Manage your finances while living in Spain

Guest post by Francis Kramer

Convert your currency
Don’t convert your currency in the airport!

Moving to Spain from the United States might seem like a daunting undertaking — and sometimes the practical and logistical obstacles can seem like the most overwhelming. Something as mundane as opening a bank account can seem like an insurmountable barrier to relocation. Fortunately, handling your finances while living in Spain isn’t so different from managing financial matters in the U.S.

Convert Your Currency

When you are moving from the United States to Spain, you are going to need to convert your currency, of course, in order to make any sort of transaction. You’ll need to pay rent or a mortgage, not to mention buy groceries and entertain yourself — so you’ll need to turn your dollars into euros. When you decide to do this, you are going to find that the best route to take is to work with a foreign exchange officer instead of doing this through an automated teller. The reason is that the officer can exchange larger amounts of money more cheaply and more efficiently. You can save yourself a lot of money through going this route.

Find a Bank

Managing your finances is only possible if you have a bank that you can trust. With that being said, there are two main types of banks that are in Spain. Those that are regional and those that are national. For the best opportunity and the most access, you should go with a national bank. There are two major national banks in Spain that you are going to have the choice of choosing between, these are Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) and Satander Central Hispano. Either of these banks are going to allow you to have access to your funds throughout all of Spain, and you will find that this can make managing your money even easier.

Open Your Account

Opening your bank account is the first step to take after getting the bank that you want to work with. You will find that if you are making Spain your home, you are going to want to go with a resident account. However, if you are just going to be in Spain on and off throughout the year, then you are going to find that a non-resident account will fit your needs.

Plan for Later

You should set aside a bit before you leave the country should you need to re-establish yourself in the United States. This way, you won’t have to convert your remaining euros back into dollars, which can be a costly process, depending on the current exchange rate. The best method to do this is by setting up a savings account at an American bank. This will allow you to earn interest. You might also consider putting money into a mutual fund, where it will experience higher growth at a higher (albeit still relatively reasonable) level of risk.

Francis Kramer loves to travel, and he is a contributing writer for

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