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Foreign Living: Money Mishaps

Juana Money Conversion Problem

Moving to a new country is exhilarating. Everything is seen with new eyes. It is exciting but it also comes with a steep learning curve and often a heavy price tag, quite literally.


If you go unscathed from a foreign currency mishap, I salute you. If you are in the boat with the rest of us common folk, take comfort from these hilarious money mishaps.


After all, laughing is the best way to get through these transitions.



1. It is important to know bill denomination and color. In the hustle of leaving a taxi and grabbing your belongings, nothing burns more than realizing after the fact that you tipped the taxi driver P1,000.00 on a P120.00 ride.

Know your bills, know your denominations.



2. It is important to know the difference between coins (centavos) and bills (pesos). Apart from trying to survive in a completely new environment, you need to actually function if you want your needs met.



3. As a tired mom, ordering pizza is an excellent solution to help ease some chaos. The pizza arrived and you accomplished your goal. Good on ya! As you bravely and boldly extend what you believe to be a P50.00 tip, my dear, please make sure that it is indeed a P50.00 bill and NOT a 50 centavo coin.


This may be the reason why the delivery man looked so confused. From now on, the lesson is ingrained: Know your coins, know your bills, know your crazy looks.



4. It is important to convert foreign currency to your known currency. Shopping with kids for some mothers is a one-way ticket to a crazy house. Take that shopping trip and put a taxi ride in the equation, then a foreign grocer, oh and also, foreign currency. Your brain is performing a circus act trying to care for toddlers, convert currency, plus check off a grocery list.


Donโ€™t be too hard on yourself when you get home and realize that you spent $50.00, (yes $50.00!), on a block of cheese. You do what any good mother would do and you hide that cheese and eat it yourself.


*Disclaimer: these stories are not mine but from a pool of other expats in various countries.


Amber Folkman is a transplant from Seattle and calls Manila home. Being here long term, Amber has settled with her husband and have grown their family with three boys. Amber has made it a personal mission to get everyone to thrive in Manila by sharing her positive perspective through Instagram and her blog, amommabroad.com.

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