Finances

We saved for a long time and lived well below our means. The moment we decided to go on this trip our need for retail therapy disappeared. We were no longer compelled to a buy another useless item that made us feel happy for a few hours. We were now saving for an experience.

We are budgeted for 22k to 24K 26k (it went up) each for one year. Western Europe costs more. South East Asia costs less. Needless to say, we will be spending the majority of our time in Asia. This is not including money for re-entry and money we spent on gear, vaccines or health insurance.

Credit Cards issued in the United States usually charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. Banks usually charge 1% - 3% to use their debit cards at point of sale or ATMs overseas. There are a few exceptions. Capital One offer 0% on all credit cards and debit cards. As of August 15, 2012 Capital One now charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on ATM cash withdrawals unless you have a certain kind of checking account. International ATM fees are waived on High Yield Checking, High Interest Free Checking, Platinum and Tower Gold accounts. They reimburse other banks ATM fees; up to $25 a month. Chase also has a few credit cards with 0% foreign transaction fees and good rewards. For a complete list click here. Make sure to have 3 debit cards setup with 3 different banks and 3 credit cards with 3 different banks. If someone skims your account number or the banks automated fraud protection system shuts your card down. You can just cancel the card and move on to he next. Make sure to call all your banks before you leave and let them know your traveling. Even with calling, credit cards do get shut down sometimes. Credit cards should be used only when compulsory, such as when booking hotels or renting a car.  Cash should be used as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of fraud.

I use Mint.com to view balances and all transactions made with banks and credit cards. It's important to be able to quickly see if any of my accounts have had any fraudulent charges made. I can view Mint through Mint's app, web interface or weekly email summary. Mint does not offer account reconciliation or money management of any kind. It's only good for viewing. The less I use my actual bank credentials the safer I will be. You do have to trust Mint (owned by Quicken) with all your login credentials. Better to trust them then a rogue WiFi hotspot.

Like I've mentioned in the Online Security page. I would not access any of these accounts without a Virtual Private Network.

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