Savings with different currencies

I’ve been using YNAB for over two years now, and it has helped me a lot with my finances, but there’s an issue I don’t know how to fix. I am an immigrant in the country where I live and have most of my accounts, which are in Euro currency. However, I also have some savings accounts on my hometown, which uses a completely different currency. Right now, I use two different budgets, one to manage the accounts on Euros and the second one for my hometown accounts. Does anyone of you have any useful tips for this, any other way that does not requiere me to change budgets every time? Maybe YNAB could add some multi-currency capabilities to one single budget...

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  • Hi,  Cadet Blue Wildebeest (6be9b5f5c7d0) ! We do suggest managing different currencies in separate budgets. I can let our team know you'd like to see multi-currency capabilities, though. :-)

    Reply Like 2
    • WordTenor
    • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
    • WordTenor
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    April - YNAB Team Is there something I'm missing in thinking that multi-currency is barred by the nature of having a zero-based budget? I suppose there could be some sort of way to essentially make two budgets function on one screen, but you can't have the account-independence, category-reliance aspect of YNAB and successfully do multi-currency because the account values aren't directly interchangeable. 

    As I said in the other thread about this, I'm surprised to see people from YNAB saying they'll pass this on without even mentioning that problem. I could ask for YNAB to be enhanced so that it also cleaned my house, and you could promise you'd ask the dev team about adding that feature, but it doesn't address the fundamental problem that YNAB is software. It can't clean my house no matter how much the developers think about adding that feature. So telling me, "we'll consider it" is disingenuous in that instance, and to the best of my knowledge, it is here, too. 

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    • Tan Major (faac422e1003) But you *can*, as long as you can only spend from an account in the same currency as your category.  For example, I have CDN chequing, savings, and CC and I have NIS chequing and CC.  Today if I spend in NIS on the CDN card I have to go enter that dollar spending in the CDN budget (and note the exchange rate in the comments/notes).  In a multi-currency budget I still couldn't enter an NIS transaction on a CDN card but it could still take it out of my NIS category balance.  You'd just have to select a currency for the transaction.  Literally thinking of a scenario where you have a 2nd column in the budget for a 2nd currency and you can budget to either column.  But then you have to spend in whichever currency you budgeted in.

      Reply Like
    • Tan Major I appreciate your concern! I don't believe it's disingenuous to let our users know that we'll consider a suggestion such as this. Our developers create amazing solutions for many challenging scenarios. Is it difficult to integrate multiple currencies? Absolutely! Impossible? I don't know the answer to that but have put the question into the hands of those who can decide. 

      Now if you had requested that YNAB also clean your house, I would provide a much different response. Probably something along the lines of "Me too!" :-)

      Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) exactly. That would work, except that at that point, you've lost the category/account independence that is the hallmark of YNAB. It's basically a slightly different product that doesn't work quite the same way.  It still might be a good product, and even the best product, but it's not the same product. 

      April - YNAB Team  when a question like this gets answered by the team without any mention of the issues which make that functionality complicated (and probably impossible) to implement, it makes it look like the support staff either don't know YNAB very well or aren't interested in real engagement with the customers' questions. I don't mean to be mean about it, but some of us have literally spent years discussing this exact issue, with the devs involved. The person who outlined this problem the first time I was part of a discussion about it was Taylor (the YNAB CTO). If anyone is going to make multi-currency work, it's him--he operates in multi-currency and he basically designed this software. So it winds up reading (entirely unintentionally I think! Again,  not trying to be mean to you) as a brush off when someone says, "Oh we'll pass that on thank you!" without at all addressing the complexity of this feature. 

      Reply Like
    • Hey Tan Major - I'm hopping in here while April is away!

      Thanks so much for your honest feedback. We absolutely want to engage our users - it's why we're here in the forums each day! :) 

      You're right - operating in multiple currencies has been a request we've received for years and it's a problem we haven't solved yet. But, we haven't ruled it out as a possibility in the future -- could it happen in some clever way down the road? Perhaps.

      Knowing that this feature is something that users keep asking for is important -- which is why it's important to our team and our design process that we collect feedback like this -- so we're going to keep on doing that. And when appropriate, we'll try to give a bit more context.

      Thanks again!

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Janelle - YNAB Team Context is all I'm looking for. And yes, this is a feature people keep asking for, and there's a good reason it doesn't exist that cuts to the very core of how YNAB works. I'm just asking that someone please point that out, while still also being the friendly folks who say, "Hey we at HQ have taken note that you want this, and it is on our radar, in case we ever find a solution to this difficulty." We already know the answer to this one. It's not a feature that has somehow been overlooked, it's really hard to implement and that's why it's not part of the app at this time. To leave that part out is really weird. 

