Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced March 29 that the penny would be phased out of circulation by fall.
The decision has been met with an array of reactions, both negative and positive. Some seem to be annoyed at the devaluing of our currency, some raise the question “what about American pennies in circulation? Will they still have a value?” Others still are pleased with the decision to phase out a coin that is essentially a burden and annoyance.
You can find hundreds of differing opinions online, but allow me for a moment, to throw in my two cents (pun intended).
The decision makes sense from an economical standpoint, as the penny costs 1.5 cents to make, and costs the government at least $130 million annually to keep in circulation.
Looking at the big picture, and economical outcomes is well and good, but what is likely the concern of the masses, is the result on their day-to-day spending.
For example, it’s not a secret that Canadians love their Tim Hortons coffee in the morning, and mid-morning, and afternoon, etc. With the new rounding system that will be implemented, your $1.62 coffee will now cost you only $1.60.
The system will round up and down to the nearest five-cent increment, so in some cases you’re paying a little more, and in some others, a little less.
The way I see it, I’m happy to be paying a little extra if it means I’ll have less change jingling around in my pocket, or cup holder in my car.
I can’t really remember the last time I had a use for a penny, other than finding one on the ground and believing that it might improve my luck for the day. How often does anyone pay with exact change any more? Or pay with something other than plastic for that matter.
I relate back to Tim Hortons again, as this is probably one of the few places that I still pay in cash as opposed to with my debit card. If I luckily discover a loonie and a few quarters lying around, or on a really good day a whole toonie, then I’ll treat myself to a Tim’s coffee. Now, during the transaction I don’t think I’ve ever thought, “Oh man I wish I’d brought in those three pennies so that I could get exactly 30 cents change.” When I do get loose pennies in my change I just throw them in the donation boxes any way, because a) who wants to carry them around, and b) I like to feel charitable now and again.
The same can be said for when at a bar. Have you ever been charged $5.28 for a beer at a bar? No, because the drinks are generally in even, one dollar or half dollar increments. Doesn’t it seem strange that these drinks would be so conveniently priced at such nice even numbers? Have you ever wished you had some extra pennies to cover the price of a drink?
What needs to be remembered is that the penny has not been voided, it’s simply being phased out; the little copper colored coins are still worth one cent apiece, and if you have 25 of them, they’re still worth the same thing as a quarter.
If anything this will prompt a lot of people to discover that they’re a few dollars richer than they had first thought. People will rush to empty out their piggybanks, car ashtrays, in between the couch cushions to find they actually had a few bucks more lying around than was originally believed.
I say gather them all up, roll them and have them converted into “real currency”, then take that money and buy something completely wacky and out of the ordinary that you can hold on to. That way when the penny is no longer tangible, you’ll still have that item to look back on as a reminder of the little coin that is no more.
That’s just my two cents though, or with the new rounding system that makes my opinion worth…?