Guest post by Myra Azzopardi, Costa Advice Bureau.
This is the type of issue which concerns the expatriate retired and employed community.
The governments, who are in need of topping up their reserves, are increasing costs on anything they can. This includes the recent increase in the cost of our electricity supply. The order allowing the increase is dated the first of April. Purchase taxes on second hand properties have also gone up, thus ensuring that the sale of such properties becomes ever more expensive. Many expatriates are concerned with the possibility of losing some health care facilities.
The tax authorities are looking in-depth at both residents and nonresidents alike, who are not carrying out their obligation and presenting their annual tax declarations. Countless restaurants are increasing the prices on their menus. Petrol prices have been at their highest yet and IVA went up increasing everything we have bought; this includes the price of all our services.
With the removal of subsidies from almost five hundred common prescription medicines, it may be time to look for alternatives. Talk to your doctor about using tee tree oil to alleviate mosquito and insect bites – a fantastic natural remedy for thousands of skin ailments including athlete’s foot and fungal skin complaints.
It is time to watch our pennies. Start searching out the bargains. It can be cheaper to travel long distances by coach instead of driving, at the same time taking the strain off the journey and allowing you to enjoy the vistas. Now may be the time to take a trip up the coast and take advantage of the many bargains available in the larger towns. For those lucky enough to have their ‘sixty five card’ check on the internet, and find the free or specially priced entries into museums, art galleries and theatres.
Call up the government controlled Paradors and see what they are offering. Some of these hotels are located in beautiful castles or listed buildings. Those who receive their pension in sterling have further advantages. An occasional trip to shop in Gibraltar, treating yourself to that British product you swore you had given up when you went native. Use your credit card instead of cash if your earnings are in euros. This way you will get the best exchange rate. Petrol and diesel is also still a little cheaper. The queues appear to be back to normal after the aftermath of the skirmishes brought on by royal visits and fishermen’s rights.
Make sure that you are availing yourself of the reductions offered to residents on their annual rates (IBI) bills. Talk to your town hall and find out about free classes and anything else available as a ‘freebie’. If you are over sixty, you can call into the ‘Gabinete Geriatrico’ and you will discover that there are numerous free health checks available to the over sixties. Still have the old water heaters? Pay to have your gas supply revised. It is surprising how much you can save due to the correction of leaky connectors, not to mention the dangers of these faulty fittings.
How long have you had a contract with the same mobile phone company? Check your points and with these, treat yourself to one of the free latest models now available, with almost everything you need; your emails, camera, internet browsing, and free messaging. Talk to other service providers who offer you not only new phones but cheaper tariffs to get your business. It may be wise to go to a shop to enquire what is on offer. Check that you are being told the truth, no hidden charges etc.
Have a morning going to all your local banks and see if you can get a better deal. For example many banks offer ‘no charge’ accounts if you either pay your self employed contribution via their branch or have your pension transferred to the same. Are there many expatriates living in your community? Ask to have a communal satellite for all English language channels.
Pay a small sum to obtain tax advice. You may be paying more than is due because you are used to having your tax returns mimicking anterior years. Are you told to provide pension certificates and also receipts for all types of expenditure during the previous years?
Pensioners, please remember that you are entitled to cheaper electricity consumption charges and telephone rental costs at literally a few euros. Scour through local newspapers for bargains
Today I had an anxious call from a family of holiday makers who found that their car was not where it was parked. They had parked with two wheels on the kerb. This is illegal. If it had not been a rental car, they may have escaped being towed away. They could not make themselves understood so called me. I located their vehicle. Took them to the location where the vehicle was impounded. Cost to them for the tow truck, sixty eight euro (luckily avoiding a fine)
On a lighter note, summer is here and you may consider showering on the beach. Don’t use your shampoo and soap, as you may find yourself in hot water!
For more information contact the Costa Advice Bureau on 952 797 821 or visit www.costaadvicebureau.com