This month for Member Spotlight, we meet Natalie, content analyst of The Currency Shop – a free comparison website for Overseas Money Transfers, Travel Cards and Travel Money based in Australia – who’s here with her husband (Founder of The Currency Shop) and two boys, Jack and Ben. The family works and plays at Trehaus for the three months they’ll be here, and she shares a little about the business as well as the difference between being here with kids in Singapore and in Australia.
I’m a content analyst for The Currency Shop
What’s The Currency Shop about?
We saw how bad exchange rates banks offered to clients while working in Australia and wanted to provide good advice and educate people that they didn’t have to settle for bad rates. Currency Shop is a free comparison website for Overseas Money Transfers, Travel Cards and Travel Money, where you can find the best exchange rates, fees and services in under a minute. We offer local consultation to help someone looking for the best deal on Travel Money. My husband felt compelled to start this business because people lose a lot of money just not knowing what’s out there: you can lose up to 8% of your money each time you transfer money internationally, depending on how you do it. What we created will help you find the best way to transfer your money and avoid the common hidden fees and charges. That money saved can always be put to better use!
How has being a mom changed your work and life? Did it have anything to do with why you started your own business?
I’ve had to become much more flexible in terms of my approach towards work and life! Kids force you to learn how to adjust to situations a lot quicker, and become more responsive towards other people’s needs. Having kids had nothing to do with why we started our own business.
What made you come to Singapore? What are some differences between Singapore and Australia?
My mum has a house in Singapore, I used to live here so thought it be easier to adjust, plus we were escaping the bitter cold winter in Australia.
Most obvious difference is the weather – Australia with four seasons and Singapore just hot and sunny or hot and rainy. I hate the winter in the Australia, and love the heat in Singapore, because AC is so good here and there are plenty of swimming pools around.
Food is also a big difference – loving the variety of Asian food and spices in hawker centres and drinks – I get to try fantastic Peranakan food which wasn’t a big thing when I lived here 20 years ago. Interestingly, the prices of food at grocery stores are pretty similar, but the choice of international produce is much more extensive – I mean, who knew you could buy blueberries from Mexico? Or grapes from Egypt! I miss getting good quality cheaper red meat though and a yummy salad is much more difficult to come by in Singapore.
In terms of kids, Singapore is super kid-friendly and I love that everywhere you go there’s a water park they can splash in and the toilets have kids-sized sinks so they can reach. People are really friendly, speak good English and happy to tell your child off for misbehaving, which I think is awesome because it saves you from always being the bad cop. Although can be a bad thing in certain circumstances, like when my 9yo male nephew was hanging out at the entrance of the ladies toilet and was told off for it, even though I was right there changing my son’s nappy!
Public transport is awesome here! We love double decker buses, the MRT, monorail, kids love pointing at all the public transport around us so it’s a great distraction. Melbourne is great in terms of trams and trains, but we have our own car there which is also very handy. My only complaint around transport in Singapore is the terrible taxi drivers here, when you’re unlucky enough to have someone who is either a rally race car driver who starts and stops suddenly or just a slow driver who takes you the wrong direction, but that can happen anywhere.