A Penny For Your Thoughts

January 20, 2013 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

My mother tried to give my two year old great-nephew a five dollar bill the other day.(He’s mostly potty-trained and this was his reward).

He wouldn’t take it. As far as he was concerned, paper money is not real money. He wanted change. He wanted coin.

He wanted quarters, loonies and toonies. (Yes, Canadian money has strange names). He wanted something heavy, bright and tangible.


He wanted something that would make a clink when he put it in his piggy bank.

money, money, money

A few evenings ago I rolled up all my change (pennies, nickels, dimes) and went to the bank to exchange it all for bills. Every evening I empty my pockets and purse of anything that is below a quarter and throw it into an old tea canister. My purse gets tooo heavy otherwise. (Though I suppose I could carry less books).

There it sits until I feel ready to roll it or until I feel poor.

I hadn’t rolled my change for about a year but this was not a year’s worth of change. My youngest nephew was here last Spring and I gave him all my change then and started over again. The last time I rolled coins, I had about seven dollars. This time, I had fifteen dollars rolled and three dollars (approximately) left in my change container when I was done.


It isn’t a lot of money but when I feel poor (or am temporarily poor) it is enough for a week’s worth of groceries or the Saturday paper and some treats or a movie on cheap night.

When I was small my grandmother (I was her favourite) use to save up all her change to give to me. This was my mother’s mother. I didn’t feel too guilty as my siblings also had relatives that spoiled them. (And I would share my ill gotten candy sometimes). My grandmother would empty her small, red change purse into my eager little hands and I would hurry off to buy penny candy (lots and lots of penny candy). I would buy licorice shoe laces, chocolate caramels, blue whales, and red hot lips. This was back when a piece of candy cost a penny and one could choose what one wanted, piece by piece. Now, you seldom see individual candies displayed for sale; everyone is so worried about germs and contamination.

Occasionally, the old men who played horseshoes in the empty lot by the bank would give me quarters because I was cute and polite. I minded my manners and ran their errands and listened to their ramblings and watched them throw horseshoes. When I was young it seemed to me that you were rich if you had a pocket full of change to dole out at your leisure.

This use to cost me a penny; to recreate the event I spent about ten dollars!

What do you think?

Is paper money real money?
What about plastic (debit or credit) cards; are they real money?
Does having lots and lots of change make you fill rich?
Do you love the sound of coins jingling in your pocket?
Do you want to hoard it all up so that you can dive in it like Uncle Scrooge did?

Very soon, Canada will be getting rid of its pennies. There will be no more pennies. How long before the penny disappears?

The penny will no longer be circulated in Canada as of Feb. 4, 2013.

After Feb. 4, cash transactions will have to be rounded to the nearest 5¢ increment, but electronic transactions will still be calculated down to the individual cent. So you may save money by using cash instead of plastic. Well, plastic cards that is. Our bills are also changing (to a type of plastic); the hundred, fifty and twenty dollar bills are already in transition.

The Royal Canadian Mint actually stopped producing pennies in May 2012 and as of February 4, 2013 will no longer distribute pennies. Consumers will still be able to use pennies for transactions indefinitely.When pennies aren’t available then transactions are to be rounded to the nearest five-cent increment “in a fair and transparent manner.” Which means, I guess, that if your total is below the three cent mark (ninety-two cents) you will pay no extra but will save those two cents and if it is above you will pay a nickel, that is, will be charged a few cents more. Does anyone else find this as confusing as I do?

About 35 billion pennies have been minted in Canada since 1908. The modern Canadian penny has a design of two maple leaves on a twig. The maple-leaf design is by G.E. Kruger Gray and was first used in 1937. The composition of the current penny is 94% steel, 1.5% nickel, and 4.5% copper plating or copper-plated zinc and costs 1.6 cents to produce.

I needed purple. There was no purple. I use to use three different colours in my braided laces.

Has the penny’s time finally come to an end?

What use to cost a penny now costs a nickel or more. Bins of Penny candy are now bins of nickel candy (if you can find them at all). In fact, I can not think of anything that you can buy with just one penny nowadays. You use to be able to buy penny nails. We use to play marbles for a penny a point. You use to be able to buy a marble for a penny (if you could find a store that sold them individually)! I use to play gin rummy for a penny a point. I was a shark!

They say nobody uses cash anymore; the majority of consumer transactions happen electronically.

Businesses will be returning pennies to the financial institutions so they can be sent back to the Mint to be melted down and their metal content recycled. Melting pennies down yourself is frowned upon. Consumers will be able to redeem their pennies at financial institutions indefinitely. In a hundred years time will little old ladies and gentlemen be emptying their piggy banks and toddling off to the bank with their pennies?

Who needs pennies (Or nickels, or dimes, or quarters) anymore?

I do! I need to collect as much change as Uncle Scrooge so that I can swim around in it (just once – can you imagine the bruises).

A penny for your thoughts!


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