What To Do With Your Leftover Currency?

Jane Wardle

Written by Jane Wardle on February 5, 2019

Updated June 3, 2019

left over currency from holidays

When you come back from an overseas trip, the chances are you will have some foreign currency that you didn’t spend during your holiday. Coming home with unspent travel money can leave you feeling short-changed, and many travellers end up leaving it tucked away in a suitcase pocket or hidden in a draw, just in case it comes in handy one day.

Wasting your unspent currency every time you go away can soon add up to a small fortune, and the chances are foreign exchange services will not accept your small change. If you find yourself wondering what to do with your leftover currency, and how to get the most from your holiday cash, then read on for our top ideas and useful tips on how to make the most of your foreign notes and coins.

Sell on to friends or family

vIf you know of a relative or friend that is heading abroad to a country that uses the same currency as you have leftover, then sell it back to them to help you both out. Agree on a price that works for you both, where you won’t lose too much, and they won’t be paying over the odds.

You will need to make sure they are getting a better deal than they would by going to a bureau de change and remember that you have no need for this cash anymore.

By cutting out the middle man you will be removing all commission and fees that are usually involved with a currency exchange, which should mean you will both save a bit of money.

Donate it to charity

Holiday currency

There are various schemes and companies out there that give you the opportunity to convert your leftover currency and donate it to charity. Instead of leaving it kicking around at home, you can gift your leftover money to a good cause of your choice. Sites such as Cash4Coins.com have partnered with many charities including Hospice UK, RSPCA, and the Alzheimer’s Society, and allow their customers to donate unwanted and old currencies.

Some charities may accept donations in other currencies without any need to convert it, so check with your chosen charity beforehand.

Many airlines offer the opportunity to donate leftover currency to their chosen charities at the end of their flights, so you don’t even need to go out your way to gift your leftover money to those in need.

Keep it for a future trip

If the currency you have leftover is a common currency such as the Euro, then the chances are you will travel to another country that uses it at some point in the future. If you are planning on travelling either back to the same country, or to another that uses the same currency, then you can keep hold of your cash for next time and save on exchange fees and charges.

It is easy to forget about your leftover currency by the time it comes to your next trip. Keep it somewhere where you will see it next time you are going away, such as in your suitcase or with your passport.

Donate to a local school

Teachers are often looking out for coins and notes from various countries across the world to use in their lessons. They can be great for teaching children geography or maths, and local schools will be grateful for the donation. Some coins may also be used by teachers in art lessons, as most countries are careful to choose the art on their coins, with a lot having a nod to historic emblems or famous people.

Contact your local school or ask around if you have any friends that are teachers, to find out if your leftover currency could be of any use to them in their future lessons.

Load up your Starbucks card

Starbucks card

If you are a coffee lover and there is a Starbucks at the airport on your trip home, then you’re in luck. You can ask the baristas in Starbucks to load your leftover currency onto your Starbucks card and can spend it as you please once you are back home.

Any money you load onto your Starbucks card will be automatically converted to your local currency, and you can load on however much you want. This is a great option if you have just a few small coins leftover and can result in an essentially free cup of your favourite hot drink once you get home.

Whatever you choose to do with your leftover foreign currency, make sure it isn’t wasted by sitting in a forgotten drawer at home.

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