Mallorca Money Saving Tips
Majorca | Spain
Whether you are travelling to Mallorca, Majorca, living here or just on holiday there always lots of ways to save money. You just need to know how. I've lived here now for 10 years and I've discovered many ways of doing things more cheaply without having to necessarily compromise on lifestyle. In fact, in most cases it has improved it! I've tried to list them all below but this will be a work in progress. However, if you know of any, however bizarre, please share them in the comments section below.
If you phone abroad from home or use your phone whilst abroad, there are several ways of doing this cheaper. The most well known is of course Skype. Phoning anyone else with skype is free and calling regular landlines and mobiles can be significantly lower. The service is great but to use it you either have to be using an app on a smart phone, through a Wifi network, or at your computer. It also requires you to set up an account with a password.
An excellent service if you have a smart phone is 'viber'. The app is free to download, doesn't require you to set up an account and you can talk for free to anyone else who has viber. It even works over 3G so you're not restricted to using wifi and the call quality is absolutely fantastic. Of course, with a foreign sim you might be liable to roaming charges when using 3G abroad so be aware! (Text messages are also free between viber users).
Both of these are great if your visiting Mallorca and only have a foreign sim card. All you need to do is find a wifi network which almost all decent cafes and hotels have these days for free.
If you have a local sim card however, and this applies to any country, there is a much more flexible way of calling anybody, no matter what apps they have installed!
Rebtel gives you the freedom to call from your mobile to anyone at any time. It is only really viable however if you have free (or cheap) national calls. This is most likely if you have a mobile phone contract. Rebtel is like Skype but on your mobile (any mobile)! You tell them the international number you want to call and they provide you with a local number. This local number is unique to your Rebtel account and refers specifically the international number you associated with it. When you dial this local number it goes through to Rebtel who then connect you internationally via the internet, for a minimal fee. So you pay your operator the local call (which might be free in your contract) and pay Rebtel the international bit, which is almost nothing to landlines and a bit more to mobiles. You can also set up the same account to work with your house phone, from which you will almost definitely have free national calls.
Rebtel - Make international calls, from your mobile, for the cost of a local call!
Update: There are now many VOIP providers available (cf Skype) to choose from and they all offer slightly different rates for calling landlines and mobiles all over the world. They also provide an sms service. Easyvoip.com and justvoip.com seem to be amongst the best. They can all significantly reduce your phone bill if you have internet access. Lowcaller.com is also worth a look if you don't have internet as it works with the above mentioned VOIP providers but instead of calling over the internet you are provided with a local number (which you may or may not have to pay for depending on your plan) which will then be connected you to your destination over the internet via your VOIP (much like Rebtel).
SMS | Texting
Local operators charge extortionate amounts for sending simple sms messages but fortunately there are now much cheaper options. For these however a wifi or 3G network is required.
If you both have smart phones, an app like 'Whatsapp' or 'viber' is probably the best solution. Whatsapp is minimal to download and Viber is free. Sending messages to anyone else who has the app is absolutely free.
If you have a smart phone but your friend doesn't have Whatsapp, you can use Fishtext. The app is free to download and texts cost as little as 2p to the UK or are free between fishtext users! You can also use their service via your computer if you don't have a phone.
Fishtext - Free or very cheap texts to anyone
Update: Fishtext is still the cheapest option for maximum flexibility but all the VOIP providers offer an sms service too.
If you're thinking of buying a new Sim card while you are in Spain there is a huge choice. Every year there seems to be a new player and it's hard to keep up. The first question to answer is whether you are looking for a contract phone (usually 18 months) or a prepaid Sim card. Both can be supplied with a phone so this might be worth considering too.
Below are some useful websites which keep up to date with the Spanish mobile phone operators. They will help you compare what's on offer.
Doctor Sim - This site has a nifty calculator to advise you on which operator would work best for you (In Spanish of course)
Pepephone is very popular not only because it's one of the cheapest but also, as a result of its ties with Air Europa, offers something quite unique: for every Euro you spend on calls you receive a Euro off an Air Europa flight! That's actually a pretty good deal. (conditions apply)
You will find most cafes in Mallorca provide a free Wifi connection but if you want a 'dongle' for your laptop or to connect it up permanently in your house, The Phone House are intermediaries for all the major providers. Their service is of course in Spanish.
The Phone House - Compare internet providers.
Groupon & LetsBonus - City Deals
Every day LetsBonus reveal a new deal in Palma de Mallorca (in fact in almost every city in the world). Some won't interest you, others you just can't pass up. LetsBonus is only in Spanish but you can take advantage of the offers no matter where you are from.
LetsBonus City Deals - Find massive discounts on a daily basis.
Hotel or Rental?
If you are visiting Mallorca for a week or more, would it be cheaper to stay in a hotel or rent a holiday villas? Click here to read reviews and find out.
Everyone has to eat and when on holiday this can be a huge part of the holiday cost. Mallorca has a great tradition at lunch time of offering a 'menu del dia' - 'Menu of the Day'. This is generally a 3 course meal with a drink included. Depending on the place, the price can be from 8 to 20 Euros. If you seek out the best places the value can be outstanding. In Palma, I recommend SimplyFosh and Fabrica 23.
Another excellent choice in Palma is amadipesment. They offer very fresh and original Spanish cuisine at a great price, whilst helping the community at the same time.
If you like meat one of my favourites, right in the centre of town, is Bruselas - an Argentinian meat restaurant!
Do you know of any others?
In Spain you can easily receive UK TV via satellite. You need a minimum size dish of 1.6m to ensure good reception at all times. If you hook it up to a 'Freesat box' (from UK) you will then have all the usual channels available for free. You can use the same dish, pointed at the same satellite, with a 'Sky' box but that will involve a monthly subscription to UK address. You will however get access to a broader range of channels.
The cheapest way to get hold of a satellite dish is to search the classifieds for a second hand one. I find AngloInfo to have the most users. If you want to buy a new one try Redi in Palma. They have everything to do with satellite television.
Financial and tax guide to living Spain and Mallorca
If you are moving to Spain or already live there and are in need of some clarification about the Spanish financial system and your place within it, there are several books I can recommend:
The Blevins Franks Financial Guide to Living in Spain - It provides information on: how to limit tax laibilities on departure from the UK; how to minimise future tax liabilities in Spain and the UK; the legal pitfalls of buying property in Spain; the benefits of using trusts in tax and investment planning; how to avoid inheritance tax in both the UK and Spain; Spanish wealth tax mitigation; tax efficient investments for residents of Spain; banking wills and insurance in Spain; pensions planning as well as numerous hints on what must be done, and why and how to do it.
You and the Law Spain 2011 - The chapters comprise: Moving to Spain; Resident or tourist?; Buying and selling property; Building a home; Letting and renting; Taxes on property; You and your car; You and your money; Spanish income tax and other taxes; Working & starting a business; Employing others; Birth, death, marriage and nationality; Spanish wills and inheritance tax; Your legal advisers; You and the Spanish authorities; How to complain; You and your community; The law of horizontal property - in plain English!; and much more!