fiestas in Spain.
The most popular info is normally on meal deals at major Spanish restaurant chains and fashion and beauty discounts. Most offers are short-lived and so there’s an active presence on Twitter too (@moneysaverspain). Also for those who speak some Spanish we give occasional cheeky tips on how to save a few euros (such as asking for “muestras” in perfume shops – great for when you’re travelling with hand luggage only!)
This year saw the introduction of a weekly newsletter, out every Thursday, with a round-up of consumer news in Spain and deals & offers still on. The site is still in its early days, so feedback on what you’d like to see included is appreciated, just drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few tips on how to save in Madrid:
- Most hotel lobbies will have a selection of MiniCards – these are aimed at tourists but some have great discounts for restaurants, leisure activities and more. So just pop into any hotel when you’re around town and pick some up.
- Before you visit a museum, check out the conditions for free entrance. For example, at the Prado Museum it’s free if you’re a student under 25 years old, unemployed (need proof) or you’re under 31 and have a Youth Card (see the article on the Money Saver Spain website on youth cards and how to get them). And if you don’t fall under any of these categories, Monday to Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00 and Sundays & holidays from 17:00 to 19:00 h it’s free for everyone.
- Sign up to sites such as oportunista.com, put in your email and you’ll be informed of offers in the Madrid area. No prepayments, only discount coupons mainly for restaurants and beauty treatments.
- And if you really want to buy something in El Corte Inglés, don’t forget to take your passport and request your 10% tourist discount – it’s available on items in plenty of departments.