27 June 2012

England: Money, sorted.

I've had a couple of messages asking about the money over here. It's not really that much different than the States other than the denominations and the shapes and sizes of the coins.

Like the US, it's all Base 10:
100 Pence = 1 Pound
Easy, right?

Coins start at 1 penny, then 2 pence, then 5. It starts over at 10 pence (p), 20p, and 50p. Finally there are 1 pound and 2 pound coins (no 1 or 2 pound notes). The first note is 5 pounds, followed by 10s and 20s. There may be larger denominations, but also like the US, are not in normal circulation.

The language of money is interesting, too. A typical way of stating a price might be "that's 2 pounds 50" meaning 2 pounds, 50 pence, written £2.50, just like the US. Things that are less than a pound are usually just something like "60p". Another word for the pound is "quid", as in "that'll be 30 quid". You also hear things like "just give me a fiver", meaning a five pound note, or a "tenner", a ten pound note.

The thing you have to watch out for is the exchange rate. Prices can be deceiving in that a meal may be £10.50. When you realize the exchange rate is something like £1.00 = $1.57, things can add up quickly! A £20 souvenir will cost you $31.21 plus whatever extra the bank charges for making the (fully electronic) currency exchange.

(l-r, top to bottom) 1 penny, 2 pence, 5p
10p, 20p, 50p
1 pound, 2 pound
So that's British money all sorted.

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