      On the old forum, the support team was almost never there, but when they did cut in to a features discussion, it was to give a solid explanation about why things were the way they were. Windows 10 Phones? It didn't happen because the market share was too small to warrant investment for a company that already only afforded 1 dev each for iOS and Android. That didn't mean that Windows Phone was off the table if it  ever became worthwhile to do, but it did take seriously the question-asker's concern by showing that it had already been thought about in-depth. 

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

       And I'll add part of the reason it'd be nice if that happened is that when it doesn't, it puts knowledgeable users who aren't YNAB staff but just want to be helpful in the awkward position of basically having to correct a YNAB support person. That doesn't feel very good, and I'd rather not do it, but I ultimately want people to understand this software as fully as possible. Not to be cantankerous but because each of us learned from the wisdom of the users who came before us and so we're passing that wisdom on. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Tan Major (faac422e1003)   Not really.  I can have 3 or 4 (or however many) CDN accounts as I want and as many NIS accounts as I want and I can spend from all my categories in either currency.  It's basically adding an extra column for the extra currency and making sure to select the right account.  YNAB still won't care which account in each currency I spend from.

      Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) 

      That's still two budgets though. If the money is in the CAD account, you don't know how much you have total to spend if you're spending in NIS until you execute the transaction. Say you have $100 CAD and 300 NIS budgeted to a single category. You have about $200 CAD or 600 NIS you *could* spend from that category if you wanted. But whether it's 602 NIS, 604 NIS, 605.5 NIS--you budget can't give you that info. It can only give you a close-ish guess, at best because of currency rates and ForEx.  

      You'd effectively be running two budgets side-by-side.

      That could be a just fine solution, and like I said, it might even be the best possible multi-currency budget there is, but it's a different system than YNAB as it is now. I have $155.38 available for dining out right now. And it's $155.38 no matter which account I use to buy dinner. Once a second currency is introduced, either the account independence or the precision is lost. 

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    • Tan Major (faac422e1003) If I can see it on the same screen I'm happy.  I can't do that in YNAB4 and I can't do it in YNAB (web or app).  A different window/tab is not the same as side-by-side.  Call it a separate budget, call it two integrated budgets - I don't care.  I want to not have to flip back and forth all the time.

      Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) I totally get that, and I think it's a great idea to somehow show them both. I'm just pointing out that putting them side-by-side doesn't change the fact that one must functionally run two different budgets to use two currencies. So I understand the reluctance on YNAB's part to do something which makes it easier to see both because it then means that one small group of users has to get entirely different instructions about the relationship between their accounts and their categories, and those instructions run exactly counter to one of the biggest hurdles the rest of the userbase has to get over. 

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    • Tan Major (faac422e1003) It's not different instructions and it doesn't run counter to anything.  You're still budgeting both currencies to 0.  You're still spending out of your categories.  For me it would mean that instead of having two clothing categories (one in each budget) I could see them in a single line.  I could decide which currency (which CC) I want to use for the purchase without having to check before I leave the house (no data on my phone).  Same with groceries, or anything I might be buying on the fly and currently have a line for in each budget.

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) " I could decide which currency (which CC)  I want to use for the purchase" 

       This is the issue. In a single currency budget, your categories don't  tell you which account to use. Your category balances fundamentally don't interact with your accounts at all, and that is one of the absolute hardest concepts for new users to understand. 

      My instructions for using YNAB are "Look at the category. Spend no more than that amount." 

      Your instructions would be something like, "Look at the category. See what currency you're dealing with. Spend no more than that amount using the card that uses that currency." And if you have money budgeted in the second currency, then what? Is it just not accesssible for using for that purpose until you transfer it? Do you split your transaction between two cards so that you can access all the money? 

      Again, I'm not saying it's bad or that it wouldn't  work. I'm merely pointing out that it is fundamentally different than the way YNAB works in one currency. 

      Reply Like
  • Why?  I could have money budgeted for it in both currencies, or only in one.  It would show me "oh, I'd better use the x currency card because there's no money in the y currency budget for that."

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) but there *is* money in that currrency for that. If you have 100 CAD and 300 NIS budgeted to one category, you have a chunk of money set aside equivalent to a little less than 200 CAD or a little over 600 NIS. You could spend up to that amount, in either currency, without disrupting the plans for the rest of your money. Your money is fundamentally fungible. And the reason you know this is true is that if you were to convert all your money to one currency, you'd still have an amount set aside for that category. 

