Currency Exchange Woes

by - 10/01/2014

Living on a small island in the middle of the ocean is extremely inconvenient. We pay extra for everything because it has to come here on a barge. What do you pay for a gallon of milk? We pay upwards of $10.00 for one. Does that sound ludicrous? That's the cost of living in paradise.

In the past, we used Pacific Money Exchange on Oahu in Waikiki to get our Yen. Their rates are basically whatever Google tells you the rate is that day, which is awesome because lately, I've seen the rate go all the way up to 109 JPY. My friend exchanged money two weeks ago and got 107 JPY to 1 USD. 

What did me and Kevin get? 96 JPY to 1 USD. That's one Yen lower than the rate we got last year when we exchanged with Pacific Money Exchange. 

Let me explain. 

Our options to exchange currency are limited here. You can either exchange your money at the bank, or do it online at somewhere like Travelex or Ezfoex. The problem with that is that they will still likely give you less than what the actual exchange rate for that day is. The day we exchanged our money, the rate was 106, but we got our yen for 96. I've read that bank rates are usually good because they get their currency at wholesale, but I'm not sure how true that is. Whatever the case, it wasn't 106. Banks, as well as these online currency places, will charge you a delivery fee of $10.00 or more. With my bank, the fee was only about $8.00, which isn't bad.

I'm not a finance expert in any sense. I'm just ranting a bit about my recent experience. Going through your bank is convenient if you want cash on hand right away (it took maybe four days to get our cash). I wish I was lucky enough to live near Pacific Money Exchange, but I just couldn't justify spending the airfare to go over there for the day just to get my cash. But after taking such a hit, I think next time, that's exactly what I'll do. 

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