View Full Version : Head or tails...it's just a penny

05-25-2008, 08:22 PM
So, I was at the grocery store the other day. I use the self-check out line. I used cash in the machine, and it spits out my change.

I dig through the coin tray, pulling out the nickels, dimes and quarters. I leave the pennies in the tray for the next customer.

At the end of the day, when emptying my pockets, I take the pennies out and toss them in the trash.

Question: Do you keep, and use pennies?

If you see a penny on the ground do you pick it up? Or, do you only stoop down to pick up nickels or better?

Do you think it's time we got rid of the penny?

A. Hamilton
05-25-2008, 08:28 PM
you throw them in the trash? I know I've heard of others doing this, I guess I'm just frugal-but it's still money until they do away with them.
I wonder how many dollars' worth are trashed.
yes, I keep and use pennies.

05-25-2008, 08:44 PM
I've actually heard that the copper in a penny is worth more than a penny, and that the gov't has already made it a felony to sell them for copper recycling.


NPR’s Marketplace does the math for Todd Kraemer’s four-ton hoard of pennies (about 1.1 million of them, or $11,000 at face value):
Pennies before 1982 are 95 percent copper. Based on the current price, the copper in a pre-’82 penny is worth about 2 cents. So Kraemer figures his penny stash is really worth about $24,0000.
In 2006, The Financial Times suggested that “melting coins could start making cents.” But Tyler Cowen, who blogs at Marginal Revolution, disagreed with an economic argument that boiled down to “hold on to those pennies and wait.”
Those with less of a handle on the fine print can follow Mr. Cowen’s advice for another reason: Melting down those coins for their metal content is against the law. So as long as pennies remain legal tender, better keep your pocket change away from criminally minded smelters, or risk 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-25-2008, 09:00 PM
I ran across this a long, long time ago and it touched me so much (as I had a father who saved pennies and gave them to me) that I have kept it. I tried to find a link to it on the 'net, but there was none (at least not through Google) and I think the message is important.


by Jan Philpot

[Copyright 2000 JanPhilpot. This first appeared in the
author's "Sunday Afternoon Rocking" series.)

In careful columns on a farm log, she recorded the egg money.
For one accustomed to today's figures, the pitifully small sums
seem astounding. They are counted not in dollars but in pennies.
Her place in life, and I doubt she really would have wanted it
otherwise, was to carve out a sanctuary for a family on a farm
deep in the hills of Tennessee. Egg money was her ticket to
those dreams every mother clasps tight in her heart and wants to
make possible for her children. Perhaps the dreams were small
ones by today's standards, but in that time huge boulders stood
in the path of them, and penny at a time, with every sale of
eggs, she came one step closer to doing the special things she
wanted to do for her children. Egg money bought a strand of
pearls for each of her two eldest daughters on their sixteenth
birthdays. Egg money provided a class ring and a school sweater
for her only son. Time and again, my aunts have shown me some
small thing that would have been considered a luxury as they
grew up, and provided the simple explanation, "Mama bought it
with her egg money."

Pennies. When I was a child, Christmas might not have meant the
bountiful season of giving it does now, but we were far from
the days when Mama counted the pennies of the egg money. Pa, a
true family patriarch, did not let us forget those days had
been, nor that, as far as he was concerned, they were still in
existence. Every Christmas, as sure as the orange cake and the
coconut cake, one thing could be counted upon. Invariably
beneath the tree was one white tissue-wrapped gift for myself
and my only cousin. Tied with curling ribbon, it looked
suspiciously like the jar it was, and picking it up one
discovered it was quite heavy for its size. My cousin and I
would smile and roll knowing eyes. This was the annual gift from
Pa, and we would giggle and say, "Wonder what this is?"

Pennies. Five hundred pennies had been dropped into a jar for
each of us throughout the year. Each year, as Pa went about his
daily routine, receiving change for a hair cut, a jar of coffee,
he dropped in the pennies. It was his only gift to us, and yet
it was probably the most meaningful Christmas gift I have ever
received. I have forgotten most of the things unwrapped through
the years, but I never forgot the pennies, and long after the
pennies were no longer under the tree I dwelt on the meaning of
them. I have often thought how special it was that our
grandfather marked his thoughts of us throughout the year in
pennies, and that each of us could be assured that at least five
hundred times we had been in his mind. I have also, as I have
grown older, realized his gift was a reflection of his times,
and that he had shown us a glimpse of a world we would be wise
to take note of. One Christmas the annual tissue-wrapped jar of
pennies was no longer there.

