10 Countries Where You Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Two toy soldiers fighting over dollar bills -- a fun metaphor for purchasing power and money valuation

Two toy soldiers fighting over dollar bills — a fun metaphor for purchasing power and money valuation | iStock.com/gonzalo_harogonzalo_haro

We all want more bang for our buck. Almost everyone has a budget or some kind of restraint on their spending. This means we have to make decisions about how we allocate our money. That’s because we all have limited purchasing power, and we can’t get everything we want. But sometimes, we can find a deal or get an incredible bargain. We find ways to increase our money’s power or to increase our purchasing power.

On a global scale, this plays out in various ways. Currencies are bought and sold, and economic factors control their relative worth. Some countries see their currencies drop dramatically in value, like Venezuela. Others are worth far more, for a number of reasons. What’s important to remember is that money from some countries has more value than others.

So, which currencies do you want to have in your portfolio? And which are hardly worth the paper they’re printed on? A new brief and infographic from the U.K.’s Lottoland spelled it all out.

Lottoland looked at the purchasing power of different currencies in their respective countries and the related amount of goods or services that you can get in exchange. As the infographic says, the rankings “demonstrate the purchasing power of each country, which shows the amount of goods and services which can be bought relative to the average wage of that area, and compared to a base level taken from New York City.”

Essentially, the rankings are based on your ability to get more with less. Lottoland breaks down each continent by country and has final lists of countries with the highest and lowest purchasing power. Let’s take a look at the top 10 countries that have the highest purchasing power.

10. United States

An American soccer fan, draped in a flag

An American soccer fan, draped in a flag | Scott Olson/Getty Images

In the U.S., we assume everything, everywhere, is dollar-centric. And to some extent, that’s true. A lot of purchasing power calculations are based on the value of the U.S. dollar. Even so, our crisp George Washingtons aren’t the most valuable currency in all the land. The U.S. dollar actually lands at No. 10 on Lottoland’s list.

9. Oman

A local man looks out over Muscat harbor in Oman

A local man looks out over Muscat Harbor in Oman | Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The Middle East is a somewhat confounding region. It’s long been marred by violence and unrest, with many people living in poverty. Yet, it’s also one of the richest regions on the planet — thanks to an abundance of natural resources like oil. As a result, currencies among the area’s different countries carry a lot of weight. According to Lottoland, Oman’s Omani rial has the ninth-highest purchasing power in the world.

8. Qatar

A ferry in Qatar

A ferry in Qatar | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Staying in the Middle East, Qatar ranks at No. 8 on the list. Qatar is a small peninsula that juts out into the Persian Gulf with Saudi Arabia bordering to the south. Like its neighbors, it’s been a beneficiary of the region’s abundance of natural resources. Qatar’s Qatari rial is roughly equal to a quarter in the U.S., but has a higher purchasing power.

7. Denmark

Cyclists rally around Copenhagen, Denmark

Cyclists rally around Copenhagen, Denmark | Visit Copenhagen via Facebook

From the Middle East to northern Europe, Denmark’s Danish krone lands at the seventh spot. Denmark is one of a handful of countries in the European Union that does not use the euro; that is, it’s not in the “eurozone.” But the krone is pegged to the euro to determine its relative worth. Currently, it has a fairly high value.

6. Germany

A cyclist in Berlin, Germany

A cyclist in Berlin, Germany | iStock.com

Unlike Denmark, Germany is in the eurozone. That means it’s a member of the European Union and uses the euro as its primary currency. The euro, in Germany, has a higher relative value than in many other countries, according to Lottoland’s calculations.

5. Australia

Australian Clint Robinson and Nathan Baggaley congratulate each other

Australian Clint Robinson and Nathan Baggaley congratulate each other | Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

Can you name Australia’s currency off the top of your head? It’s the dollar — the Australian dollar. And according to Lottoland’s research, the dollar down under is worth more than the domestic dollar in the States. As of early 2017, one Australian dollar is worth roughly $0.75 in the U.S.

4. Luxembourg

A view of downtown Luxembourg City

A view of downtown Luxembourg City | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Luxembourg is a tiny European country that is bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. Though many people may have never heard of it, Luxembourg tends to play an important role in the financial world, along with being known for its magnificent medieval architecture. When it comes to currency, Luxembourg, like its neighbors, uses the euro.

3. Belize

Ruins in Belize

Ruins in Belize | iStock.com

Can you “Belize” that the Belize dollar has the third-highest purchasing power in the world? Well, according to Lottoland, it does. It likely has a lot to do with the small Central American country’s low cost of living, allowing for many goods and services to be purchased relatively cheaply. For comparison, as of early 2017, one Belize dollar is worth around $0.50.

2. Switzerland

A man throws a Swiss flag as alphorn players perform

A man throws a Swiss flag as alphorn players perform | Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

As far as Europe goes, your purchasing power doesn’t get any higher than in Switzerland. The Swiss use the Swiss franc and is not a member of the European Union. Interestingly enough, the franc and U.S. dollar are roughly equal in value as of early 2017.

1. Saudi Arabia

Saudi women walk at a shopping mall in the Saudi capital of Riyadh

Saudi women walk at a shopping mall in the Saudi capital of Riyadh | Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

You’ll get more bang for your buck with the Saudi riyal than with any other currency in the world. Saudi Arabia’s a very wealthy country, thanks to its large reserves of natural resources, and that wealth goes a long way. Outside of the major cities, the cost of living is relatively low, allowing you to get more for your money.

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