Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The thing about money

No matter where you are in the world at some point or another money becomes an issue. Not that I'm having financial problems at this point. Thanks to everyone's donations and the scholarships I am receiving things are great in that department! The problem when it comes to money is currently the exchange rate. When I changed my money a month and half ago the going rate was about 88円 to $1. However, most of the time when I go out and about my brain translates 100円 to $1. This isn't so bad right, only about $0.14 more than a dollar. No biggy. However, it turns out that this adds up very quickly and by the time you think you've only spent a hundred dollars you've actually spent about $113.64 at this exchange rate. If you're touring and spending money quickly by the time you think you've spent  five hundred dollars it has added up to approximately $568.19.

The other problem with looking at price tags with more zeros than you are used to is that a) not only does your brain break it down into more understandable numbers (i.e. a hundred yen quickly translates to a dollar) but also that b) is even if it isn't actually cheap you sometimes don't actually understand that fact.

Take it from me, I'm just starting to realize this just over a month in. that $0.14 adds up faster than you realize. So, my suggestion. Keep a calculator on hand. Now don't shun me yet and open up that cell phone of yours. I'm almost willing to bet money that there is a calculator in there. Is your phone (unlikely) in kanji (like mine)? Look for this kanji under tools or ツール; 電卓 read den-ta-ku. Make sure you remember the exchange rate when you changed your money to get the most accurate estimate of how much you have spent since arriving and before you buy calculate how much you are actually paying.

I'm going to go through the next section of this slowly. As of today (February 12th, 2013) the exchange rate is 94円 to $1. So I'm going to show you how much this equates to if you changed your money at the same time as me and how much it equates to at today's going rate. That way you can see how much it would be as of today and how much I am paying thanks to the exchange rate I had.

To calculate this at your current exchange rate take the total amount (let's assume 100円 because it's easy) and divide it by the 円/$1 exchange rate. Example, if the rate was 98円/$1 you would divide 100 by 98 to find your equivalent of $1.02.

 So let's proceed. First up, 1 円

While I'm fairly certain it's really worth less than this, and I've heard it can float on water it's so cheaply made, the 1 yen coin is valued at $0.01 at both of the above listed rates.

Next up is the 5 yen coin. Valued at $0.05 at either rate.

The 10 yen coin is valued at $0.11 at the 94円/$1 and 88円・$1 exchange rates. These are the coins I am least fond of, as my wallet seems to be endlessly filled with them, but they are quite convenient and can be used a vending machines. You can't say that for 1 and 5 yen coins.

Next up is my favorite, the 100円 coin. It's so pretty! What can I say! 94円/$1 rate is $1.06 and at the 88円/$1 rate it is $1.14. Caught you off guard there, didn't I?

The 500円 coin is another one which I see far too few of. I hear tale of people who collect these coins as a saving method. Whatever works for you I suppose. 94円/$1 is $5.32 and 88円/$1 is $5.68.


On to the bills.  The 1000 yen bill weighs in at $10.64 (94円/$1) and $11.36 (88円/$1).

The 5,000円 bill weighs in at $53.19 $10.64 (94円/$1) and $56.81 (88円/$1).

Last, but most certainly not least is the 10,000円 bill at $106.38 (94円/$1) and $113.64 (88円/$1).

Does the difference still seem small? Try it at a larger number. I paid for my host family fee today which comes to a grand total of 100,000円 which comes out to $1,063 (94円・$1) and $1,136 (94円・$1). That's a $73 difference.

So, my point in all of this. Be careful with you money. It isn't always as cheap as it seems!! Don't let your brain fool you! So I hope you find this helpful if you're traveling to Japan! Don't forget to count those pennies! They add up!! 


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