A PENNY for your thoughts

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Identifying cash when you can no longer see the denominations takes a few hints. Notice by feeling the edges of the coins with your fingernail that the pennies and nickels are smooth while the similar sized dimes and quarters have ridges running all the way around the edge. This makes it very simple to count your change even when it is in your pocket. The infamous Susan B Anthony dollars were confusing to everyone because of their similarity in size to quarters. They also had these bumpy edges making them almost impossible to tell from their slightly smaller counterpart unless you could stack the two coins together. Although you will rarely see fifty-cent pieces, they are rough on the edge and so are silver dollars.. This paragraph of information takes care of identifying U.S. coinage. (hopefully someone will contribute such information for coins in other countries to our Solutions Email section on the Inside Out home page.

Once you have identified your coins you may want to keep them sorted in a special coin purse with different sized slots for the different sized coins. You also may use a wallet with separate little pockets for different sized coins. Both these purses are available through such catalogs as may be found Down The RABBIT HOLE from the Inside Out HomePage.

To identify paper money in the United States several methods have been devised - generally by blind people tgrying to keep track of their cash. Most people have a certain way they fold each bill, $1, $5, $10, and $20. Most of us rarely see $50 and $100 bills, but those who do have ways of dealing with them as well.

As an example, but by no means as a standard, I personally fold bills as follows:

$1 - end-to-end then in half again in that same direction
$5 - top to bottom then end to end
$10 - End to End
$20 - I keep in a zipper compartment in my wallet.

The $1, $5, and $10 I keep folded in a zipper compartment on the inside of my purse along with my change so I can reach cash and change in the same step. This speeds up giving nearly correct change so I don't end up feeling like I've won in Wendover after just a week of getting change from my transactions. As mentioned above, you can buy wallets with special compartments for your paper money as well as for the coins.

As an aside, when I am in a store I visit often such as our Mini-Mart, I will simply pull out a handful of change and allow the clerk to take as many pennies and nickels and dimes as is needed to pay my bill. This gives them change and lightens my purse. I only do this where I know the clerks, but I doubt anyone would seriously cheat me for a quarter.

At home I have a cup for pennies and another for mixed change. I wrap the pennies in paper tubes from the bank and let my son spend the loose change for the bus or ice-cream vendor. The rolls of 50 pennies either find their way to the bank or one of the above mentioned expenses.

Many people have devised their own ways of handling cash. Some get only $5 bills so that all their change will be in coins and $1 bills. This can bget awkward if you spend a lot of cash. Other people have different places in pockets or ppurse for thedifferent paper money denominations. Using special wallets with separate pockets for each denomination proves simplest for some. While other people simply don't ever use cash, preferring a debit card or checks or a credit card. (See "Give yourself Credit.") The important thing is to find a way that works for you and then use it consistantly and regularly.

There has been talk of an embosser made so you can mark your paper money in braille, but you don't keep any given bill for long, you would need to be able to identify the bill to mark it thereby already having a way to identify it, and the chances of you getting such a marked bill as change are one in billions. And of course you could do the same marking with a Braille slate. This self-marking method does not seem particularly practicle.

In other countries it has been made simpler to identify currency. Some have different sized bills while others actually have the bills distinguished by both color and Braille labeling. I have seen the new U.S. $100 bill with an embossed 100 in the lower right hand corner, but others say they have seen it with no such embossing which leads me to believe it doesn't last long.

Whatever method you use to identify your cash, the important thing is to pay attention, pay carefully, and be consistant.

© copyright Kathy Seven Williams 1996

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