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euros in wallet

Are you sitting on some leftover holiday cash?

Even a few days of sunshine can’t disguise the fact that summer is over. Back to school, back to work, back to uni… most of us won’t be going on holiday again until next year. However, there is a silver lining to that grey, rain-filled cloud, and it takes the form of leftover foreign money sitting in a drawer.

The average amount brought back from a trip abroad is a staggering £55.25 according to Visa Europe. One in six even have at least £75 in leftover currency. 

It's a decent chunk of cash, but Money Advice Service research has found we’re not great at getting the best from the notes and coins we bring back from our holidays. Though a quarter of us do exchange it back to pounds, almost half of us do nothing with it. Nothing!

This could mean you’re in for a quick and easy windfall. You might even have a few years worth of different currencies that add up to a tidy sum.

So what can you do with your leftover money? We’ve three options to stop it going to waste.

Put it towards your next trip

If you’re going to visit a destination where you can reuse the same currency, it might be best to keep it safe and save it for that trip. Euros in particular could be of use again.

That way it could actually be the start of next year’s holiday fund. In fact, having a goal for how much you need will help you avoid overspending when you do go away.

However it’s worth noting that exchange rates can go up and down, so your leftover money might be worth a lot less or a lot more this time next year.

Switch it to sterling

If you don’t know where you’ll go, or you’re pretty sure you won’t be using Yen again or reusing your Rubles, switch it back to sterling.

You might be able to sell it to a friend, but the easiest way is to return to a bureau de change. Yes, you might be losing a little in the exchange rate, but you’ll be losing even more if you never use it again.

Be careful though. Just because you’re promised “no commission” when you change the money back, it doesn’t mean you’re getting the best exchange rate. To make sure you’re getting the most possible money back, make sure you shop around.

Give it to charity

Our survey found only 3% of people give their leftover money to charity, but if you’re stuck with the odd coin you know isn’t worth exchanging, the money can do far more if you donate it rather than leave it with your passport.

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