Canada has stopped minting and distributing pennies. The cost of producing pennies is too high and their usefulness is too low.

Sound familiar?

Some want the U.S. to do the same. Should the U.S. retire the penny?





The Royal Canadian Mint explains the changes:

The estimated savings for taxpayers from phasing out the penny is $11 million a year.
The cent will remain Canada's smallest unit for pricing goods and services.  This will have no impact on payments made by cheque or electronic transactions—only cash transactions will be affected.  Moreover, pennies can still be used in cash transactions indefinitely with businesses that choose to accept them.

If the U.S. were to follow, we would likely see a similar statement.

A group in favor of eliminating the penny in the U.S., Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny, says it's time to lower costs:

According to the U.S. Mint’s 2011 annual report, the current cost of a penny is 2.4 cents per coin. With nearly 5 billion pennies minted in 2011, the U.S. spent almost $120 million to produce less than $50 million of circulating currency.

Some penny hoarders are hoping for the elimination of the U.S. penny for an entirely different reason.  They want to melt old coins for their copper value.  Current law makes it illegal, but that could change, then penny hoarders would cash-in.

I think it's time to stop minting the penny.  Some changes in the way we use the penny are already happening.  Think of "take a penny/leave a penny" collections.

Over the weekend I agreed to be short-changed a few cents at a Grand Rapids business.  The cashier didn't have any pennies and asked if it was OK.  We could expect this to become a regular occurrence if the U.S. retires the penny.

Partly to save money and partly for convenience, the time to retire the penny in the U.S. may be near.  If that day comes, prepare for inflation to effect the cost of thoughts and be sure to hold onto a few leftover pennies for pony rides at Meijer.