What’s Next Needs to be Done Now

Today, the price of taking my wife to Tim Horton’s just got more expensive.  A medium black coffee and a small black coffee comes to $2.99.  With the penny being dropped from us and rounding up or truncating, it will now cost me $3.00 cash money.  A penny more today and seven cents if the dog gets his way and we go for a walk and a coffee every day.

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By itself, this shouldn’t put too big a hit on the family fortune.  And, if it becomes too big a burden, I could always pay by debit or gift card where the costs are still calculated to the penny.  Looking into the future, I can see our descendents laughing at all of the discussion and reporting around the demise of the penny.  After all, they’ll be using their Smart Phones or something even more sophisticated for all their transactions.  For today, it’s big news and certainly was the lead item on the 6 o’clock news.

What about that penny?  To be honest, in the car, I have a change pouch where I put my $1 and $2 coins and another for the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies.  You’d think that with this organization, I’d be able to pay the $2.99 by taking coins from both pouches.  That doesn’t happen though.  I’ll take a $1 and a $2 coin from one pouch, pay for the coffee and then put the penny change into the second pouch.  There it will sit until it gets full.

At that point, it will get taken into the house where it gets dumped into a big container which also holds my tie clips and extra watches.  When that container gets to the point where I can’t close the lid, I’ll grudgingly take the time to separate the coins from the other things and give it to my daughter to roll and put into her bank account.  As she’s doing this, I’ll talk about the good ol’ days when we double counted and then rolled coins with paper rollers.  None of those clear plastic thingies that have the locks already pre-punched in them.  Kids these days have it so easy.

With the retirement of the humble penny which reportedly costs the government $0.016 to produce, my pouches might go a little longer before they need rolling.  My daughter is in for a raise as she’ll be rolling nickels instead of pennies.

What of the nickel though?  How long will it be around?

I’m sure that one of the lessons that was going on in so many Canadian classrooms today was the life skills needed to make and receive change given the new rules.  I recall when it was announced that the penny would be going away – I thought “this is chump change.  I don’t find the nickel any more useful in my life.”  Why don’t they get rid of it at the same time?  As I was drinking my more expensive coffee this morning, I read this story. Penny’s passé, nickel’s next: MP.

It makes complete sense to me.  The nickel is only marginally more useful than a penny.  I must admit that I didn’t see the logic that’s in the private member’s bill.  Lose the nickel AND the quarter and keep the dime, make a 20 cent piece, and re-introduce a fifty cent piece.  That makes the rounding a lot more logical.  And, you won’t have to teach the population a second set of rounding lessons.  After all, we handle everything well with the metric system and it’s all based on tens.

It would just be nice to know how much it costs to make a nickel.

That’s why it’s such a puzzle to me that today it’s just the penny.  Why not move to where we’re going to end up anyway?  Or will we?  Maybe this is the change that we all need to make transactions via Smart Phone the norm.  Wouldn’t it be nice if banks, credit unions, and caisse populaires subsidized our phones in the name of better and more accurate finances?  We’re going to end up there eventually.

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