      I realize this is academic and mathematical but hey I'm an academic. :) This is the part of YNAB I find most mind-blowingly revolutionary. It does not matter where your money is. And the only reason it matters even a little in a multi-currency situation is that your categories are always slightly inaccurate because of the exchange rate and thus it weakens your ability to use the categories to make spending decisions. But you can still spend roughly that amount in either currency; the category's relationship to your overall money doesn't change. 

      Reply Like
    • Tan Major (faac422e1003) You're assuming I'm shopping in my local currency and playing the exchange game.  I'm not.  I may well be shopping in my foreign currency in which case knowing if I have enough in that other currency's category would be quite helpful.  Or I may be shopping in a 3rd currency and knowing how much I have where (as well as what the current exchange rate is for each currency) helps me make a smarter decision about how to pay for it.

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tape (136ad1e301dd) Nope, I'm not. In the example I gave above, it doesn't matter whether you're spending in NIS or CAD.  You just think I am because you think of your money as being in two pots.The amount of your total net worth that you have budgeted to that category is still the same, and it includes the amounts you've budgeted in both NIS and CAD. You could spend the NIS budget in CAD; it doesn't make a difference to your budget. You don't magically not have the NIS you've budgeted from the NIS account just because you're choosing to spend in CAD at that time. You still have hat money, and you can still spend it. What the budget can't tell you is, since you're holding that money in NIS at the moment, can you afford to spend xyz amount in CAD? (Or vice versa). And th only solution to this is either to link accounts and category balances, or to accept that the category balances aren't going to be quite right. I don't care for either solution.

      Anyway. I'm procrastinating on grading papers right now and should probably be doing that instead. I'm a teacher at heart and I have a bad habit of trying to find new ways of explaining something until it clicks for the other person.  

      Reply Like
  • This is something that's majorly bugged me, too. I totally understand why YNAB is unlikely to add proper full-on support for multiple currencies in a single budget (it gets VERY complicated very quickly!). 

    That said, I'd honestly be happy with the simple ability to enter a transaction in whatever currency I want, and have it auto-converted before saving to my main currency at a sensible current exchange rate. That's fuzzy, sure, and will cause everything to subtly drift in the long term (or even medium-short term :P), but I'm more than happy to deal with reconciling that myself.

    (cc April at YNAB )

    Reply Like 1
  • Hi I followed this discussion with interest although will need longer to get my head around the finer points of it. I was pondering this issue myself this morning because I live in UK (and use UK pounds £)  but go abroad fairly regularly for short periods and spend in euros. I was thinking I could just create a 'euros cash' account which I actually enter in pounds, and  a single  'expenses abroad' category, then  track my individual expense transactions manually in euros,and convert the total expenses for the period abroad back into pounds on my return (and the new total amount in my 'euros' cash account  too). But then I would still have the hassle of converting each individual transaction into pounds on my return,otherwise ynab will misconstrue the £/euros individual  discrepancies as overspend or underspend and be unable to reconcile the account. Has anybody tried something similar to this and found any workaround? I guess ideally ynab would build in some kind of feature that silently carries out currency conversions at the level of individual transactions when a user instructs it that an account is in a different  currency. It would lead to some drift long term because of currency conversion differences but that wouldn't personally bother me too much, at least not for my purposes (it might be more problematic for others) thanks! 

    Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Battery I do it by hand (meaning a separate spreadsheet) when I travel abroad and use cash. I have an on budget Euro account and an on budget Foreign Currency account. I have the Euro account because on my last layover at Schipol I took out 50 euro but ended up not spending it but wanted to keep it out of my foreign currency account because I try to get that down to 0 when I finish a trip. So it's in my budget with a balance of US$54.74 because that was the exchange rate on the ATM withdrawal.

      So the initial exchange of currency (whether its an actual money changer or ATM withdrawal) is recorded as a transfer from checking account to Foreign currency account (or wallet account to foreign currency account). If it is from my wallet account, I know what the final exchange rate is immediately and can set up my formula in the spreadsheet. So I just enter my transaction in Excel, it converts it to USD for me and eventually I enter it into YNAB. If the money came from an ATM I have to wait a day or 2 to set up the formula because I won't know the final conversion rate right away but I still enter the transactions into the spreadsheet. Honestly, it takes me like 5 minutes a day so it's no big deal.

      Reply Like
  • I think YNAB could focus on assuming people have a main currency, but use other currencies for smaller operations. I do use other accounts almost every month, so they should be part of my budget. My plan is to convert the amount to my local current, and then reconcile from time to time. What do you think?

