/ Money

Don’t ditch the one penny piece!

UK one pennies

Save the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. That’s my response to talk of the UK following Canada and ditching the one penny coin. It may be small, but it’s perfectly formed and I don’t want to lose it.

They say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’. And usually I don’t, or at least most of the time. First thing in the morning can be a different matter, as the poor members of my team can probably testify. But when it comes to money matters, I absolutely do sweat the small stuff.

You could argue it’s a prerequisite of my job title, but I happen to be the type of person who puts all their spending on a cashback credit card for just 1% cashback (that equates to only a few pounds a month). I buy whatever I can via cashback websites, even when the reward is only a few pence. I’ve even been known not to buy something in a particular supermarket, just because I’m sure I remember seeing it cheaper in another.

And I admit, I do get a certain sense of satisfaction when I’m able to pay a shopkeeper with the exact change by unloading my coppers.

Keep the UK’s one penny piece

So, when I saw speculation about the future of the Great British penny following Canada’s withdrawal of its one cent coin, I felt the need to express my protest at the idea of losing it.

My brother lives in New Zealand, which has the same lack of a small denomination coin. In fact, the smallest coin they have is a ten cent piece. This effectively means that if your spending isn’t a nice multiple of ten, your bill is automatically rounded up or down.

It could be argued that this all balances out, but my prevailing memory is of feeling robbed whenever I handed over a dollar for a 97 cent purchase, say, and received nothing in return. I could have understood this if all items on sale were priced at nice round numbers, but that just wasn’t the case.

My love for the pretty penny

I’m sure many will disagree with my love for our smallest coin. And, I admit, I’m at more of an advantage when it comes to a glut of coinage, as I don’t typically carry it around in my pocket. Although, my shoulder might be in better shape if my handbag didn’t put so much strain on it. Plus, the vast majority of my spending these days is on my aforementioned credit card, so who knows how much longer cash in any form will hang around.

But until that day, call me a penny pincher, but I want the one pence piece to hang around. After all, how else will I get my regular dose of good luck!

Should we get rid of the 1p piece?

No - I like copper coins (55%, 225 Votes)

Yes - and 2p coins with them (28%, 115 Votes)

Yes - we don't need 1p coins (17%, 71 Votes)

Total Voters: 417

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Rather than complain about all these pennies we could put them in one of the charity boxes, conveniently placed next to tills.

That’s precisely what I do with them. I never keep copper in my pockets. But what a lame excuse to keep all those expensive coins in circulation. The metal can be put to much better use.

Boxes have to be distributed, collected, counted, banked, receive no Gift Aid and are insecure. Antiquated and well beyond their sell by date.

Here we go again!
It seems like only yesterday that the same was being said about the old penny, then the new half pence piece and the sixpence (worth 2.5p).
I very seldom use cash, when I do I have to check the value of each piece to see what it is.
I doubt if we could ever do without cash, but for me it belongs in the past, around 1964 when I was one of the first 1 million launch customers of the Barclaycard.

If you want to start a real argument, suggest getting rid of the pound.

Round up or DOWN? In your dreams – it will go up, as it did when we lost the farthing, halfpenny, went decimal, lost the half pence (1.2 old pennies). So something costing 29p would become 30p – 3% increase (more than inflation!).
Spare a thought for children who spend pocket money – 1p may be quite important.
It is probably inevitable, inflation won’t increase significantly because of it, and it’s probably best to lose a little-used coin. But the consumer will be the (slight) loser.
What will happen to the psychologically attractive pricing of only £1.99 (looks so much better then £2). Does £1.98 look as good?
And what about naming children – Tuppence doesn’t sound quite right.

I think you are out of touch regarding pocket money. 🙂

I have noticed an increasing number of prices shown in pounds. It saves a lot of messing around.

Why would something costing 29p become 30p? It’s 20p + 5p + 2p + 2p. You could continue paying for anything except 1p and 3p with the exact amount of cash.

There are times when a 99p coin would be useful.

