Money Money Money!

I've been meaning to write a post about the Australian currency ever since Joe and I received some as a going away present from Wink and Sally (wasn't that a brilliant present idea?).  The idea of learning a new currency just tickled me beyond belief - it was something that I hadn't really thought about up to that point....  The paper currency is really incredibly beautiful and fun looking.  The bills are slightly different sizes and they are made with some type of polymer that makes them resistant to moisture (they can go through the wash much better than US bills) and they even have this really neat clear plastic cutout in the corner.  The only downside that I have found is that once a bill is folded in half it is difficult to make it lay flat again due to it's thick wax paper type makeup.

There were no singles in the going away card and I simply assumed that we would figure out what those "ones" looked like when we changed our currency at the airport.  Well, we didn't get any singles at the airport either so I was starting to really wonder...

Turns out, there are NO bills smaller than a 5.  There are however $2 and $1 coins.  The 1 dollar coin is about the size of a US quarter; but much heavier and thicker.  The 2 dollar coin is only about the size of a US dime but also much more serious and weighty.  They are the only gold coins in the lot so they are pretty easy to identify.  I have to admit, I wasn't digging the idea of having a bunch of heavy coins in my bag replacing some weightless bills; but it has grown on me and now I love it!  I realized how great it was one night during our first week here - I had taken a taxi to Joe's office and had a fare of $9.20.  I rummaged (not rooted) in my change purse and paid my fare with 6 coins.  Can you imagine trying to pay that fare with common US change?  It would take 36 quarters just to make it to $9.00.  That would be a seriously heavy change purse!  It's also great for keeping a spare change jar.... Empty your pockets in there every day and in a month you could have hundreds of dollars!

The rest of the coins are equally as different and super cool.  There is a fifty cent piece that is really large and heavy (larger even than a US silver dollar) and it is also completely randomly (actually, I'm sure that it's not random and that there is some historical significance - but random to an outsider) twelve sided!  The rest of them are very similar except for the fact that they have a 20 cent coin instead of a quarter; and, as you can see, the sizes are completely different.  I cannot tell you how many times I have given someone 5 cents instead of 10 because it is the same size as a dime!

Also, I got my new debit card from my new Australian bank and it is pink.  Yes, Pink... actually, rather bright pink! Because you should always look good - even when you are paying at the grocery store!  My card has a little silver microchip thingy on the front of it and sometimes instead of sliding the magnetic strip through the card reader you actually insert your card into a slot on the bottom or top of the machine to process your payment.

In another brilliant move, there is the option here to type a pin number in to complete your transactions instead of having to sign anything.  Most of the card readers are wireless.... The clerk will hand it to you, you put your card in, you choose the way you want to pay, you type your PIN # in and then you get your receipt and go.  It's so much faster than having to sign everything!

All in all, I have to say that I am pretty impressed with the way that money and transactions work here... I think that the States could learn some lessons from the Aussies in this area; and, to be fair, vice versa.

11 Responses
  1. Andrew Dunkle Says:

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  2. Jenny Says:

    Totally agree about the money. My favourite thing about banking here is availability of online money transfer to anyone! I can pay my babysitter or house cleaner or the piano teacher online. This is so convenient! Especially since we don't have a checking account here.

  3. Gina E. Says:

    Our bank notes were controversial when they first came out - people said it felt like paying bills with Monopoly toy money! But they are pretty. I had trouble in the USA with the notes all looking the same, I must admit. But they look more like real money than ours!
    Hey, congratulations on the comment from - well done! Your blog really is a delight to read, so I'm not surprised it was selected to feature on their website.

  4. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Jenny - Absolutely! That has been a godsend for me this past week as I have been buying appliances off Gumtree. If I like it, I can transfer a deposit in five minutes and then it's mine!

    Now to get all this stuff delivered and carried up to our fouth floor apartment :(

    @ Gina - I am anxiously looking forward to the moment when the colour tells me the amount. Now I am like "Oh look, I got a blue one and a red one... How much do I have?" Thanks for the congrats - I'm a bit flabergasted to be honest. It's weird to think that there are other people out there lurking and reading :)

  5. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Andrew Dunkle - Thanks very much for the nod and for the listing on your site. I checked it out and it looks like a really great resource!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I was just given a bunch of Australian $ over the weekend as a gift. It's so much prettier than ours but definitely feels fake. :)

  7. Longo's Says:

    hey, Keep up the blogging. I am really enjoying your stories. Now that I don't work with you, i can give you compliments!! LOL.

  8. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Phoebe - don't worry, the fake feeling goes away. Just wait till you get coins - they are awesome!

    @ Jon - Thanks so much!! I am missing you guys (but not missing work or working) and it's nice to know that you are staying in touch via the blog. Whatever, you used to give me compliments at work all the time!!! :D

  9. Rachael Says:

    I'm glad you rummaged through your purse instead of rooted, that might have been a little awkward for your taxi driver lol :)

    And a PINK debt card?! Ok, I'm ready to move!! I just moved into my new apartment in Lexington and I kept thinking of you and Joe! My move wasn't nearly as exciting but WAY easier lol. Every time I got stressed I reminded myself I was only moving about 20 minutes from one apartment to the other, not to the other side of the world :) Thank you for being my stress reliever!!

  10. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Rachel - How did your move go? Are you gearing up for school? Missing you and your mama bunches!!

  11. Rachael Says:

    It wasn't bad at all! It was hectic because I couldn't move in to the new place until 11am and had to be out of the old place by noon and I wasn't sure if I was going to have to make multiple trips.. and Lexington traffic is always a nightmare. I'm going to go down one day next week to take my kitchen stuff down and then I'll go back by myself the next week just to do some unpacking while everyone up here is in school. We miss you too!!

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