Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cash, credit cards & other financial matters

Traveler's checks, like travel agents, seem to be a thing of the past. Because of the risks of forgeries, traveler's checks are more a nuisance than a traveler's aid. Before embarking on your foreign trip, inform your credit card company that you'll be abroad so they wouldn't reject the charges you make abroad. I've had that happen to me. These days I use the credit card less and less while abroad.
European businesses, mom and pop hotels and restaurants prefer cash. They don't declare this income. Unless it's a major store, or the rail service, I don't use credit cards. I use cash a lot, I bring a lot of cash. When I come home, I have very few credit card bills to contend with, the trip is already paid for. If I run out of cash, I go to an ATM and take out more cash.
With the US dollar so low, I might have to abandon visiting Europe for a while and visit Asia and China where I can still get more with the US dollar. Italy has become very expensive. Where in Europe can you get some kind of value, maybe in North Africa- Morocco, Jordan and Egypt. So I have to turn this adversity into a positive change, go to places where value still can be gotten, maybe eastern Europe - Croatia, Slovenia or Bulgaria.
Above all, I have to revisit my budget and find even more ways to save. I went on a few airline websites - BA, Air France and United Airlines to check out prices for next year. I went into sticker shock, wow, fares are going up and/or have gone up. Why not, a barrel of oil hovers around U$80 and expected to go up to U$100. Phew! I'm watching airfares from now till end of the year, I need to pounce if I see a reasonable fare sale. I've never had such challenge before.
I was thinking to myself yesterday, 'what if money were no object?' Nay, it'll remove all the fun, the fun of juggling too many projects with limited funds, the fun of the challenge of squeezing more dollars out of the budget for travel, without feeling too deprived.
A new strategy will have to be found, like I said earlier, visit cheaper places (before they too get expensive).
I just realized that this trip is already paid for. I've paid for the airfare, I've taken out the cash for the trip, I've paid all the home bills for 2 months..... wow... how great is that!
The property tax bill arrived 2 days ago and the check is even now winging it's way to the County Assessor's office. I called my credit card company yesterday and paid my credit card bill in full.
Life is good!


Gawpo said...

Ha! I love the name of this blog. Boy, you sure pack a whollop's worth of great information, A. I have no idea how you found my blog (Google?), but I am so glad that you did. Just in time for me to do so, too. Thanks.

annechung said...

I found you by googling except I forgot how I did it.