Well hello again! I hope you are having a fine and happy summer, o readers of my incessant blog! We’re not, in the UK that is. The weathermen (and women) tell us that “it’s going to be a lovely day tomorrow, with temperatures up to 22 degrees celsius” and then it isn’t. It’s cold (16 deg.), wet and rainy, then on the next forecast, they say “Well it’s been a lovely, warm day today” and it wasn’t. So maybe they’re just pretending, as there’s nothing they can do about it. Anyhow, I’m digressing as, the main reason for this ‘rant’ isn’t the weather at all, but rather money. ‘Finance’, not like the title at all is it? It certainly isn’t funny and neither is money.
We recently had to change some money from ours into theirs for a holiday, at the rather French sounding, ‘Bureau de Change’. Why can’t they just call it money exchange? Anyway, this is from British Pounds into European ‘Euros’ that I’m talking about here. I spent weeks watching the euro exchange trends, seeing it bounce up and down against the pound, like a pony-tailed young girl in a tennis dress at Wimbledon, trying to win a few points against it’s opponent. The Greeks couldn’t seem to sort out their problems with the ‘single currency’ and I waited, like a hawk, fluttering it’s wings and hovering above a mouse or vole, ready to pounce the very moment the Pound hit the magical 1.50 mark. Or 1.45, or 1.44, you get the picture. But it didn’t and when the Bank Of England didn’t do what it was supposed to do to the interest rates, the exchange rate suddenly fell like a stone and I, like a rat leaving a sinking ship, dived into the nearest foreign exchange to change my money at a paltry 1.38! We had got some Euros a few weeks earlier at a higher rate, so we’ve still done fairly well I suppose and only lost a few pounds into the bargain. The last time we went, we only got 1.20, so we’re still way ahead of that now. At least I now know that I couldn’t work in finance. Never mind ‘Black Friday’ or whatever, my nerves are now so bad, that on my first day there, I would be the first out of the window, even if things were going OK! I know I shouldn’t joke about such things, but I could never handle such a high-pressure environment. I get worried if I over-inflate my tyres, never mind the bloomin’ economy!
What I do dislike about changing money though, is the porkies they all tell! That is, porky-pies (lies). Bit of rhyming slang there. They say, “Oh come and change your money here, we don’t charge any commission”! Rubbish. So the actual foreign exchange rate for the Pound to Euro is say, 1.42, that means that on the online comparison site, the place you intend to change your money at, will say 1.40 or 1.39. When you get there however, it will say 1.38 or even 1.36! I always ask why this is and they say “No, we don’t charge commission, but we have to make money somewhere”! In other words, they DO charge commission, but call it a ‘different’ exchange rate. Then if, while on holiday, you haven’t blown the lot on bull-shaped bottles of Sangria and china donkeys in hats with holes for their ears to poke through, as presents for the family, then you get robbed again, when you try to change your money back! The rate to get your pounds back, always means that you lose quite a lot, just on those two transactions alone! So it’s always best to really enjoy your holiday. Forget about blowing a load of cash on things for Auntie Flo et al and just stuff yourself with spicy foreign food and strange herbal concoctions of the local spirit, to use the money up. Then when you get to the ‘Bureau de Change’, you’ll have such a bad head, you won’t care if you get much back or not!
I hope you have all had/are having/will have a great holiday or just a great summer if you’re staying at home. Whatever you’re doing, make the most of what we have left of any good weather as, as I always say, it will “Soon Be Christmas”!