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Penny for Your Thoughts

Penny for Your Thoughts

This past weekend was the 18th anniversary of my father, Ray Geiger’s passing. He left us with a smile on his face on April 1st. A the “King of Cornography,” he couldn’t have picked a more appropriate send off. Late last week I was reminded of my dad when I read that the Canadian government announced it is joining New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden, among others, in discontinuing the penny and rounding up on purchases.

Ray Geiger, as Farmers’ Almanac editor, took on a number of issues, including several dealing with US currency. In the 1990 edition we talked about creating a dollar coin (gold and larger than the Susan B. Anthony dollar), and eliminating the dollar bill and the penny. The argument was a coin would last 20 years at a production cost of 3 cents, while a bill cost 2 6/10th to make and lasts 18 months. At the time hundreds of millions of dollars would have been saved.

Today, it costs more to make a penny than it is worth. My question is how much do you value a penny? If one is on the ground would you pick it up? Do you save pennies or toss them out? In a day where there is more plastic being used than actual coinage, does it even matter? I was supportive of our campaign years ago, and would still be happy to eliminate pennies and round up on purchases, but in a new era, how do you feel about it?

As an aside, I will be in Port au Prince, Haiti next week — my third trip since the 2010 earthquake. I hope I can return with positive news about positive change. Stay tuned.

Image by Roman Oleinik

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  • Bill L. says:

    I wish pennies were eliminated as it is an unnecessary waste of time. Also, the extra energy spent on making new pennies could be used much more usefully on something else.

    Jeff: Inflation is impossible to reverse in this country due to the way we got here in the first place. Dollar is based on Fiat model, therefore it will never deflate as new money is added in an out of control manner.

  • bruno says:

    I’m in my mid 50’s and still pick a penny up-off the ground when I see one. I notice that younger folks don’t bother. Asked one of them why and he said: “We just see it as litter” (while laughing about that). Boy have things changes since I was a kid or my own folks were young-ones!
    I also had lived down under, in OZ for a time and they have done away with the penny; it’s routine to “round up or down” when getting change. They also use coins for several other dollar amounts (I think the $1, $2, and maybe the $5). It works well and I think it would be good to do so here in the US. but plan on getting a belt, as your pockets will be sporting more wieght then you may be use to.

  • Jeff Johnson says:

    Doing away with the penny would only make it harder to reverse inflation & would cause a small but immediate mark up of up to 4% to round it off to the next nickle…

  • Caroline says:

    From a parent’s perspective, having a coin worth 1/100, is very good for teaching your child basic math.

  • Caroline says:

    I am from New Zealand, where we recently cut out the 5 cent coin (the equivalent of the nickel). Our lowest denomination is 10 cents now. The widely held opinion before we removed 5 cents, was that they were a pain to have. But now – despite assurances that they wouldn’t – it has had an effect on the economy. Prices are a little higher. Cutting out the penny may make some more room in your wallet, but it all adds up, over time.

  • Elaine says:

    They do take up alot of room in the change purse so I leave mine at the checkouts “donation” dish. In the wake of our economy woes…does every penny still count…or should we “cut” them out to save?Hmmmm

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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