Sniff. sniff. If you’ve ever tossed a penny into a fountain or cobbled together a handful of dusty pennies for a piece of candy, the penny’s retirement today may make you a bit centsitive. Can you still use the pennies tucked into the folds of your couch? Yes. For now. Here are a few key facts about Canada’s smallest denomination to help you make cents of it all:
• Though the mint won’t make any more pennies, you can still use yours. That said, we’re not sure for how long. Mint spokeswoman Christine Aquino estimates it will take approximately 3-4 years to get the penny out of circulation.
• The cost of items can be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel using this formula. (Round up or down to the nearest 5-cent increment. i.e. An $1.12 item, now costs $1.10.; $1.13 item equals $1.15). But retailers are not actually required to abide by these guidelines, so you may pay a bit more or less depending on where you shop.
• Penny rounding doesn’t apply to debit or credit cards. So it’s up to you to decide whether you want to pay that extra little bit for your purchase or use cash to save cents.
• There are lots of ways to get rid of your pennies. Numerous institutions are collecting them for charity. You can drop them off at any RBC branch in support of Free the Children.
• Now that the mint doesn’t have to make pennies, they are making cash producing coins for other countries.
• Not content with putting the poor penny out to pasture, NDP MP Pat Martin is now gunning for the nickel!