Use Leftover Foreign Currency: How To Guide

If you’ve traveled to a different country before, you probably have a little foreign currency laying around. I know for me personally, I have British pounds that are just collecting dust until I can go visit the U.K. While I try to get rid of any extra coins or currency that I have at the airport before heading home, sometimes there’s just not enough space in my bag to buy anything else! If you aren’t sure how to use your leftover foreign currency, read below for five different ideas.

1. Donate it

Do you have a friend or family member who has talked about an upcoming trip? Give them your spare change! They will greatly appreciate having some starter coins for their trip. If you don’t want to just donate it, ask them to bring you a souvenir back with it. Did you have a favorite candy bar or snack that you would love to have again? Do you really wish you would have bought that hat/bracelet/item when you visited but regret not purchasing it? This would be the perfect chance to use your leftover foreign currency.

2. Show and tell at your kid’s school

When I was in elementary school, a parent of one of my classmates would come in for show and tell. The parent must have traveled heavily for his job, as he had coins from all around the world. He talked about the origins of each coin and then passed out coins for all of us to keep. Ove 20 years later, and I still have those coins to this day! It was a great way to educate kids about currency around the world and was a cool thing to be able to take home.

3. Use it for arts and crafts

If the coins are small enough in currency that you don’t mind losing out on the money, think of ways that you can repurpose the coins for craft projects. One way that your kids could enjoy the coins is by “transferring” the image. Have them place the coin underneath a sheet of paper and then use a colored pencil or crayon and rub it back and forth on the paper so that the image of the coin transfers over. I remember having so much fun doing this with coins when I was little! There’s so many ways that you can utilize coins – glue them on a piece of sample tile to make a coaster, paint them, let your imagination run wild!

4. scrapbook it

If you are looking to make a physical scrapbook of your recent travel adventures, think about adding the coins or currency to your scrapbook! You can glue your leftover foreign currency directly in your scrapbook page, or add a flat pouch to the front page of your scrapbook to keep them in. Pro tip: I wouldn’t recommend gluing bills as the glue may bleed through. This will help serve as an easy reminder of your trip!

5. Use it for odds and ends

Do you have an ALDI or another grocery store that requires a coin to be able to use a cart? Keep some of your foreign coins in your car for just this reason. I never seem to have change available in my current currency when I need it for carts, so by keeping a few coins in your car you can make sure you’ll never find yourself carrying everything with your hands as you try not to drop anything! Does your child have a toy bubblegum machine that needs a coin to dispense a gum ball? Another great way to use one of the foreign coins. Are you playing golf and need a ball marker? Keep one in your golf bag! Is your table a little uneven and wobbly? Try placing a coin underneath one of the legs of the table to make it more even.

And if none of these ideas are enticing for you and you’re still wondering how you can use your leftover foreign currency, you can always put it in a jar and hope to travel back to that place one day!

Girl traveling abroad, holding up foreign currency. Girl still has leftover foreign currency ten years later.

Here’s a picture of me when I was 18 and in Budapest, Hungary.

I’m happily showing off the Hungarian Forint.

5000 Hungarian Forint is equivalent to about 17 USD or 15 Euros today.

I kept this bill and still have it over 10 years later!

I hope this list sparked some new ideas! Please let me know in the comments if this list helped you, and share any other ideas you have with me below.

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