    Reply Like
  • Thanks all for your comments. Gold Sander I resolved my issue in the end by having two separate budgets - one for euros, the other for pounds - and while I was abroad I entered all my transactions in euros in the euros account just like I would do in my regular pounds budget. Then when I came back to the UK I found out the pounds equivalent for what I had left from my euros after my expenditures abroad, and entered that figure *in pounds* within my regular pounds account in a newly created account called 'euro cash'. I then assigned the pounds equivalent of what I had *spent* in euros to a category within my regular pounds account called 'expenditure abroad'. This works quite well for me because I only go abroad every other month or so for a short period. This wouldn't work very well at all for anybody making transactions in multiple currencies on a daily (or at least much more frequent) basis. But I think it works quite well for long weekends away etc., even if there will be a certain amount of drift and minor loss of accuracy due to currency exchange fluctuations.

    Reply Like
  • Budgetbakers.com accomplishes multiple currencies. What they do is require each budget to have a "base" currency. For example, my base currency is USD. Most of my accounts in the app are in USD. I do have a cash account in Bahraini Dinar though. That account stays in BD and I can use it as is. However, for the overall budget they automatically convert the BD to USD so that I have an overall balance that's reflected in the base currency. That doesn't seem like it would be too difficult for YNAB to do. I've used YNAB for a long time and I love it. I just wish I had a multiple currency solution that could work out of in ONE budget vs. having to switch back and forth between two.

    Reply Like
      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Transistor BudgetBakers is a bit different from YNAB in its approach to budgeting, though, right? My impression is their service doesn't really have the "zero-based budgeting" approach, where you're intended to give dollars to all money you have access to. It provides a vague guidelines for how much you expect per month, but that's about it?

      I think the challenge with this is that if you have on-budget dollars in a different currency, every time the exchange rate changes your total amount of money available changes as well, throwing the amount available in your budget off. You'd wind up constantly having to readjust your budget as the exchange rate changed, and you could never truly trust your budget.

      Reply Like
    • Ben you're right.  A lot of currencies are pegged to the dollar though... Currencies like the Bahraini Dinar.  If I had a BD cash account and was allowed to manually enter the exchange rate that would be awesome.  

      Reply Like
    • Obay
    • Blue_Colt.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I'm not sure why is this such a complicated feature to add. Any other accounting software does offer a field for conversion rate when you add a foreign currency. Why YNAB can't just do the same thing?

    Reply Like
  • The point is though, that the very nature of having multiple currencies already means that your personal total net-worth varies second by second, day by day.

     

    If YNAB was to implement this feature that it uses a base currency, and then automatically converts the foreign currency accounts into that base currency, all that would happen is that the total to be budgeted would jump a couple dollars/dinars/euros.

     

    But as long as there is no new transaction YNAB could simply still show $0.00 to be budgeted.

    This can be combined with automatically comparing historical exchange rate for yesterday for example, with today.

    The difference could also be simply added to the category balances and not the "to be budgeted" section.

     

    That way I'm sure it can be achieved to keep the zero-based budgeting system.

     

    PS: I would love to have this, currently I am trying to figure out how I can use YNAB in a meaningful way with my personal USD/EUR bank accounts and spending, as well as my business USD/EUR accounts.

    And multiple budgets seems counter-productive, at least at the moment while I'm trying to get the hang of it.

    Reply Like
  • How about starting with currencies that are pegged to others. For example, USD/KYD are pegged so when transferring between accounts you would only need to multiply/divide the amount by the rate of the account you're transferring to. 

    It sounds so easy for us peglegs in the Caribbean...

    Reply Like
  • It would be really great if there was at least the option to have a secondary currency tracking account. As some of the people above, I also manage my money in two currencies. The secondary currency sees fewer transactions in my case, so in theory, I could have two budgets but I find that counterintuitive since the amount from currency 2 also factors into my net worth. I understand that multiple currencies for on budget accounts would be difficult to implement and also not useful for how YNAB is meant to work. But for tracking? As a compromise? I don't understand why that option couldn't be offered there, possibly with a second column for the exchanged amount like one user further up suggested so that it won't mess up the net worth.  

    Reply Like
    • Hi ExistentialCrisisCat !

      Thanks for weighing in here! Currently, YNAB isn't built to handle multiple currencies or exchange rates - which is why we suggest multiple budgets. You can let our development team know you'd like to see this option by submitting a Feature Request - that form goes straight to them so they can hear your thoughts directly! :)

      Reply Like
  • I live and work in Kuwait where I earn Kuwait Dinar. But I’m British and maintain my UK pounds sterling credit cards, savings, current account, investments  etc.

