This past Monday, the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing the penny to banks and financial institutions. The Canadian penny has been discontinued, because it has a unit production cost of 1.6 cents, which is said to amount to an annual loss of $11 million a year for Canadian taxpayers. With the loss of the penny, Canadian prices will now have to be rounded up or down to the nearest five cents. The Australians phased out their penny in 1992, when they stopped minting one-cent and two-cent pieces, as did other nations such as Brazil, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland at other times. The author of the article A nickel for your thoughts? comments that the ❝penny’s use now exists only in our thoughts❞ or on ❝credit-card statements❞. However, the penny may have more staying power than just that. Expressions like a penny for your thoughts or a penny saved is a penny earned appear to be firmly anchored in the English language and, although they may be in need of a slight price-increase, they are quite likely here to stay.
Here is a list of 10 English ❛penny❜ idioms:
1. a penny for your thoughts
This English expression means the same thing as ❛I would like to know what you are thinking about❜.
Example: I wonder what’s on your mind. A penny for your thoughts.
2. a penny saved is a penny earned
Used to say that ❛saving the money that you have, even if it is is not much, is good and will amount to something❜, this English proverb encourages people to become savers instead of spenders.
Example: Louise is very careless with her money. When will she learn that a penny saved is a penny earned?
3. bad penny
A bad penny is ❛a worthless person❜.
Example: Luigi’s mother always knew that, contrary to what many others had told her, her son would not turn out to be a bad penny.
4. not a red cent
The expression not a red cent means the same thing as ❛no money at all❜.
Example: Forced to tell the truth, I told the company’s Board of Director’s that we had not earned a red cent in the last year.
5. penny ante
The term penny ante means ❛of little value, meaning or importance❜.
Example: No one was surprised when the Mr. Moneybags offered his employees a penny ante increase in salary.
6. not to have two pennies to rub together
When someone is ❛very poor❜, he does not have two pennies to rub together.
Example: When George started out as an actor in Hollywood, he did not have two cents to rub together.
7. to cost (somebody) a pretty penny
When something is ❛expensive❜ it costs (you) a pretty penny.
Example: That Ferarri cost Luigi a pretty penny.
8. to be penny-wise and pound-foolish
When an individual is ❛very careful about how he spends small amounts of money but is not careful about how he spends large amounts of money❜, he is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Example: Ratna would not buy herself a pair of much-needed socks, but recently bought herself a luxury handbag for more than a thousand dollars. She is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
9. to put your two cents (worth) in
Someone who ❛expresses his opinion in a conversation, especially when it is not wanted❜ is putting his two cents (worth) in.
Example: Just when I was apologizing to the teacher for forgetting my homework, Louis had to come along and put his two cents worth in. Why couldn’t he just be quiet?
10. take care of the pennies/pence and the pounds will take care or themselves
This English proverb expresses the idea that ❛if you are careful about how you spend small amounts of money, you won’t have financial problems❜.
Example: Al is a big-spender and is often broke at the end of the month. His mother has always told him that if he takes care of the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves, but Al just will not listen.