People have very little respect for the cent*.
(*I learned recently that the proper name for the penny is actually the “cent” according to the U.S. Government. Pennies don’t say “penny” anywhere on them, they say “one cent.” It’s not really a penny, it’s a cent.)
Whatever you call them, people don’t show them much love these days.
I’ve spent most of my life in big cities, and pennies have never been hard to come by. Some stores have a little dish where you can leave them or take a few to give to the cashier as needed. Here in New York, you can find them on the streets, and beggars feel disrespected if you try to stick them with your copper.
Both my parents are pretty shrewd with money, and my father especially has always valued the cent. Because of the way they raised me, I could never walk past a penny on the ground without feeling guilty. “This is MONEY,” Dad would say as he picked one up, flipped it, and placed it in his pocket.
And he’s right, they are money. There are some movements around that seek to eradicate the penny. But that just tells me I need to be gathering and spending as many of them as possible while I can. You may be a penny hater, but if the government said tomorrow that they were no longer legal tender, you would feel cheated, because you probably have a lot of them at home–at least a few dollars’ worth.
I use my cents. There’s a supermarket close to my house that allows you to pay with rolled coins, and I once used $21 in rolled pennies to buy some essentials. (The pennies were heavier than the groceries, but who’s complaining?) Find out if a store near you will take your rolled pennies–any store that has money picked up and dropped off by armored truck probably will.
Also, there are machines where you can dump your change in and they give you the amount in dollars, less a 7-10% fee. This is worth it to me. And clearing all that coinage out of your closets and drawers has to be good for your home’s feng shui.
Be sure to do something productive with the money.