Two years ago, for our last trip to Europe, I opened a Citibank account with a MasterCard. Apparently Citibank had the best deals in withdrawing cash from ATMs.
The card is actually a debit card, so I have to have the money in the account and cannot go into debt. I also wanted to have an additional card linked to an account that wasn’t linked to my pay. That way, if the card was skimmed, I could just close that account and not have any issues. And any scam-merchants couldn’t take too much money or leave me with a debt.
The card worked well and having a different card was a valuable safety net. Especially when Mr S’s Visa card was cancelled last trip as he was scammed.
I haven’t used the account for the intervening time. Leaving the $400 or so there for our next trip, which is this trip. Just before we left, I transferred $2,000 into the account.
That was to be our part of our travel budget.
You know where this is going, right?
The card is now not recognised by any ATMs. Not in Germany, Switzerland, Italy. Nowhere. Tried to pay for something. Nope.
So I have about two and a half thousand dollars I cannot access!
Things, especially eating out, are so exxy here that we are burning through money. We haven’t been profligate; haven’t bought too many things. Still, cash seems to be vanishing.
We needed cash to pay for the Cinque Terre accommodation (the only one that wasn’t paid in advance) as they do not accept cards. I was worried about taking money out. Would we have anything left in our accounts? Were we already in the red? The Aussie dollar is pretty bad at the moment and I haven’t been checking the exchange rate.
I was hesitant to go online and check our accounts. But I needed to check that we could cover our needs – we can’t just stop eating – and the upcoming mortgage repayment. (And then there are the plane tickets for our trip to the States in January that I purchased while here in Europe!!! Let that one slip by, didn’t I?)
Hey! Good news.
We are both in the black. By thousands.
I promised Mr S we would not go into debt for this trip. And we would be paying more than the minimum on the mortgage. And we could still afford our reduced pay which is going towards our year off in 2021. And we could afford to go to the US. (But not afford the needed fence. Sorry neighbours.)
That said, I do what I call Big Picture Budgeting.
I roughly know what we’ll spend and “feel” that things are going well, rather than itemise all income and expenses.
So now I know we have plenty of money, we won’t go hungry for the next week. And I get to keep my promise that we will have no credit card debt for this trip.
I’m tossing up whether to get the Citibank card replaced or to just shut the account down. We have several upcoming trips overseas in the next two years.
What do you think? About the Citibank account.
(Don’t tell me I need to be more specific and detailed in my budgeting. Ain’t gunna happen.)