Couple ‘save £1,000 a month’ living in Spain after moving from ‘unsafe’ UK

A couple has said that they're "living the dream" and saving a whopping £1,000 a month after ditching the UK for sunny Spain.

Tim Sunderland, 35, and his fiancé, Sally Biddall, 33, decided to leave Britain and start a new life abroad.

After there was a stabbing on their street the pair their new build studio flat in Fulham, London, for Nerja, in Andalusia, southern Spain. They say the cheaper cost of living and affordable meals out make it a dream come true.

READ MORE: Brit ditches UK for sunny country with higher salaries and 'much cheaper property'

The couple claim the rising cost-of-living within the UK combined with a spate of local crimes in their area made their life in London "a chore" that they wanted to escape from.

Having grown up in Hammersmith and Fulham, Londoner Tim felt "there was a lot of tension" in the capital. His pal was mugged twice and lots of watches and phones in their area were stolen.

Tim – who runs a multi-asset brokerage Mitto Markets – decided to shut up shop in the UK in March. He now works as a digital nomad – a form of working from anywhere that Spain has a specific visa for.

The new job means he can roam around different countries with access to the internet his only office need. Plus, Tim is now able to run his company from a laptop while sitting on a sunny terrace with a sea view, on the beach or at the pool.

Tim sometimes works from 8am until 9pm, an intense schedule which made him want to make the most of "precious resources – time and happiness". Now, in Spain he is able to do this.

The couple claim living in Spain saves them £1,000 every month compared to their expensive London life. So far, they've saved themselves £3,000 by moving – and Tim notes that they have "absolutely no regrets".

"It doesn’t feel like a holiday from Monday to Friday. Me and my fiancée both run very full-on businesses and we're entirely focussed on that," Tim said.

"Taking on such a heavy work commitment like we have, it’s become completely necessary to take more care of our mental health – and living near the sea in a sunny country and away from a major city, it helps us keep perspective on life.

“You rarely ever hear sirens. I have maybe heard two in the three months we’ve been here versus three every two hours in London. The week we were packing up to leave, a kid was stabbed on my road. I could see some of the blood stains on the pavement and thought: 'Thank God we’re off.'

"The cost of living is way cheaper here. Eating and drinking out is noticeably more affordable. Just the other night, I had a pint of local beer, large bottle of water and two tapas dishes which only came to €4.65”

Tim owns his flat in Fulham – but if he was renting his house it would cost at least £2,300-a-month . A similar apartment in his new home, Nerja, costs just £1,700-a-month. Meaning that's an initial saving of £600 just on rent!

Due to Brexit and new regulations, Tim can only remain in the EU's Schengen zone for 90 out of 180 days at a time, which means the couple can only stay in Spain for three months before they have to leave and cannot return to a Schengen country for another 90 days. Digital nomads tend to find a way around this by spending the 90 days in a nearby non-Schengen country like Cyprus, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria.

“We’re doing 90 days in Spain then 90 in Montenegro, then we will head back to Spain," Tim said. "It's not as easy as it was to live in Spain as it was pre-Brexit. But there you can still get a visa if you can prove you are generating income in Spain and employing other people – so we are hopeful we will be able to get this."

Tim and his partner, Sally – who runs a remote digital agency called Dandelion social – are currently renting a long-term Airbnb for 90 days in Nerja, costing around 60 euros per night. That's just £1,546 a month.

"The work culture is different here. Here everyone works to live, rather than the other way round," Tim added. "In some ways it’s like the lifestyle has gone back 20 years, it’s very old school, but we love it."

He claims there are very few negatives to the Spanish lifestyle with only the lack of Lime e-biked and takeaway services like Deliveroo coming to mind. Both Tim and Sally have other remote workers on their teams and Tim is planning to expand the business to employ more people.

“They will be allowed to work abroad too if they want, it’s only fair. The pay for a grad salary for someone living in London now is just unrealistic," Tim said.

Compare the cost of living:

  • Price of a meal out – Andalusia: £8.64, London: £18.50
  • Price of a pint – Andalusia: £2.40, London: £6.00
  • Cost of renting a one bed apartment/house – Andalusia: £700, London: £2,070
  • Monthly travel pass _ Andalusia: £30, London: £160
  • Cost of childcare – Andalusia: £290, London: £1,600

Sally and Tim aren't the only Brits to leave the UK for a different life.

Ben, 30, from Epping in Essex, first travelled to Australia in 2015 to play cricket. He quickly fell in love with not only the lifestyle, but a woman he met in Victoria.

He decided to make the move full time and now claims that the "cheaper" property market is a massive bonus. He noted: "Comparing where I live now to what I could get where I was from in the UK is miles apart. We actually built our house which tells you how much space there is in Australia, especially in Country Victoria where we currently live."

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