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How to manage travel money wallet?
How to manage travel money wallet?

Forex/crypto accounts make for a great multi-currency travel account!

Iliya Yordanov avatar
Written by Iliya Yordanov
Updated over a week ago

As you might know, each account in MoneyWiz has just one currency – the one you created it in. Naturally, that account can receive and spend money in different currencies but all those amounts are converted to the currency of your account.

This might present a possible problem. If you’re traveling, you most likely wish to purchase at least some of the local currency. For example, when traveling to Spain from the United States, you will want to have at least some Euro in your pocket. Since this is a different currency, it makes sense to create a completely new account for that purpose as you’ll make separate expenses with your EUR wallet than you’ll make with your USD wallet when you get back home.

If you’re traveling often and to different countries, you will soon end up with many different accounts – each in different currency. It is possible to archive them once they are not needed but with the introduction of Forex / Crypto accounts, there is another way.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a look at the Forex / Crypto accounts guide as it will outline the basic mechanics of that account type. In this short article, we’ll simply advise how this account can be used for your international wallets (assuming you already have a basic understanding of what Forex account is from reading the guide).

Setting up your accounts

When setting up your accounts in MoneyWiz, we’d suggest that you create a separate account in MoneyWiz for each non-cash account you own: checking/banking, saving accounts, credit cards, investment, etc. Most of the time, you can’t easily switch the currency of your banking account so the currency will remain stable. If you do ever somehow change the currency of your banking account, it’ll probably make more sense to archive the old one and create new one in the new currency.

Things are different with cash (wallet) accounts. Those are much more fluid – you might travel to Poland for one weekend and will purchase some Polish Zlotys. While you might not rule out coming back to Poland at some point, perhaps you don’t plan to visit again within the next few years so you try to spend as much of PLN as possible and exchange the rest. If you end up with 0 balance for a cash account in a currency of the country you might or might not come back to, it might not make sense to keep the account in your MoneyWiz database. But deleting an account in MoneyWiz is something we do not recommend. So what should you do?

As noted above, you should create a separate account for all non-cash accounts you have. For foreign cash money, we suggest you use the Forex account type, call it something like “Travel money” and add all of the foreign currencies you have in there. If you’re traveling to a new country and you don’t own any of the local currency yet, just exchange some of your home currency (USD) to the local currency (PLN). You don’t need to enable PLN currency in Settings -> Currencies – and you shouldn’t, unless you plan to create regular banking account in that currency.

To make the USD-PLN exchange, just transfer some USD from your regular account (either checking or wallet) to your Travel account and then use the Exchange feature to convert USD to PLN. As you travel around Warsaw or Bieszczady, buying pierogi and zapiekanki, you’ll spend PLN – enter those transactions as expenses in your Travel account, in the PLN currency.

When you get back home and you decide to leave some PLN in your closet for a future visit, just leave the Travel account’s PLN balance as it is. If you spend all of your PLN money, you’ll notice that the currency disappeared from Portfolio (but you still retain the transaction history in Trades tab). Same if you exchanged your remaining PLN back to USD – just reflect this by making another exchange (but PLN -> USD this time).

It’s up to you whether to treat the Forex Travel account as your universal wallet account (meaning that if you live in US, you’ll also track your USD cash in that account). For everyday expenses while not traveling, the Forex charts, features, buttons and fancy switches might be too much if you just need an account register to track your subway ticket expenses. So our recommendation is that you keep your main wallet account (the cash account of the currency of the country you live in) separate from your travel money. But it’s just a suggestion – you can track all of your cash wallets using the forex account. Since you can easily exchange money within the forex account as well as transfer money in/out of various accounts, the question is more about whether the additional features of Forex account would be getting in your way of simple everyday expense tracking. Another point to consider is that while you can exclude your forex account from Net Worth, you can’t exclude individual currencies within – and you might want not to include your travel money in your Net Worth calculation.

What if I already have some separate travel accounts?

New customers have the choice of deciding how to organize their travel accounts but customers who have been using MoneyWiz prior to Forex accounts introduction will face a dilemma: should you try to merge your existing travel accounts to one forex-based travel account?

Our suggestion: no. We do not currently offer any migration other than CSV export and import but due to the different nature of those accounts, that sort of migration is very complicated. If your transaction history in those travel accounts is very short and simple, you might be able to re-create it by hand. But if it’s longer then most likely you have some split transactions, adjust balance transactions and transfers which makes the migration a lot more complicated.

That being said, we are very excited how flexible Forex accounts are, especially for people who travel often. So you might want to create a new Travel/Forex account and use the Transfer transaction type to transfer money from your existing separate travel accounts to the single travel account. The zeroed separate accounts should now be archived (not deleted).

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