Now why has no-one thought of that before?

And a 0.9p coin for buying petrol.

Others might not see the point. 🙂

Re Tuppence – wasn’t one of Agatha Christie’s characters so named? A sleuthing couple called Tommy and Tuppence Beresford if I’m not mistaken. So at least there’s a precedent.

Ludiger Harris says:
4 February 2013

I remember the old copper one penny piece vividly. Such a charming denomination and a truly great shame and sad day if they decide to withdraw it from our shops and streets and children’s hands. I remember when the old boy was introduced in 1971 and we had a huge party to celebrate. Over 500 people turned up and we had miles of bunting and a mammoth sing-song with old favourites like Knees Up Mother Brown and When Imhotep Went to the Ritz belted out until the small hours – my utmost apologies to my neighbours if they’re reading this!

I clearly remember the farthing, but it was redundant and not missed. The 1p and 2p coins are just as redundant.

About the only old coin we keep are silver sixpences for the Christmas Pud tradition.

Nigel Stannier says:
17 February 2013

Somewhat off-topic, but I remember leading a impromptu demonstration along the Great Missenden high street to try to stop the half-penny piece being withdrawn in 1984. Not that you could do that now what with heath and safety and all that! Of course, it during the Miners Strike, so the demonstration was largely ignored in the newspapers and periodicals.

craig says:
4 February 2013

yes scrap penny and 2p coin they are pain in backside you only end up wiv jars full of them, they could easily price things in incriments of 5

NFH – because if you don’t have exact money – often the case – and give e.g. 30p

Perhaps just ditch coins and use paper money, scaled in pence (or 0.1p for petrol?) – just cut off the bit you need.

Frederik says:
4 February 2013

It’s likely that one and two pence coins cost the economy a significant amount. For an amusing explanation, see: http://youtu.be/y5UT04p5f7U

An amusing video. Although it covers the US penny, it is just as applicable to the UK penny.

If the penny or the 2p coins were scrapped, rounding up or rounding down would occur on some prices, but only when cash is used. Rounding would not be a problem, for an increasing number of people using credit cards, or similar plastic, for electronic payments, where the exact price is paid.

We still use cash, and rounding up is much more likely than rounding down.
The Canadian cent is nearer the UK 1/2p than the 1p, so not directly comparable.

Oh what will the 99p shop do if we get rid or the 1p coins

Morrisman says:
9 February 2013

I remember being able to spend one farthing on farthing chews and blackjacks (sweets). There were 960 to the £1. As inflation decreases the value of the £1, smaller coins are bound to fall out of use. My first wages were Three one pound notes and two half-crowns (£3.50)

My first pay was 10/- a week! (That’s 10 shillings to those unfamiliar with pre-decimalised coinage: ten bob as we commonly called it.)

I know it must have been a long time ago that you received your first pay envelope containing 3 x £1 notes and 2 x half-crowns, but your forgot that half-crowns were only 2/6, so you were only paid £3.25 in today’s money!

May as well ditch everything smaller in denomination than the £20 note as I now consider anything less as small change. I do not say this because I am well of, far from it, it is because every time I buy something I have to get the ‘twenties’ out, no matter how much ‘change’ I have in my pockets it is never enough.

I used to like the 10/- (shilling) and £1 notes – I always seemed more reluctant to break into those than to part with coins. I do remember the weight old coins – particularly pennies – used to add to your trouser pockets.

Our local swimming pool was partly funded by the change to decimalisation. Where as folk refused to part with 2/6 for a raffle ticket, they thought nothing of giving 20p for one. The coin looks small and insignificant. Everything today is something -ninety nine pence because people look at the something and ignore the pence part. This doesn’t answer the posed question, but it is sad to see small denominations disappearing one by one as inflation gobbles them up. Practically, we could probably get away with ten pence as our smallest coin, the copper always takes me the longest to process when I’m banking bags of loose change. Emotionally, I don’t want to see any coin disappearing, but I couldn’t justify that with a rational argument.