Pennies. I grew older and at my father's death, much belonging
to my family and grandfather passed into my hands. Those items
were of little material value. The value lay in the window that
suddenly became much clearer, and I looked into a past and
learned a lesson no less important today than it was at the turn
of the 20th century when my grandfather grew into manhood. Time
and again in tattered leather purses, tucked away in a trunk, in
a box, between the pages of a farm journal, I found tiny
packages wrapped carefully in a scrap of paper. Peeling the
crumbling paper I would find a penny, and on the paper carefully
recorded I would find the date and place the penny had been
found. Pennies, I realized, were a theme of my family's life. If
thousands of dollars were beyond comprehension, hundreds a
source of wonder, a dollar to be the wage of a man for two days
of hard work on a farm -- pennies were what built dollars. I can
remember scoffing at pennies as a child, and seeing the lowered
eyebrows of my parents who chastised, "A hundred of them make a
dollar." Pennies.

Throughout the week I see pennies. They seem so unimportant to
so many people. I hear them in stores, "Just keep the pennies.
Don't want to mess with them." I see a penny lying on a sidewalk
and people passing by without noticing. I point one out to a
friend I am walking with and she smiles but keeps walking. I
remember a jar of pennies and go back to pick it up. I wonder
what many children of today would think if given a jar of five
hundred pennies for Christmas. And I wonder if, given such a
strange gift it might be one they would remember, think about
again and again. I wonder if it would cause them to consider the
value of the penny, a hundred of which make a dollar. And I
wonder if one day they would think how special it was that
someone dear marked thoughts of them throughout the year in
pennies, and that each could be assured that at least five
hundred times they had been on someone's mind.


One of my dearest friends lost her 24 year old son to diabetes three years ago. Every time she sees a penny lying on the ground, she says it's from Eric, leaving her a message... just saying 'Hi, Mom!'

And then there are these charities:

Pennies for Patients (http://www.schoolandyouth.org/school/Controller?action=loadContent&itemid=91060)

Youngster Collects a Million Pennies for School (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24558649/)

Pennies for Peace (http://www.penniesforpeace.org/home.html)

Yeah... pennies are a pain. They cost more to make than they're worth. But do I think they're important?

Yeah. I do.

Mr Flibble
05-25-2008, 09:03 PM
Throw them in the trash!

I think that's technically an offence here ( defacing the Queen is naughty). I know that defacing/ wrecking a note is.

But I keep all my shrapnel, and put it in a pot. When the pot is full, I pour it into the special machine at the supermarket which adds it all up. A percentage goes to charity, the rest you get as a voucher to go towards your shopping. There's normally at least 20 when that pot gets full. ( and it's not even that big!) I'm not so rich I can afford to pass up 20 quid off the food bill.

05-25-2008, 09:16 PM
Throwing them out seems a terrible waste. I put them in the next tip or charity box I see. A few pennies are still of use to people even when they are just a bother to me. A lifetime worth of discarded pennies would probably be a useful donation to charity.

05-25-2008, 09:23 PM
I think we should get rid of the pennies. Especially with how the dollars are doing now -- do you know it costs more than a penny to make a penny? :)

Still, throw them away? I tend not to accept pennies in change when I go shopping, and I try to spend them when I get them in my pocket. But throw them away? I usually just toss it in the pile, and over the years these pennies do add up. Last time I cashed in my coins I got $240+ back.

05-25-2008, 09:47 PM
See a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck....that was the old adage I was raised on.

Another is a penny saved, a penny earned.

Or one of my grandfather's sayings - if you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.

I pick up pennies and I save pennies. Throwing away pennies is just.....I'm at a loss for words....wasteful....ridiciculous.....:Headbang:

I save the pennies. I have all my life, first in a cute little Huckleberry Hound bank and now we toss pennies (and other small change) into a former water bottle, the kind you put on an office water cooler. A few weeks ago, we took the accumulation of a few months, ran the coins through a Coin Star machine and got $80.

Over time, tossing away pennies, you've thrown away a small fortune.

I will still dig out pennies to round off the change so I don't get 98 cents in change every time.

Throwing away pennies....:cry:

05-25-2008, 09:51 PM
Just sayin'... didn't The West Wing have a minor storyline about the Senate voting for abolition of the practically useless penny... and the state that stubbornly voted against getting rid of the 1 coin was Kentucky, because this would diss their homeboy Abe Lincoln.


05-25-2008, 09:52 PM
We got rid of them in New Zealand and it worked out fine. It does save some trouble.

Matera the Mad
05-26-2008, 02:06 AM
A hundred pennies is still a dollar.

They took most of the copper out a long time ago (by some people's time measure ;) ), it's just a thin surface.

