Saturday April 19, 2014

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Our two cents worth

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If you have been stockpiling your pennies, itís time to get rid of them, as the Canadian penny is no more.

On Monday, distribution of the little coin ended, but with more than six billion of them still in circulation, itís going to be quite a while before we see the end of the penny in our piggy banks.

The penny is being taken out of circulation by the federal government because it costs 1.6 cents to produce. The feds believe they can save $11 million a year by sending the penny into retirement to that little money tree in the sky. And that makes more than good ďcentsĒ to us.

Why keep producing something that is costing more than what the product is actually worth?

Merchants will now have to round cash purchases up or down, something that will take some time to get used to, unless you are paying with a debit or credit card.

And it might not end with the end of the penny.

Federal NDP member of Parliament Pat Martin plans to launch a private memberís motion sometime soon with his plan to also eliminate the five-cent coin.

Itís Martinís contention that this is an easy sell as the nickel also costs more to produce than it is worth.

Under the Winnipeg Centre MPís plan, there would be coin currency in multiples of 10s ó 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins and $1, $2 and $5 coins.

Itís an interesting concept that certainly deserves a look. Weíre not too sure about all the extra heavy pocket change, but if it saves costs in the long run, it does make some ďcents.Ē

So what do to with all those leftover pennies? Best to roll them and take them to your bank for more usable cash. But if you arenít the rolling type, you can donate them to several worthy charities here on the Sunshine Coast.

IGA in Gibsons is accepting pennies for Habitat for Humanity. West Sechelt Elementary School is still actively fundraising for its accessible playground. You could donate to the Salvation Army or Happy Cat Haven. In Pender Harbour, the Rotary Club is collecting pennies for polio with collection jars at John Henryís and the Madeira Park vet hospital.

At a national level, Free the Children is collecting pennies to support clean water projects around the world as part of its We Create Change campaign. Students on the Coast got into the spirit at Chatelech Secondary School in November and December when they teamed up with the Royal Bank and collected almost $900 in pennies at the school.

So the penny might be gone, but there is still lots of good left in that little coin.

Give back to your favourite charity and help out your community ó it makes a lot of ďcentsĒ doesnít it?

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