If you have lived in a foreign country like the Philippines for an extended time, it is likely that after some time, in financial terms, you will begin to think in the currency of the country you are living in, instead of the country where you came from.
When you first come to live in the Philippines, if you are from the United States, it is likely that every time you buy something, or even look at something you might buy, you will always convert the Peso price into Dollars. In other words, if the price is marked at P300, you will calculate in your mind how many Dollars that is, even though you will pay in Pesos. Like I say, when you first come here, this is something you will do constantly.
How long does it take to start thinking in Pesos instead of dollars? Well, it depends on many factors. How often do you go shopping? How exposed are you to your former currency, Dollars? Do you spend a lot of time talking with other foreigners, and thus talking about Dollars? All of these factors, and others too will help determine how long it will be before you are thinking in Pesos.
In my case, I am in a bit of a unique situation. Of course, when I first moved to the Philippines, I was always converting Pesos to Dollar amounts in my head. After a year or maybe 18 months, though, I was mostly thinking in Pesos, and not even thinking much about Dollars any longer. Then, after I had been here for about 2 years, I started doing business on the net, and my prices were always in US Dollars, because that was the currency that my customers used. Since that time, my involvement in online business has been increasing every year. So, now, I would say that in most cases I still think in terms of dollars in my daily life. However, if I just go to the store to buy groceries or simple things like that, I do not convert in my mind, I simply think in Pesos. For major purchases, though, I still look at both Dollars and Pesos.
Living when you are thinking in two different currencies can be difficult. For the most part, I would suggest that you should try to move your brain to thinking in the local currency as much as possible. If you are still involved in business which is denominated in Dollars, as I am, it is difficult to make that shift 100%.
How about you? What currency do you think in?
Note: About 12 hours ago, I enabled threaded comments on the site. We tried that a couple years ago, and it did not work out great, but I think it has promise. Let’s give it another shot and see how it goes. If you wish to reply to a specific comment on the site, you can hit the “reply” button within that comment, and your comment will be listed under the comment you are responding to. You will also see my replies to each individual comment right under the comment that I am replying to. Any feedback you might have, positive or negative would be appreciated in evaluating this.