Sunday, July 27, 2014


Last month I was lucky enough to head back to the USA for some summer sunshine and family time (post coming soon about my trip!). The hubby had to stay in Oz to work, so while it was hard to leave the nice warm weather along with my family and friends, I was happy to be heading back "home" to Erik despite the cold winter chill in Melbourne. 
Erik and I were doing some winter yard clean up and found a few VERY small snails! Completely unrelated to this post except for the fact that we used a $1 coin to show how tiny these snails were!
While I was in America, I started thinking more and more about why the US continues to use the penny. I would occasionally pay for something with cash and end up with lots of pennies in my wallet, which obviously have very little value these days. I read an article not too long ago that mentioned the penny actually costs more than $0.01 to produce. Years ago I took a field trip to the Smithsonian with the school where I was working at the time and I remember "voting" on whether or not the US should get rid of the penny. It seemed that there were a lot of "yes" votes, but yet the penny remains in circulation. Usually Australia is behind the times when it comes to things like this, but they stopped using the $0.01 coin way back in 1992. The total of a purchase in Australia is simply rounded up or down to the nearest $0.05. In fact, Australia is now thinking about getting rid of the 5 cent coin due to the fact that it costs $0.06 to make.
The $2 coin is almost the exact same size as the penny but is much heavier and "thicker".
I also like the use of $1 and $2 coins in Australia. They are handy to have around to purchase a coffee or a $1 bag of produce from the market. My friends who have visited America tend to comment on the fact that because all of our currency is the same color, they would believe they had a lot money in their wallets, only to realize that they had lots of $1 bills, therefore not having as much money as they originally thought. I would really like to see America using a $1 coin instead of the $1 bill. When $1 coins weigh down my wallet I am always keen to buy something to reduce the weight of my wallet, and I wonder if introducing the $1 coin might stimulate the American economy. Even if people are not encouraged to spend those $1 coins, apparently using $1 coins instead of $1 bills would save the US government money.
"Colourful" currency

The $1 coin is about the size of the US quarter, but heavier.
Did you know that in Australia $50 bills are what is dispensed from ATMs? I suppose that goes along with the higher cost of living here, but it is a big jump from the $20 bills that leave American ATMs. 

Another interesting tidbit that has Australia in front of America is chip technology on credit cards. Our cards have had chips since we arrived Down Under, but apparently credit cards with chips are just starting to be introduced in the States. The technology is supposed to be more secure and when I was visiting America, the only place that I saw actually using the chip was Walmart. I suppose other companies will follow with using the chip technology soon. 
Does your credit card have a chip?
I will give America the upper hand on the credit card front though, as nearly every single place will let you pay with a card and there is usually no minimum spend. In Australia there are many shops that still only take cash and even more shops where you may use a card but you must spend $10. I have certainly had to adjust to that way of life by always making sure to have a little bit of cash on hand! It will be interesting to see if credit cards start to become more widely used in Australia or if store owners will continue to ask for cash payments. Perhaps Aussies will embrace the credit card and Americans will let go of the penny and learn to love the $1 coin? Only time will tell!