Moving to France: money-savings tips

France is a popular touristic destination for many expatriates, our country has a lot  to offer: plenty of beautiful landscapes, mild climate, cottage homes in the country sides, and regional gastronomic heritage. For these reasons and many more, you may have already thought about moving to France permanently or buying a holiday home.

In order to save money along the way, there are a few things you need to know before making the final jump. Have a look at our money-saving tips:


Currency exchange

Exchange rates are rising and falling constantly, going through cycles, which make planning ahead more difficult. The best to do is to take out a fixed term-contract on currency with a broker if you make monthly transfers. Thus, if Sterling weakens, you can avoid the effects for the duration of your contract. Here is our partner page for money transfer.


Bank account charges

In France, different banks charge different rates so it is worth shopping around! On average, the annual cost of a French bank account is 65€ or so. If you are paying more than this rate, you should try to find a cheaper solution.

Your current account is called the ‘Compte Courant’ and an instant access savings account is a ‘Compte sur Livret’. Banks can also offer fixed term deposits, for over a month, which offer better interest rates; these are called ‘Comptes à Terme’.

But French overdraft charges are very high. Don’t hesitate in asking your bank for a statement if you don’t know what charges you’re paying. Make sure you’re not short of money on a Friday as the banks close from Saturday to Monday included. Be especially careful around public holidays when they also close. If you are taking a French mortgage with Sextant we can open a French bank account one free of charge for you.


Energy savings

According to EDF (the French electricity company), if you turn down the thermostat of your heating from 20c to 19c, you can reduce your consumption by up to 7%! For any enquiries, you can ask EDF for a free assessment about making the most efficient use of electricity and gas: it is called the ‘Conseil Tarifaire’.


Paying bills

In France, you must be very cautious about paying your bills on time. You will avoid late payment charges which are rather hefty. Most of them can now be paid online; it is easier, well explained and straightforward. In case you can’t pay, contact the appropriate services straightaway. Know that it is always possible to discuss your options first without late payment charges, and for a system to be worked out that suits your budget.


Buying a car for less

Try a car hire company:

Cars are quite expensive in France turn out to be very expensive you could try a car hire company. Buying directly from them could enable you to save up to 10% of a normal purchase.

Try a second hand car:

Internet auctions can be far cheaper than any car dealership. You could buy relatively new cars at very big discounts; with savings estimated at about 17%.


Avoid southern motorways

Perhaps surprising for some, French motorways aren’t all free- there are still toll charges on many roads. If you have bought a house in the South, maybe in PACA or Languedoc-Roussillon, try to avoid some of the motorways, especially during summer holidays when they are very busy anyway. How about taking the train or the TGV (the High Speed Train) if you want to go to the seaside, especially as it is quicker and cheaper if you book your tickets in advance.


Going places

There are so many activities that you can do in France for free including going to festivals, visiting museums, and hiking. It is worth checking with your city’s Office du Tourisme and plenty of websites that offer great deals. In addition, you could try house swaps, an activity that’s becoming more popular in France. Just let someone use your house for a predetermined period (a week-end, a couple of weeks…) and use theirs in another part of the country- a great idea for a cheap holiday!


Find out about the health system

As you may know, one of France’s greatest assets is its state health system. Find out how it works and what you need to do to obtain the right level of care and insurance. Keep updated with the latest health stories as well as first-hand accounts of people who have used the system. Nevertheless, for private travel, health insurance is advised.



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This entry was posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 3:43 pm and is filed under Bank account, Currency exchange, Finance, Living in France, Money transfer . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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