Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keeping track of my money

In China I seem to have a much harder time keeping track of my money. At the end of the day I’m often left with a feeling that I lost some notes or didn’t get correct change.

This is probably because of a few different reasons. There are a few more coins/bills than Canadian currency. The amount of bills I have is more than I’m use to as well. In Canada I carry 20s, whereas in China I carry 100s. Let’s say I do a 10RMB transaction with my 100RMB bill. Then I’d have 90RMB in 10s, 20s, and 50s. Also, I tend to use the 100s more than the others because it’s easier to recognize.

I do a lot of transactions a day because there are meals, taxis, and lots of shopping. After each transaction money gets stuffed into pant pockets, purses, wallets, jackets etc. With so many bills and transactions, it is easy to lose track.

For this trip, I started doing a daily tally. The end of the day I record my spending into an excel spread sheet. Subtract total spending from what I started the day with, and that should be how much cash I have left. Then I count my cash to make sure I balance.

This system is great because I don’t wonder about lost money. It makes my expense report at the end of the trip a lot easier. Also, I make sure I don’t forget any money in any pockets. This happens quite a bit and I end up with a pile of notes I can’t use when I get to Canada.

So far I’ve lost 2.5RMB. 0.5RMB because I got a Macau coin (I’m keeping that for souvenir), 1RMB coin because there was a hole in my bag, and 1RMB bill because I gave extra to the taxi driver.

It’s not really the amount but the fact I know exactly what’s going on with my money. I guess I’m a control freak.

Another benefit of this is my shopping habits have improved. A daily tally forces me to reflect on my purchases and now I consider my purchases more carefully – no more buying frenzies.


SavingDiva said...

I have a hard time with foreign currency...it feels like play money to me...so I don't mind spending it!

Esme said...

Yes! Me too. Somehow the true value of the money I'm spending just doesn't hit home.

I just spent 380HK for a bag of candy. It wasn't until just now when I entered it in my spreadsheet that I realized that's about $50. Yikes!