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Thistles & Roses

Treat coins with respect


Pennies, nickels, and dimes don’t get much respect. Most people will not bend down to pick up a lost penny. Many won’t bend down to pick up a nickel or a dime either.

I still bend down to pick up the abandoned penny. I took a picture of one on the ground that went into my pocket. I also wondered where it came from and what was purchased that resulted in that penny becoming change, and I wondered who dropped it.

I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in an economically challenged household. That is a sophisticated way of saying that we were poor. I still have that mentality many decades later. I am no longer poor, but I am programmed to think that way.

Pennies, nickels, and dimes were much sought after back then. A quarter or a fifty cent piece represented true wealth. In those days, soft drink bottles had deposits on them so if you took them to a store you could get two cents each for them. Eight “Coke” bottles could get you sixteen cents and you could purchase another soft drink and a candy bar.

The United States mint’s 2022 annual report revealed that it costs 2.72 cents to make one penny and 10.41 cents to make a nickel. In comparison, coins like dimes, quarters, and the half-dollar cost less to produce and distribute than their face value.

We should give up the penny and the nickel if we are losing money to make them.

Today, non-profit organizations like the March of Dimes (MOD), put real dimes with an envelope window showing the dime. Some have nickels and even quarters showing.

That is a hook. Who is going to throw real money in the trash? I think many people will, and real money ends up in the landfill.

But these organizations have certainly done some studies that show that their percentage of donations go up when a person opens the envelope and putting a real dime in there results in more needed money for their cause.

I get a dime per month from MOD. I send one donation per year but I keep all of the dimes in a change jar.

Recently, I decided to sort and count the change in the jar. and I had about $6. I went to the HEB gas station and I asked the attendant if she minded getting a lot of change. Surprisingly, she welcomed it saying they were always needing coins. I got a $6 credit for my gas. A jar of change lying there doing nothing turned into a gallon of gas.

I think it is a mental thing. And it is symbolic. But if you respect the pennies, I think you will respect the dollars more.

Suze Orman, the money adviser of talk TV, advises people who are trying to learn more about their money and use it wisely. She suggests that people search the corners of their couches, side pockets in their cars, and find all the coins that can find. If memory serves, the average person finds $30.

Treating these small amounts with respect is a teaching tool. It is a way of training our subconscious that if we treat the small amounts of money, well we will manage larger amounts even better.


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