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It’s been quite a weekend for us here in Portugal.
It started on Friday with a visit to our accountant. This is an annual meeting, which reveals the provisional figure for our tax bill.
Suffice to say the news wasn’t good. We have a gargantuan bill to pay in the summer and sadly, due to the fall of sterling, something of a shortfall to make up between times.
If you’d have told me late last year that it would have made better sense to keep our tax savings in the safety and security of a Portuguese bank, I probably would have laughed. We left it in a UK bank. However, a run of bad news out of the UK this year has hammered the pound. On a Portuguese tax return, your UK-based earnings are converted at the exchange rate on the last day of the tax year. For 2012, that was about 1.23. We ended up moving the money at 1.15. Well, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that that’s a pretty crappy turn of events does it?
Now, the events in Cyprus have seen the Euro struggle a bit, so we may make back some of our losses in the coming months. But this does go to prove that living in one country and continuing to earn money from one with a different currency can put you in some precarious situations. You win some, you lose some.
“Still, at least we have the sunshine,” my wife said. This proved rather ironic when at 9am on Sunday morning we were woken up by an apocalyptic hail storm, featuring stones the size of marbles.
This weekend, we’ve also spent a lot of time on the phone with various friends and family members planning their holidays in Portugal. Strangely, we don’t get an awful lot of visitors in the winter(!) but we have a flurry due in the next month or two. Hopefully, summer will make an appearance soon for us as well as them, as right now you can’t predict what’s going to happen from one day to the next.
So, for now, it’s time to get our heads down and make up the tax bill money as quickly as possible, which means switching to frugal mode. The irony here is that we actually rather enjoy the lean times – being economical yet inventive in the kitchen, and being forced to enjoy free (and healthy) outdoor activities. We just need it to warm up a bit. The beach costs nothing – but it’s not much fun in a hailstorm.
PS. We’ve had some great (and enlightening) responses to our Portugal Blog Survey, posted last week. Soon we will publish some details of the responses, and start to tailor some posts based on requests readers have made.
Euros image credit: Wikimedia Commons