    I DO use two separate budgets for the two currencies.  But I DON’T want the app converting  back and forward.

    Why? The exchange rate fluctuations plus the actual exchange rate the bank gives on transfers.  And it costs to make an international transfer.

    In the time I’ve lived here the underlying exchange rate has gone between 2.4-2.7. So my stable Kuwait salary goes up and down a lot in equivalent pounds sterling. And when I transfer it’s different again because I have to accept whatever rate the banks are offering. And pay the charges.

    It makes much more sense to treat money out of the Kuwait budget as a spend, and the less predictable money into the UK account as a variable income.  To say ‘I have 1000kd therefore I have 2400GBP simply isn’t true UNTIL I TRANSFER IT. So it’s claiming money I don’t really have. Which breaks one of the rules.

    Reply Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g Bingo. You get it. 

      Reply Like
  • Thanks. And with a typo too. Actually the underlying exchange rate has swung from 2.1 to 2.7. Its a big thing! Around 25% of the average. 

    Reply Like
    • Maxi
    • Forest_Green_Mill.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I'd also like currency support from YNAB. In my case, I have two account: $USD and my local $ in my bank. What I normally do is to convert all to my local $. So, I see I'll have to do a "reconciliation balance" very often.. it'd be nice if this can be done automatically by YNAB. I do keep $USD and only use them when I have to pay something locally. I'm a freelancer and I use my local $ (only convert $USD when needed)

    Reply Like
  • More than a year using YNAB and multi-currency is the feature I need the most. I am actually managing different currencies in separate budgets, but I lose the magic of seeing altogether. I usually earn money in my home currency but invest in USD. I have to create dummy transactions that distort the whole picture. Reports are not useful at all, especially when tracking my net worth. Any chance you guys consider adding the multiple currency feature? The world is one global village and people outside the US would like to take full advantage of your product. Thanks in advance!

    Reply Like 1
    • dgs
    • New to YNAB
    • dgs
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

     

    • "Global" would be a new view that sits alongside the users other budgets
    • Cannot be edited by user - read only
    • Is a feed organized in list format or graphical that lists each budget and the amounts in the budget and tracker accounts
    • Presents user with a dropdown to select currency
    • Takes the amounts in each of the above and does a conversion on same day (based on whatever exchange source) and feeds back in user selected currency.
    • Future enhancements could be a date of conversion (last month, last year, x day)

    Result:  we see our balances in one place in our desired currency.  

    Thoughts?

    dgs

    Reply Like 1
      • Santiago
      • messi
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dgs I like your idea. Actually, I was thinking of something similar. I thought that I could have a read only budget that mirrors all the transactions I enter in my home currency budget, but they are automatically converted to USD. I thought this could be done by taking the exchange rate at the moment I enter the transaction from a source we previously determine (Central Bank's website for instance). I live in a country with +40% inflation so taking a look at my past expenses is misleading. I need a more stable currency to perform my analysis. Any idea is something like this can be accomplished with the YNAB API? I don't have a technical background so I am not quite sure. Thanks!

      Reply Like 1
      • dgs
      • New to YNAB
      • dgs
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Santiago Not sure re the api matter.  I have to believe, that creating a read only view with a currency drop down and date selection, cannot be that hard.  (Let's not even get picky with currency translation source here, but this might be an added expense for them- not sure.)   

      I am not in programming so I will accept the YNAB leaders to promptly shoot this down! ha ha!    dgs

      Reply Like
    • Obay
    • Blue_Colt.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I think YNAB is focused on their local US market and lacks the international vision to attend to  issues like this.

     

    it has been years since people started complaining about this. I think we can crowd fund a project and create  a better version of YNAB that does cater to our requirements.

     

    it is possible the US market is enough for YNAB and other markets are not interesting enough business wise.

    i own an IT company and can certainly help managing the project and the development needed.

     

    would be interested in having partners and listening to what you think.

     

    obay@aranix.com

    Reply Like
  • Hi all!

    It's mentioned above in the thread, but I wanted to leave another link to our Feature Request form. At this time, each budget in your YNAB account can only handle one currency. We continue to receive requests for multi-currency support, but we haven't found the best way to implement it. If you submit your ideas through the Feature Request form, they go straight to our development team for further consideration! :)

    Reply Like
      • dgs
      • New to YNAB
      • dgs
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Submitted just now. 

      Reply Like 1
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