National One Cent Day, which is celebrated on April 1st, is a day that we recognize the importance of the penny. How it came to be, the ways its appearance has changed over time, and it's decline in monetary value are all important parts of the penny's storied history. The first United States one-cent coin was produced and issued by a private mint in the year 1787. It wasn't until 1792 that the United States Mint began producing the coin. Since then, it has undergone a number of changes in size, material and images displayed on the front and back of the coin.
In 1909, a penny could get you a newspaper, purchase a few eggs, or send a postcard. In 1932, you could pay your railroad fares for one cent per mile, but one century later, a penny could not even pay for itself. By then, the cost of making a penny was 1.4 cents, which is why the 2002 Legal Tender Modernization Act of Congress was introduced to eliminate the production of the penny. The bill ultimately failed, and to this day the penny is still in circulation.
While the penny may not be able to cover its own cost or buy much of anything else in our modern economy, the saying "a penny saved is a penny earned" still holds true to this day. It doesn't matter if the penny can't buy you a railroad ticket, bus fare or even something as trivial as a newspaper, it still has value. It may take a considerable amount of time to save enough pennies to pay a bill, buy a meal, take a vacation or even help to pay school tuition, the point is you are still saving, which is never a bad thing.
You may be surprised at how much you could save in time for the holidays. Just think of all the pennies left behind in the washer or dryer, when making a small purchase, or just simply lost or misplaced amongst the clutter on your dresser. These wayward pennies can add up to dollars over time. So, when you add up those pennies that turn into dollars, you may have what is referred to as a "pretty penny" after a few years.
So, what do you do with your pennies? If you haven't started saving them already, do you think you will start saving them now? You can never be sure when you might need the collective spending power of all those humble pennies. Many hard-working people are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling financially, which is why it is imperative to save whatever you can. Any amount saved is a financial safety net that can be useful in the present or in the future. It may even save you from taking out a loan or a turning to a title pawn to cover an unexpected expense. Remember, when you look after your pennies, your dollars tend to look after themselves.