Posts Tagged With: money

Currency Conundrum

On the Discover South East Asia tour we will visit 4 different countries in the space of 18 days, which is really exciting.  But one thing I hadn’t factored in yet was currency – each country has it’s own distinct currency and as such, money is going to be quite a complication.

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Hopefully I won’t be hung out to dry at the foreign exchange!

The currencies i’m dealing with are:

When dealing with so many currencies on a single trip, the question arises as to how to best handle the exchange. As I see it, i’ve got two options:

  1. Exchange money from GBP into all 4 currencies and carry them all through the journey.  This runs the risk of having an imbalance of the wrong currency, and being left with quite a bit of extra at the end in a mixture of currencies which I won’t be able to use.
  2. Exchange money from GBP to Baht, then after we finish in Thailand, exchange the remainder into Kip, before entering Laos.  This involves a lot of on-the-ground foreign exchange which can be a rip off and involves paying compounded transaction fees.

I’m actually not sure which would be the better solution yet – perhaps a mix of the two.  The gAdventures advice on this is to bring all cash in USD, but i’m not sure that applies to those of us where USD isn’t our native currency.

Any advice?

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Ca$hback!!

Note: This article contains affiliate links.

Quidco-1A while ago a friend of mine introduced me to Quidco – an online cashback system which works by offering you cashback on online purchases.  You navigate to the online stores through the Quidco portal and as a result, they give you a % in cash-back for your transaction.  That’s it, there’s no strings – Quidco is essentially paying you back the referral fee that most websites offer to search engines, advertising portals and so on.  The cashback varies from 1% through to 10% or even 15% on certain special offer deals, so the value of the transactions can quickly.

I was very sceptical at first – who wants to always click through one website to get to another – but the draw of the cashback had me intrigued.  My friend showed me her account, and she had already earned over £1000 in cashback… that sold it to me!

I signed up to Quidco in August and made a few purchases (of things I was already planning to buy) and guess what… money started mounting up in the cashback portal.  My first transaction was a pair of train tickets for £47, and on that I earned 94p in cash back.  Not a lot, but a quid for clicking one extra link – i’ll take that.  Each transaction has a cooling off period (to allow for refunds, and things like that), but within a couple of weeks, that money was available for me to withdraw.

Anyway, long story short – my Quidco account is currently sitting at £31.88, plus I have another £16.07 waiting to be approved.  That’s nearly £50 in 4 months – not to be sniffed at!

56512 BOC AMEX Debit Card PURPLE NEWAfter seeing my success mounting up on the Quidco side, I simultaneously realised I really should sign up for a credit card in the UK (I closed my old one down after moving to Sweden for 3 years).  Polling my friends, one name kept coming up again and again – American Express – and guess what, they offer a cashback card too!  I explored a lot of different options before settling on the Platinum Cashback Card, which offers 1.25% in cashback on all transactions (plus 5% in the 3 months).

I needed a credit card in order to start rebuilding a UK credit history, so my plan is to use the credit card for everyday transactions, then pay them off each month.  That means that my £7.60 in Oyster transactions each day is earns me 9p back… every day.  Add that up over a working year, and that alone is £20+ of cashback each year, for nothing.  And it’s not just Oyster – everything I spend, i’m earning money back on.  Or at least almost everything – there are a few places where American Express isn’t accepted, so I do still have to carry my Visa debit card as well, to get me out of those holes.

So how’s the American Express thing going?  Well… I booked my holiday on it, so, pretty well!  So far i’ve earned £116 in cashback!  Yes, you read that right… between Quidco and American Express, i’m approaching £175 of money back for things I would already have purchased.  I won’t say i’m hooked, but i’m definitely glad I signed up.

Fancy giving it a go?  The link below will get you started – and i’ll earn cashback if you sign up too!

Quidco: http://www.quidco.com/user/5739319/2144598/

American Express: https://www316.americanexpress.com/iFormsSecure/un/iforms.do?cuid=emgmMgmee_en_GB&evtsrc=link&evttype=0&tkn=52692C53D179B514B71ED28D51B26EE9F50257F751D176C8&mgmerSource=mgmerHub&MGMURN=AAAAAgwTDRoWFQ%3D%3D&CPID=999999451

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TransferWise – smart money?

The other day I needed to transfer some money from England to Sweden. I decided to try out the new service i’ve been hearing about – TransferWise. It’s a payment method which skips out the banks international transfer fees – instead matching payments between local currencies to transfer the money at mid-market rates.

It works like this:
-You setup the transaction via their website (or app)
-You make a payment in your local currency, to a local bank account (or via bank card)
-Transferwise match your payment with one in your destination currency
-Transferwise pays out from a bank in your destination currency to your destination bank

Basically – you pay them in your currency, they pay your person in their local currency, and you pay a really small fee.

It really is as simple as that… and it works! 3 days after the initial transaction my money was in my bank in Sweden. That, and the first transaction is free!

Definitely going to be using this service again.

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