How do I turn my American money into…not American money?

As you all may know by now, I like to do my research. I like to try different ways of doing things to see which is the most effective. Before I have a paycheck that will be in Euros, I need to get Euros out of my American bank account, which really sucks because my American bank account (like all of your American bank accounts) does not technically have Euros in it. That means that I need to find out which method of taking money out gets me the most money…for my money. 

There are many different ways of converting money and I have not tried them all but here are some ways that I have tried so far. I will promise to update this with other ways of converting money too. What I did was take out 250€ in various different ways to see how much American money was taken out of the account. The hard part in telling which way is the most effective is that the exchange rate varies from day to day so taking out money is kind of a gamble. One day you could get a decent exchange rate and another day you could get an awful exchange rate. It’s like a game of chance, which is really great for those of us who have luck on our side…a.k.a. not me which means that I always pick the days with the worst exchange rates to get out money! Definitely not intentionally…the world hates me. I have come to terms though. Here are some options as to how you can turn your $$$ into €€€. Here is a graph as to what the exchange rates were from Aug 7, 2013 to Sept 5, 2013…US Dollar to Euro Exchange Rate Graph - Aug 7, 2013 to Sep 5, 2013

1. “Buy” Euros from your bank in the US

250€=$354.40 on August 25, 2013

Pros: easy and fast
Cons: you have to carry around a bunch of euros (depending on how much you get out)

The word buy is sort of strange because I mean, you are technically buying money…with other money. Strange concept. This is pretty simple. Go to your bank (assuming that there is money in the account) and tell them how many Euros you want. Like I stated earlier, I will be getting out 250€ each time so that I can see the differences in cost when it goes through on my american bank account, and so that I can cry a lot when I see that 250€ is ALOT OF AMERICAN DOLLARS! AHHHH!. Anyways, the bank will charge you whatever sort of fees they have at the bank, the nice bank lady or man will give you the details and you will want to cry again because exchange rates are not really exchange rates…they are more like starting rates and then wherever you exchange the money, they will add some extra fees just for fun and then you can come back in a few days to get your Euros. It’s like…expensive magic…voila…your american dollars just became euros!

€=$339.47 on September 6, 2013

Pros: No money to carry around…it jumps from bank to bank (more magic)
Cons: Not that easy…not that fast

I think I had a better price because I had a better exchange rate this day.

Requirements to do this:
-US PayPal linked to a US bank account (Country must be US in order to link to US bank account)
-Spanish PayPal linked to a Spanish bank account (Country must be Spain in order to link to Spanish bank account)***
-Accounts MUST be linked to two separate e-mails
-The country is important because US banks are set up differently than Spanish banks (the routing numbers and such are different)

***Once you have your Spanish bank account, you may then and ONLY then set up your Spanish PayPal. You cannot set up a PayPal prior to having a bank account. Once your bank account is confirmed THEN you may do your PayPal transfer.

How to:

1. Log into your US PayPal and click “send money”, type in the e-mail of your Spanish PayPal account, the amount (SELECT EUROS!) and that you are sending to a friend. Either way you will pay a fee, so either your American PayPal can pay the sending fee or your Spanish PayPal can pay the receiving fee. I made my American self pay the fee. My fee was €1.25 because I am doing bank to bank. Then click “continue”.

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 1.16.34 AM

2. After clicking “continue” this is what you get…It tells you on your US PayPal how much it will cost you in USD to send to your Spanish PayPal. Click “send money”…Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 1.18.29 AM

3. Then it confirms that you have officially sent money to yourself! Congrats! Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 1.20.43 AM

4. Log into your Spanish PayPal just to double confirm…yup…pending transaction! Please feel free to admire your own handiwork because it really wasn’t easy to set up your Spanish bank account then Spanish PayPal.Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 1.21.01 AM

5. Give yourself a pat on the back, oh and check your e-mail…don’t forget to write yourself a cute note to go along with the money you are sending yourself (think of it as a note that your mom would write and put in your lunchbox)Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 2.21.34 AM

6. Once your money arrives to your paypal, TRANSFER it to your Spanish bank account (It takes a few days for the money to arrive to paypal and then transferring money to your Spanish bank account from your Spanish paypal also takes a couple days). Withdraw & transfer to bank account! 

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 2.45.44 PM

A quick thought:

All of the individual transactions can take a while…it took a little over 24 hours to get my Spanish bank account confirmed with PayPal (which were two deposits of less than 20 cents). Then it took another 48 hours to get the money confirmed into my PayPal account THEN another 24 hours to get the money confirmed in my Spanish bank account. 

HOWEVER, if you are transferring LARGE sums of money this will definitely be the way to do it!

Hope this helps,


6 thoughts on “Turning $$$ into €€€

    1. Thanks! No, I didn’t look into Charles Schwab because I didn’t want another bank account to keep track of and I don’t want to shut down my Chase account otherwise it seems like a great idea! I think you can set up the PayPal account from wherever because you have the option to designate the country. I actually just changed my US PayPal bank account and it took one minute because I used my Chase log in. Whereas setting up my Spanish PayPal I had to wait for the whole “deposit random amount of cents into the bank”method.


  1. Okay, so I read your post again. 1.25 is not a bad fee at all! I am considering transferwise, but idk. I am going to make an american pay pal account before I leave.


    1. If you do transferwise let me know how it goes! I mean, it’s not that easy to tell the differences because there are so many factors that go into changing money over and whatnot! Suerte!


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