The time has come Meadow Lake. Prepare to put away your pennies.
This is good news for coin collectors, who can add another item to their list of things to collect. Not so good for penny-pinchers.
If you haven’t yet heard, businesses are expected to start sending pennies to financial institutions as of Feb. 4. The plan is for the copper slices of history to be melted down and turned into metals.
The penny, officially known as the one-cent piece, will still retain its value, but the government has halted production and is actually proactively trying to eliminate the penny.
Personally, I think the move makes a lot of cents, because I’ve always felt the penny did nothing but weigh down my wallet. Unfortunately, I can’t think back to the days of yonder when a handful of pennies would get you a sandwich and maybe even a carton of milk. In my lifetime, the penny has always been pretty useless.
The government is eliminating the penny due to the cost of inflation — every penny costs about one-and-a-half cents to make. So it makes sense to stop producing something which no longer holds its own value.
The federal government estimates the move will save Canadians about $11 million a year. Now that’s a fair chunk of change.
The penny is still Canada’s lowest denomination of legal tender.
Products and services will continue to be able to be priced down to the cent, and debit and credit payments will still be to the cent.
The main change affecting consumers is that cash transactions after Feb. 4 will be rounded up or down depending on the amount of cents as per Government of Canada regulations. Debit and credit transactions will not be affected.
For me, the rounding up or down is the one aspect of the change I’m not thrilled about. Naturally, as a writer, I like reading and writing, and dread anything remotely related to numbers or math. So the fact that I will have to round numbers more often when purchasing things, albeit by a maximum of three digits, is not something I will wholeheartedly embrace. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
To me, what’s most interesting is the fact that the Canadian Mint has stamped approximately 35 billion pennies over the last one hundred years. If those were all still in circulation, that’s more than a thousand pennies per Canadian. One can only wonder the many stories, memories, and purchases inexorably connected to the fine piece of copper we know as the penny.
What are your thoughts on the elimination of the penny? Are you planning to keep yours or will you take them to the nearest bank to reap your reward?
I’d love to hear your two cents. Email me at email@example.com.