Find a penny and pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck.  I repeat this little rhyme whenever I see a penny on the sidewalk and pick it up.  I’m not sure about the luck, but I do know it’s getting a little harder to stoop down to pick them up.  Is it worth it?

Pennies can be a nuisance – you always get some in change – and they can weigh a ton if you don’t empty out your wallet regularly.  A good idea from US finance columnist Liz Weston is to always carry four pennies with you so you never get them in change.

There have been repeated talks about getting rid of the penny and using the nickel as our smallest coin.  In fact, New Zealand and Australia have already eliminated their one-cent coins.

Penny Facts

  • From 1982 to 1996 the coin was twelve sided to help the visually impaired identify it.  They now are produced with a round smooth edge.
  • The Royal Canadian Mint produces about 816 million pennies per year because there continues to be a demand.  Also they simply disappear.  Canadians hoard them, or just throw them away.
  • It is estimated that it costs 1.8 cents to produce a one-cent coin.
  • The average coin last for 25 years of regular use.
  • They are not copper pennies anymore.  Pennies are actually made of 94% steel, 1.5% nickel and 4.5% copper plating.
  • A 2007 survey shows that only 37% of Canadians use and would miss them, 10% toss them and 41% want to eliminate them.

Penny Trivia

  • If you stretched pennies out for one mile, you would have $844.80.
  • A convenience store glued down pennies to the floor for the employees’ enjoyment as they watched their customers’ attempts to pick the money up.
  • A US study found that using a penny increases the amount of time store clerks spend with their customers by approximately 3 seconds each.  No wonder I spend so much time in line!
  • I was surprised to learn that merchants are not required by law to give you change (any change) but they do so because it’s good store policy.  In fact merchants can refuse to take payment of more than 25 pennies at one time, and they can lawfully refuse to take pennies for a $5 purchase (bad PR is another issue).

Other Uses For Pennies

  • Scratching lottery tickets.
  • Flipping a coin.
  • Wishing well sacrifice.
  • Wear in a shoe for luck, or add to penny loafers (if they come back in style).
  • Increase bloom time of cut flowers by adding a penny to the water in your vase.  However, you need an old copper penny for this trick.

Will the days of .99 cent pricing eventually disappear?  Opponents say that with the tax (GST, PST, HST) consumers will get ripped off because stores will always round up.  Fans like to accumulate them in jars or put them in the charity fundraiser bins at the checkouts.

Do you support the idea of getting rid of pennies?


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