Other Currencies

I travel some, and when I do, I find it's much harder to keep track of my spending on YNAB. Travel upends my usual habits, and dealing with less familiar currencies makes it much harder to keep track of what I'm spending. I have in the past tried to stick to all cash but that can be very inconvenient if not impossible for things like hotels and transportation. Not to mention, it's not very safe to wander around with lots of cash.

All that comes down to: does anyone know of a way to incorporate foreign currencies into YNAB? So far, all I've come up with is to start a separate budget for every new currency, but that gets very complicated if I go to multiple countries in a single trip, which I have done in the past. I usually end up giving up part way through, and then, when I get home, I figure out what my total outlay was by comparing my before and after account balances and labeling the difference "Trip A" or something even if some of my purchases would normally fit into other categories (gifts, dining out, etc.).

Is there a better solution?

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  • I travel for work on a relatively regular basis so I deal with multiple currencies all the time. For expenses on your credit card, it isn't a big deal. Initially put in what the pending amount on your credit card site says, but then adjust again when it is clear. For cash spending, I use the conversion rate at the time of exchange plus a foreign currency cash account (I generically use the term foreign currency so I don't always have to change it as I move from country to country). So if I take out 300 local currency units from an ATM and my bank website says that I withdrew $250, I treat it as a transfer of $250 from my checking account to my foreign currency account. I then figure out what that exchange rate is and use it for all cash expenditures until those 300 local units are gone. It takes like 5 minutes a day max to deal with.

  • I live abroad and also travel a lot. I always keep a note (usually on my hand!) of an easy conversion number . This would be what 10, say, of that currency equals. So I know within a pound what I am spending at any moment. I also use the xe.com app on my phone. And of course when transactions appear on my banking app I have the exact amount I actually paid on card transactions.

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