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How to cheat currency calculations


Do you get flustered when trying to work out how much items cost abroad? We’ve got a couple of tricks to help you make quick currency calculations.

Currency calculator

Not everyone is great at mental arithmetic. We’re not saying you’re not. You might be a maths god. Please don’t tweet us a load of abuse. But *some* people aren’t.

So here are a couple of cheats to save you from some brain-crunching long division.

The quickest method

Get a piece of card which will fit in your purse or wallet. Write numbers from one to ten on one side. Then write the corresponding amount in foreign currency on the other.

This will give you a basis for seeing roughly how much things cost in your own currency, at a glance.

For example, at the time of writing there are 190 Japanese yen to a pound, near enough.

And here’s a cheat card we prepared earlier:

Currency calculations

So, if we’re debating buying something for 1,200 yen, we can see at a glance that it’s a little over £6.

It’s clearly not an exercise in atom-splitting accuracy. But it should give you a decent anchoring for working out conversions quickly.

Most common currencies

Quick calculations for the currencies most commonly used by Brits:

  • There are roughly 1.4 euros to the pound, so take off a little under a third. For example, if something is 20 euros, taking off six will leave you with 14. And 20 euros is just over £14.
  • There are just over 1.5 dollars to the pound, so take off a third.
  • If you’re sunning yourself in Dubai, there are a little over five UAE dirhams to the pound. So divide by five.
  • A Turkish lira is about a quarter of a pound, so divide by four.
  • The Thai baht is about 2p, so divide by fifty. The easiest way to do this is divide by five, and then chop off the last zero.
  • Australian dollars are basically half a pound.

Obviously exchange rates fluctuate, but this is just intended to help with quick and dirty calculations.

It’s probably best to be more accurate with transactions involving large sums of money. In which case…

Use an app

If you’re going to use an app, download it and add your desired currency before you go. There may well be times when you want to do your conversion, but don’t have data coverage. Don’t rely on being able to get Wi-Fi in the destination airport.

We’d recommend The XE Currency App or Currency. Both are free, easy to use, and support multiple languages.


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