General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Are we ever going to stop using pennies?

Asked by girlofscience (7477 points ) July 30th, 2008

Pennies are worthless. I hate getting them as change. They take up space in my change purse and make me think I have enough nickels, dimes, and quarters to buy coffee from the coffee machine. (The coffee machine, like most vending machines, does not accept pennies!) Does anyone really want/need pennies? They don’t have nearly the value they used to – a nickel now is worth less than what a penny used to be worth. So why continue to use them? Can’t we just round everything to .05?

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24 Answers

amandaafoote's avatar

Why don’t you just get rid of your pennies for the nickels and dimes you prefer?

girlofscience's avatar

@amandaafoote: I just did that. I threw out more than 40 pennies that were in my purse. And then I posted this question.

Skyrail's avatar

Maybe one day the US economy will become strong again :D

Lovelocke's avatar

I forgot what movie or TV show it’s from, possibly Men in Black:

“We’ve got everyone’s fingerprints on file, why do you think we keep pennies in circulation?”

Lovelocke's avatar

Oh, and if we could just “round up” the value of our money indiscriminately, we wouldn’t be in recession, would we? lol. I save every penny in a coffee mug in my car (on the side it says Future Millionaire), as well as dimes and nickles. Quarters have more immediate use and are held elsewhere, but…

…whenever that coffee mug gets past the halfway full mark, I take it into a grocery store where they have a machine called Coinstar. I dump all of that change in there, it prints out a receipt that I take up to the customer service desk, and it becomes $60 or more.

I mean, that’s about every two months or so… which means loosely I’m getting $700 extra cash-money at the end of the year just from holding onto every penny. That’s like an HDTV man.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

I imagine that, eventually, pennies will be out of circulation. They really are worth next-to-nothing, and there is no real use for them. With no use, people will stop really using them, and they’ll only be collectors items.

qashqai's avatar

In Finland, unlikely many of the countries that adopted euro currency they don’t use 0,02 and 0,01 cents from the very beginning.
Prices slightly increase, but is way more comfortable.

nayeight's avatar

I hope not, I love pennies. I used to count them with my grandpa when I was little. What will little kids count when pennies are gone? Nickels? Dimes? That’s too complicated for a 4yr old…..

lapilofu's avatar

On a long enough timeline. The survival rate for pennies drops to zero.

marinelife's avatar

Please send all pennies to me. Even when they are no longer legal tender, they could sold as copper.

Indy318's avatar

I believe in Austrialia they got rid of pennies and adopted a rounding rule like the one you guys are speaking of. Of something is less than 3/5 of a nickel, it is rounded down and if it is more than 3/5, it is rounded up. So if after taxes your candy bar or whatever you buy is 62 cents, you pay only 60 but if it is 63 you lay 65. Its a slight disadvantage to the consumer but is currently the most balanced and easiest way to transition away from pennies (which I may remind you cost more than a cent to produce, maybe that’s the reason for our recession).

Lovelocke's avatar

@Marina – I think the proposal to melt down pennies for copper was brought up once before (when Copper became a relatively expensive mineral)... but the makeup of a penny has changed quite a bit, historically. They used to be 100% copper, but now the value of those coins is worth more, way more than one cent to collectors. Some are 95% copper, and some are 97.5% copper, and so on.

While I’m sure the process of separating copper from the other minerals inside it (notably Zinc) might be the same regardless of copper content, I think the overall cost of doing it, then taking the copper and manufacturing it outweighs the existing monetary value of all of the combined pennies.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Please feel free to send your pennies to me. I’m sure I can figure out what to do with them.

Randy's avatar

I throw my pennies out the car window or in the trash. I hate them. I figure the trash men and the homeless can have ‘em.

nayeight's avatar

ouch randy…...

qashqai's avatar

Be careful when throwing them out the car window, a penny going at 30–40 mph guess won’t be welcome by anyone.

Randy's avatar

Haha, I don’t throw them at people. I don’t throw them out when another vehicle is behind me either….

jonno's avatar

We don’t have a one-cent or two-cent coin in Australia anymore, the smallest is now a five-cent coin. However, the price of each item can still end in any amount of cent (it don’t have to be a multiple of 5 cents, although items listed as $15.95 are almost as common as $15.99), the rounding happens at the point of sale when all the item prices have been added together.

If something is 51 or 52 cents it becomes 50 cents, if it is 53 or 54 cents, it becomes 55 cents. So there is equal chance of the final price rounding down as there is of it rounding up, there is no “slight disadvantage to the consumer”, Indy318. And when you pay with EFTPOS you pay the exact amount to the cent, there is no rounding.

New Zealand have gone a step further, I believe, and have now removed 5-cent coins from circulation as well – all purchases are to the nearest 10 cents.

girlofscience's avatar

@jonno: Great! I’d love that to happen in the US!

Skyrail's avatar

We still have pennies but they’re different from US pennies, I’ve no idea what cents and all that stuff equal in GBP.

aisyna's avatar

That was an argument essay on the English AP exam. I am for retiring the penny

girlofscience's avatar

@aisyna: I am so glad to hear there was such an essay on the English AP exam this year!

aisyna's avatar

ya it was a good essay topic :) Actually something most kids have personal experince on so good to write about

Knotmyday's avatar

NOOOO! Pennies are wishes!!! Save the pennies!!!!!

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