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The 5 Money Nightmares You Can Avoid While Traveling

The 5 Money Nightmares You Can Avoid While Traveling

I’ve been mugged, had my identity stolen and been ripped off overseas more times than I can count. For seasoned travellers these things are part of the job description. If you’re planning to go overseas or have found yourself in one of these situations, here’s how to tackle five money nightmares every traveller risks encountering – because no holiday should be cut short due to money misadventures.

Identity theft

A close friend had his identity stolen at an Australian airport. Had he of known where he threw his trash, it may have been different.

    source:picjumbo.com

    An English friend of mine arrived in Sydney to the news that a personal loan he’d taken out was maxed out. This is devastating news for anyone to hear, but it’s even worse when you never took out a personal loan to begin with. Turns out someone had stolen his identity from a plane ticket stub he had thrown in the airport bin.

    You always think identity theft won’t happen to you until it does – take extra precautions when you’re moving from place to place and dispose carefully of anything with your details on it. As it turns out, you need to know where your personal details are disposed of even in the relative safety of Australia, and though you don’t think about it initially the hardest part of identity theft isn’t regaining your identity but rather repairing it. Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission detail steps on retracing your alter ego.

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    Mugging

    Having cash on you is important when travelling. It’s also pretty important to thieves.

      source:picjumbo.com

      I was mugged in Amsterdam of all places, but luckily the thief only got away with 20 Euros. This is because I listened to the advice of a fellow, seasoned traveler: I split up my money and then sewed a pouch under my chest pocket to keep my passport, ID and credit cards safe. This is why listening to other travelers experiences is so vital – you can ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to you, and that your belongings remain yours.

      Credit card account hijacking

      You’ll be paying for some pretty crazy things while abroad – just make sure all your transactions are actually yours.

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        source:pixabay.com

        I had already been stung by some unexpected overseas fees and ATM withdrawal fees, but it was after a night out with friends abroad that I noticed some unusual transactions on my credit card (It was also then that I remembered the waitstaff staring at my card during payment multiple times that night).

        I didn’t waste any time – I called the bank and they reversed the charges immediately. This ease of reversing charges is one of the godsends of credit cards – If I’d been using a debit card it might not have been as quick a turn-around. In certain situations it always helps to be using credit as banks may be able to retrieve funds more quickly.

        Make sure your card is going to work with you when you travel and be mindful of how you’re spending on your credit card overseas.  In any case, your bank will tell you what you need to do the second something fishy appears on your statements.

        Getting stuck with no cash

        Cash is king, so make sure you always have access to it.

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          source:gratisphotography.com

          Everyone knows South-East Asia is the world capital of bartering prices, so I wanted to make sure I actually had cash to barter with. I went for a travel card with no foreign transaction fees, so I was only paying for money I was actually spending. Many travel money cards also let you lock in exchange rates, so you know how much cash you have to spend before you leave.

          Make sure you’ll be able to withdraw cash from ATMs in the country you’ll be visiting, otherwise your negotiation powers may not be that influential for very long. Oh, and for those of you with little negotiating skills, here’s a quick guide to get you up to speed.

          Getting ripped off when exchanging currencies

          You’re going to have to hand over cash this holiday, so make sure it’s to the best hands possible. 

            source:pixabay.com

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            Arriving in Heathrow airport for the first time and with no local currency, getting to an exchange service was my first priority. Spotting a foreign exchange stand in the airport, I couldn’t believe my luck – I wasn’t even in London yet. Once I was in London, however, I noticed that the exchange rates on offer outside of the cushy airport were much lower, with some being almost half the price. Like domestic travel, don’t just look for the quickest deals on services – get your money’s worth by looking for the best deal possible

            Just because you’re travelling, it doesn’t mean you should care less about prices. Give every financial decision the same weight you would as if you were making it at home.

             

            Traveling offers you no plenty of surprises, but they’re not all going to be free hotel room upgrades. Next time you travel be smart about your finances and savvy with your cash to avoid waking up in a scene from The Hangover.

            Featured photo credit: picjumbo.com via media.lifehack.org

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            Published on September 17, 2018

            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

            Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

            With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

            So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

            1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

            It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

            You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

            So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

            2. When you want something big, wait

            Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

            It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

            We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

            A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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            So, you get the itch.

            You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

            Here’s where you have to take a step back.

            Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

            Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

            It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

            The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

            3. Live smaller than you can afford

            You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

            You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

            That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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            Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

            Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

            The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

            But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

            4. Practice smart grocery shopping

            Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

            But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

            Create a grocery budget

            Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

            Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

            I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

            Make a list… and never deviate

            Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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            You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

            These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

            Eat before going grocery shopping

            It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

            If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

            After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

            Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

            However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

            This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

            5. Cancel your gym membership

            Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

            The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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            Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

            I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

            Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

            Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

            For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

            Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

            There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

            It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

            I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

            Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

            The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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