Money-Ariary, FMG, $$$ - Euros- GBP....etc

Money Matters is certainly its own subject so will list this subject as a separate help group.

How to use the local currency. Ex pats have a real challenge in figuring out the math when it comes to their currency and the Malagasy currency. 
First off go to this site for up to date currency exchange.---

Today's date is 11/24/2016 so the USA $$$ is 3300 and the Euro is 3500  British Pound- 4100
other currencies listed as well.

The inflation rate has almost tripled since I got here some 15 years ago. However the IMF has looked into their crystal ball to proclaim that the Ariary will be stable in the first half of 2017.

Thank you for your thoughts and advise.

If you are a vazaha and a young green bud tourist, NGO or missionary just off the boat,  to the country or have just become a hermit  for the first 7 or more years then you will be talking in the terms of Ariary which is the official currency of Madagascar.   
The rest of this country of 25 million people still use and think in Franc Malagasy- FMG.
I always think in FMG and sometimes I get confused by something that seems so cheap I ask is this FMG?

Not to worry the Malagasy understand money and know Ariary and FMG and when they talk to a Vazaha they will speak mostly in Ariary which if you accept this you will be sure to be fleeced of your money. Considering that Malagasy speak to Malagasy or residents such as myself in FMG and we get the better price as a local does.  It is also easier to bargain in FMG than Ariary.

The point being is that if you care how your money is being used and wanting to save your money, then it is better to speak in FMG, not ariary. Even on most of the bills the large print is in Ariary and the small print will be FMG and the FMG is multiplied by 5.
Example 1,000 Ariary = 5,000 FMG

For Street markets and local restaurants and taxis, mom and pop local hotels you will use FMG

If you go to Vazaha hotels and Bars/restaurants  you will use Ariary--- and more expensive. The Food Supermarkets are higher priced for sure, and there are the Indian and Chinese merchants that cater to both the vasaha and upper middle class Malagasy will list their prices both in Ariary and FMG as well as hotels and restaurants.   A trick I have learn over time from being confused by the Ariary money listed and the merchant sees  I am figuring the price into FMG will convert the numbers for me into FMG. They know I am a local ( resident) and now the price become less, even when I have not started the process of bargaining. And yes the price goes even lower when we talk---this is supposed to be fun and building a relationship with the merchant that the Ex pat has little use for since the Ex pat is used to seeing prices listed.   Get over it, you are in Madagascar not in your home country--it is what it is!!!

Now if you go to a hotel that lists its prices in Euros, well, you should really just bend over. Why?  Labor costs here are about the cheapest on earth, plus local materials are used, and really do you see what you get- a thin mattress and you pay in Euros. and the person taking your money has a straight face ----sucker or a sucker born every minute. And  these Stars given are mostly as a decoration and don't relate to anything you have come to relate to,  and service is unschooled to the standards you are used to and has its own flavor that I have come to prefer and understand---- personally .
As for most things in Madagascar especially hotel rooms is you need to negotiate prices and I have gotten as much as 75% off room rates, usually for a week or more. But I almost always get a discount and in some cases a gift when I leave.
Some places will have a trip advisor  tag and the smart traveler already knows that is a gamed system and the clue is really!!! here in Madagascar.  Just google law suit and trip Advisor practices.

Madagascar is 90% cash Society and better to pay in cash rather than Credit Card- just a friendly warning.

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