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The best use of pennies in today's world seems to be not in commerce, but in storing and donating

PMG FILE PHOTO - Alyson JohnsonThe penny has long been a staple of American life. President Abraham Lincoln is honored on it, finding one on the street is considered good luck, and many gather in piggy banks on children's dressers.

Looking deeper than face value, though, brings up a different issue: The economic issues America faces while keeping the penny in circulation.

The U.S. Treasury rolls out a billion pennies a month, according to "Abolish the Penny" by New York Times writer William Safire.

He goes on to say that two-thirds of these pennies fall out of circulation — this means that $6,666,667 out of the $10,000,000 worth of pennies produced go into piggy banks or under couch cushions.

Not all of the places pennies go are that wholesome, though. Some people will genuinely throw pennies in the garbage or on the street because they have no use for them.

Albeit exciting when you find a penny heads-up on the sidewalk, the placement of that coin may have not been by accident. People have decided to forgo the extra change in their pocket by just throwing their pennies onto the streets.

Imagine what this money could be doing if we were to put those $10 million toward education, infrastructure or even revamping our currency system. We could improve our economy.

Another example of pennies disrupting our day-to-day life: paying with cash. For many who choose to pay with bills, getting change back is often a hassle. Think about how many times you have gotten your change back in a combination of bills and coins. Watching the cashier fumble with small coins, trying not to drop them while putting them into a coin purse. This can take a significant amount of time for such a small task.

Combining every single time that's happened to you, you might have lost hours of your time to counting out pennies. This long-standing tradition shouldn't be worth the $6.6 million our country loses monthly, much less our valuable time.

Overall, the penny is just too much hassle for Americans today. There's barely anything you can buy for just pennies anymore. You often have to fish a quarter or dime out of the bottom of your pocket if you want to give exact change.

Many consumers just throw their leftover change into a tip jar, as it is a quick, easy and gracious way to get rid of those extra coins. If the penny stays in American currency, that's an easy way to make the best out of this situation.

Pennies prove pesky in our lives today and getting rid of them is, in my opinion, the most logical thing to do. If that doesn't happen, though, we know that pennies can add up quickly. Consider donating your spare change to charities or organizations that you want to support.

The best use of pennies in today's world seems to be not in commerce, but in storing and donating. We have the power to make actual change, not just loose change.

Alyson Johnson is a junior at Wilsonville High School.

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