What would we do with half-cent regional sales taxes without pennies to round up to! LOL

05-26-2008, 02:21 AM
I toss them...and I enjoy it, too. The common argument against getting rid of them is that the retailers will raise the prices up to the nearest nickel rather than down. You know what? I don't care. Let them. It's not like they need a reason to raise prices anyway. I hate the look, smell, weight, and valuelessness of pennies, and would be glad to see them go.

Heh, I didn't know I hated pennies quite so much until right now. Sorry, pennies. ::shines them::

05-26-2008, 02:47 AM
How rounding occurs can be set by law. In NZ prices are still given to the cent and can be paid that way by card, for cash the bill at the check out is rounded upfrom 5 and down from 4.

05-26-2008, 06:12 AM
OFG's story reminded me of a friend's story. She noticed that a street beggar, one who we both passed every day on our way to school, carefully separated all of the pennies from the other change as it came in. When she asked why he was doing this, he told her, "I give all the pennies to charity."

It's thought-provoking that this homeless man, who had so little himself, was willing to give to charity some of his income, no matter how small.

Personally, if there's a "give-a-penny" tray or a box for charity at the counter, everything smaller than a quarter (and sometimes the larger change) goes into it. If not, it goes into my wallet, to be used on my next purchase, or to go into the next charity box I see.

05-26-2008, 06:23 AM
I can't imagine just throwing them away. I use them, I give them to my son, I put them in the little cup next to the cash registers at stores, I throw them on the sidewalks sometimes so other people can pick them up for luck, I happen to like pennies. :)

05-26-2008, 06:37 AM
I pick them up. In the parking lot, wherever.

The only time I ever throw spare change in the garbage is when I find a coin all yucked up because it's been in some dingy place in my house for years and I don't want to touch it unless I'm wearing gloves. Then I feel it's justified. :)

On the other hand, I don't use cash anymore, so I hardly get any change. But occasionally I've got to use it, and I save my coins. When I was little my dad always let me have some portion of his collected spare change if I sorted and rolled the coins, so for me, change is always accompanied by this nostalgic feeling of "Ohh! Free money!"

05-26-2008, 05:40 PM
I save all change and put it in my daughter's piggy bank. Pretty much the only cash I use is for small purchases at work, such as a coffee. I'm guessing she has at least $200 in change in there.

When I waited tables, I could buy Christmas presents for everyone with the leftover change from every shift. Pennies included, which people left quite a bit as part of the tip.

05-26-2008, 06:33 PM
So, I was at the grocery store the other day. I use the self-check out line. I used cash in the machine, and it spits out my change.

I dig through the coin tray, pulling out the nickels, dimes and quarters. I leave the pennies in the tray for the next customer.

At the end of the day, when emptying my pockets, I take the pennies out and toss them in the trash.

Question: Do you keep, and use pennies?

If you see a penny on the ground do you pick it up? Or, do you only stoop down to pick up nickels or better?

Do you think it's time we got rid of the penny?

Cooper prices have sky rocketted... there are some houses in my area where thieves have gone and taken the pipes out of houses while the owner's were out. Sounds unreal but it's true.

The penny is probably the only coin that is worth more for it's metal than for it's monitary measure..

Save you pennies... I always save mine..

05-26-2008, 07:39 PM
I always pick them up now. After my granny died in December, a friend of mine told me a story. We were out to lunch, and she saw a penny on the ground. She picked it up and said, "A penny from heaven. My mom must be thinking about me."

She said it came from an Ann Landers or that type of column that when you find a penny, pick it up because someone in heaven is thinking about you. It's kind of funny now because when I'm down in the dumps or whatever, I usually find a penny and know that my granny is thinking about me.

I would never throw them away. They do add up.

05-26-2008, 07:50 PM
All of my pennies go into a large flask in my lab. The label - BAIL FUND.

05-26-2008, 08:21 PM
I keep my pennies, roll them up and cash them in for bigger money.

05-27-2008, 12:08 AM
You can always send them to me. My kids and I always bend for pennies. Always.

Now lets get back to what your title really says...

Christine N.
05-27-2008, 12:29 AM
I always keep my pennies. THey go either in the big water cooler jug or I give them to my son for his piggy bank. They do add up while you're not looking.

Now think about how much money you've literally thrown in the trash over the years...

05-27-2008, 12:49 AM
I did actually throw my pennies (technically cents) away in high school because I hated having so much change clinking around in my pocket.

Later, I learned to deposit the stuff in a makeshift change receptacle. Whenever it fills up, I take it to my credit union and dump it in the fee-free change machine.

05-27-2008, 01:22 AM
Pennies are irritating. I wish the government would get rid of them so that all of our coins that are worth <$1 would be silver. It's odd to me that one coin out of all of the other coins is copper. I don't mind a mix of color, but the penny is definitely the oddball out.