Expat living on a budget in Cyprus
Become a savvy expert with these 9 money-saving hacks.
The great news about moving to Cyprus is that the cost of living is 23% lower than in the UK – that’s excluding rent, which is reportedly 59% cheaper in Cyprus.
1 Brush up on your German: If you are a regular amazon.co.uk user try switching to amazon.de – that way you can pay in euros without worrying about the Amazon currency calculator ripping you off. (Don’t panic, there is an English translation!)
2 Get fruity: Oranges, lemons, limes, pomelo – fruit grows in abundance in Cypriot climes, often in your own garden or street, which makes them FREE!
Make jams, juices, marinades, smoothies, chutneys and salad dressings to your heart’s content, saving a fortune on pre-prepared versions. Get it right and you might even be able to sell some to your neighbours or at a local market.
OK, maybe that’s not rocket science but what about this? When you’ve finished juicing your citrus, put the peel in a jar with vinegar, leave to infuse for a few weeks and voilà, you have yourself a cheap and extremely efficient household cleaner.
3 Put the sun to work: You’re in Cyprus to enjoy some sunshine but why not save money from it too?
Use solar wherever possible. If you are torn between two places to live which tick all your boxes in every other way, pick the one that’s got solar.
Visit https://www.angloinfo.com/cyprus/how-to/page/cyprus-housing-setting-up-home-renewable-energy for information about the government solar energy incentive scheme. Whilst investing in a solar system does require an initial outlay, you will reap the rewards over years to come, while contributing to the island’s green credentials.
Adjust your sleeping pattern – get up with the cockerel when the sun naturally awakens you then sleep after sunset, saving electricity and giving yourself plenty of rest. You could even sleep outside under a mosquito net and save on air con and an alarm clock too!
4 Embrace your utility bill: Yes, your dreaded utility bill can also be your friend. Show it at the ticket booth of many local attractions for discounts on admission. As a recent example, entry to Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark was reduced from €30 to €22.
In the same vein don’t be shy if you’re a pensioner – many sightseeing spots such as archaeological sites give a 50% reduction on entry, so ask.
Get hold of a Finding Cyprus card which is free, giving discounts at various shops, restaurants and attractions – currently operational in Paphos but looking to expand to other districts. http://www.cyprusvipcard.com/outlets/services/findingcyprus-com
The Entertainer costs €30, which is quickly recouped in just a couple of uses, and promises total potential savings across the island of €17,000.
And finally, if you are a Facebook user, “like” DailyDealsCy. An example of today’s offers are half-price meals at a selection of venues, €10 off at Cartridge World, 40% off a spa day, 46% off a scuba course… the list goes on and there’s something for everyone.
5 Rent out your home during the holidays: Summer and Christmas are prime times to boost your bank account.
Marketed right, your home could earn you a very nice income. A 2-bed apartment with shared pool could fetch €260-€350 per week, while a 3-bed villa with private pool can make over €1,000.
But where will you go? Well you could just rent yourself a smaller, cheaper place so that you still make a profit.
Alternatively, you could earn even more by getting work as a live-in house or pet sitter - plan it right and you could be earning €100 or more a week living in someone else’s pad with no bills to pay so long as you keep the dog or cat healthy and the house safe.
Or pack your car up and go camping, exploring the island’s natural wonders as you go.
6 Use what’s freely available:
Shower at the gym to save your water bill, or use communal residence facilities if you pay for them.
Join free Wi Fi networks in bars to avoid paying for it at home, and those same bars often give out free nuts or popcorn which will save money on lunch. A meal and unlimited internet for a €1 bottle of water, nice!
You live locally so when you’re out for drinks make yourself known to the manager, some are generously prepared to give a 10% discount on your bill – if you don’t ask you don’t get.
And feel free to request a doggy bag if you don’t clear your plate in a restaurant, you’ve paid for it after all, and it’s the done thing in Cyprus so that’s another meal taken care of.
7 Eat pork chops: Honestly, the village pork chops are bigger than your plate and less than €2 at the shop.
I don’t need to tell you that local goods are cheaper than imported UK brands, so feel free to get your favourite tea bags but do try cooking with local produce.
If you are fan of freezing, buy yesterday’s bread at a fraction of the price – it is clearly marked in your local bakery.
Have a cook-up on the barbeque and eat it over the next couple of days, or freeze for later. This way you save on your oven’s electric or gas bill and only use one portion of charcoal.
Try the local wines - they are much cheaper and actually very nice. With no fewer than 51 recognised wineries in Cyprus you are sure to find some you like, and there’s no nasty retsina to worry about! http://wineriescyprus.com/
8 Find a good currency solution: If you are going to transfer pounds to euros or vice versa, say to pay a mortgage, move your pension across or send money back to your children at university, whatever you do don’t use your bank. They have expensive overheads and use fixed daily rates to cover their currency exposure, so typically offer 2-5% worse exchange rates. A currency specialist will knock socks off them.
9 Dress for less: Clothes are really expensive in Cyprus compared to the UK, and there is no eBay. Sought-after Primark do not deliver to Cyprus and Tesco F&F recently ceased that service, but here are a few other websites that could save you a pretty penny over the Cypriot stores.
Failing that, just leave room in your suitcase to stock up in your favourite shops as and when you pop back to Blighty. Your friends might even want some items brought back, so you could charge them a small mark-up for your efforts.
http://www.newlook.com/eu/ – free delivery >€65 or €5.99, 5-7 days-
http://www.boohoo.com/ – delivery €5, up to 7 days
http://eu.riverisland.com/ – free delivery >€60 or €10, up to 10 days
http://www.asos.com/ – free delivery >€30 or €3, up to 10 days
Let frugality begin, and please share any other ways for expats to save in Cyprus.