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The best ways to send money abroad: a quick guide

Need to send money to family or friends overseas? Have funds in foreign accounts you need to access in your new home? Sending money abroad may be cheaper and faster than you might think.

The best ways to send money abroad: a quick guide
Photo: TransferWise

As more people live their lives across borders, the need to send money abroad is greater than ever. There are plenty of reasons expats need to send money overseas, and the number of available options is on the rise as well.

Whether you’re an expat juggling funds across banks in multiple countries, or a small-business owner who needs to pay invoices to an overseas supplier, there are plenty of options for moving money abroad safely and efficiently. And many are cheaper and more-user friendly than an old-fashioned bank transfer.

Below are a few options to consider when you need to make your next international money transfer.

Xoom

Xoom is a PayPal company that allows users to transfer money abroad, reload mobile phone credit balances, and pay bills with an easy-to-use app or online interface. Xoom currently provides service in 53 countries, with manageable fees ($4.99 for using a bank account). The maximum transfer amount is $2,999. And as you can guess by its name, Xoom is fast – delivering funds quickly regardless of which option you choose.

TransferWise

TransferWise is a user-friendly peer-to-peer service that lets users transfer money abroad in 38 different currencies spanning 55 countries. Fees are minimal and always upfront, with transfers under €400 costing only €2 (larger transfers cost just 0.5 percent of the total amount transferred). TransferWise also features the true exchange rate as well as fast delivery times. The app and web interface are also well-designed and easy to use, with a handy comparison tool.

Currencies Direct

This online service is good option for anyone looking to transfer more than £100. Currencies Direct offers international money transfers in 39 currencies and doesn’t charge any fees, and there is no upper limit on how much you can transfer. Exchange rates vary with the size of the transfer – the more you transfer, the better the rate. The website is also translated into 9 languages.

CurrencyFair

Founded in 2010, CurrencyFair is a peer-to-peer currency exchange that allows you to bypass banks altogether. Besides the basic €3 transfer fee, users pay an additional fee (0.38 percent on average) based on the amount exchanged and how easily they match with another user. The service is currently available for 20 currencies.

OFX

OFX (formerly known as UKForex) allows users to make international transfers in 155 currencies. There are no fees, although there is a minimum transfer of £100. Users can make transfers online or over the phone, and with offices across the world, OFX offers 24-hour customer support. Setting up recurring transfers is a snap, and OFX also offers different hedging tools to minimize risk.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by TransferWise

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EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

With inflation hitting double digits, consumers in Austria are really feeling the pinch, particularly in the supermarket. Here are some simple tips on how you can save money on your grocery shopping.

EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

1. Buy seasonal products

Fruit and vegetables are less expensive when they are in season in Austria, as they don’t have to be kept in cold storage which – thanks to high energy prices – incurs high costs which are passed onto the customer. So going for produce that is naturally abundant at the time of year can really pay off. 

At the moment, vegetables such as kale, squashes, leaks and cabbages are currently in season, but you can refer to an online Saisonkalendar (season calendar), such as this German one, to keep an eye on which fruits and veggies are in season at different times of the year.

Lots of vegetables.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

2. Go easy on butter 

The price of butter in Austria has increased by over 40 percent in the last year – in some cases, a 250-gram packet of butter now costs €3. 

READ ALSO: Cost of living: Inflation hits cheapest groceries in Austria’s supermarkets

As a substitute for butter in cooking, go for vegetable oils such as olive oil, linseed or soybean oil or certain types of margarine and, for spreadable treats, consider alternatives such as quark or cheese spreads. 

3. Have a meal plan and a shopping list

One golden rule for saving money in the supermarket – wherever you live – is to plan your meals and write down the ingredients in a list. Having a shopping list often helps avoid expensive spontaneous purchases and helps you to really only buy the things you will definitely use.

4. Buy less meat

The prices of meat products, such as sausages and fish have also risen by 15.6 percent since last October. Possible replacements for some of their meat products with plant-based foods, pulses or legumes instead, such as lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, and soybeans.

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

5. Visit markets

Another advice is to visit local fruit and vegetable markets, as fresh produce can often go for a lot cheaper than in the supermarkets.

6. Compare prices by weight 

Another essential tip for buying groceries on the cheap is to compare prices by weight, not simply by the retail price on display. In addition to the retail price, you will usually see how much 100 grams of each product costs and you should use this number as a basis for comparison.

For example, if you want to buy Parmesan cheese and there are two different varieties marked at €4 and €6, the €4 package may seem cheaper. But if you then look at the price by weight, you may find that the €6 Parmesan comes to €1 per 100 grams, while the €4 package comes to €2 per 100 grams.

(Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

7. Use apps to find deals 

The price for the same product can sometimes vary greatly between supermarkets in Austria, so it can pay to shop around.

But, if you don’t have time to go from store to store hunting down the cheapest products, many supermarket brands have their own apps which you can use to check for price comparisons and any discounts or offers.

Another great app for those looking to make serious savings on their foodstuffs is Too Good to Go – an app which connects people to local restaurants, bakeries and food shops which are looking to get rid of surplus food. 

8. Get an advantage card

With an advantage card such as JÖ or store brands, you can collect points every time you shop in a variety of stores, and then ultimately transform these points into monetary discounts. 

These cards are free to get and just require registration. Using them regularly, along with extra point-collecting coupons, can amount to quite a savings. 

9. Check out the bottom shelf

The bottom shelves in Austrian supermarkets are often where you will find the most economically-priced products, including the supermarkets’ own-brand products. You can often get almost the identical product as the branded variety for half the price. 

10. Shopping just before closing time

If you shop just before closing time, you can often find great deals in Austrian supermarkets – especially at the vegetable, fruit, meat and yoghurt counters. Just don’t take too long: they won’t stay open longer for you.

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