Emily Starbuck Crone

Emily's list: Foreign transaction fees edition

I'm about to go to Canada for the first time. Well, not technically the first time -- I flew into Vancouver a few years ago for an Alaskan cruise -- but I only set foot in the airport and cruise terminal. I wasn't even there long enough to use a credit or debit card.

I leave late next week for my delayed honeymoon, and we'll spend time in both Seattle and Vancouver. It's funny -- at first I figured I would just use my normal debit card in Canada. We both use currency called dollars, and so many things about the countries are so similar. I quickly realized that while the value is very similar, a Canadian dollar is still different from an American dollar, and I would incur a foreign transaction fee for every payment.

credit card foreign transactions fees

Instead, I'm going to be using my trusty Capital One credit card that I always use for international travels. It has no frills, but it also has no foreign transaction fee. We've been saving up money for the trip in an online savings account, and I was hoping to directly use that money via a debit card. Instead, I plan to use the Capital One card for nearly all of the purchases made there. Once I'm back, I'll pay off the credit card balance with the amount saved. It adds an extra step, but avoiding a fee of several percentage points for every single purchase is very much worth it! And I used my Chase Continental Airlines OnePass credit card for some of the big purchases made in advance in American dollars, such as our AmTrak train tickets, so I will also rack up some reward miles from the trip. 

But I'm not leaving just yet. Read on for a roundup of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week, including several about managing money as a couple.

1. So Over Debt presents a very clever post that lists several reasons why personal finance can be a lot like cross-dressing.

2. Eating out for lunch every day can burn a big hole in your wallet, but it doesn't have to. Broke Professionals offers great advice on how to save money on lunch without bringing food from home.

3. No Debt MBA reveals how he and his significant other handle their money together, which works for them so well that they never fight about money.

4. On a similar note, Dinks Finance discusses how they learned to manage finances as a couple and the benefits that have come from it.

5. It's not all peachy, though; dealing with money as a couple can be tricky. Young and Thrifty lists several ways that couples can avoid frugal fatigue together.

6. I missed this one last week, and really wanted to include it. The Family CEO lists some of the best "how I got out of debt" stories that she found online.

7. Blonde and Balanced shares the three major milestones she has passed on her journey of achieving balance in her life -- one of which was getting out of credit card debt.

8. Not everything has to cost money. Debt Free by 30 explains how you can use bartering to get things you need without exchanging actual dollars.

9. Interested in jumping on the "extreme couponing" bandwagon? Consumerism Commentary discusses why its proponents are using fuzzy math and how you may end up wasting your time.

10. You've heard of the debt snowballing tactic. Afford Anything introduces the concept of a savings snowball, which allows you to add up savings after you're out of debt.

3 Comment(s)

Thanks so much for mentioning my posts, both at my site and on Broke Professionals!

Roddrigo said:

The BEST thing "SMART" Americans can do to Show the "TOO BIG TO FAIL BANKSTERS" Who's in charge would be for EVERYONE to MAX out their cards & Stop ALL Payments. That'll show them WHO'S in charge. CREDITCARD REVOLUTION 2011 !!!!

Thanks for mentioning my post! And enjoy your delayed honeymoon!! I also have a Continental Onepass credit card, and its great for getting airline miles.

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Email Address:     (will not be displayed)

Please enter the phrase below (NOT case sensitive):


They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the staff.


Other Voices and Blogs

Useful Links

Subscribe to Taking Charge