We live in a world of conspicuous consumption. People make money to buy the things to make us happy enough to make more money to buy more things. Even the penny has value, as much as we treat them as useless; in great quantity, they can buy happiness too!
I am equally guilty of it conspicuously consuming, I make no bones about that. I work hard, as does my husband; it took a long time for us to get to a place of comfort—we are not rich, but with a little saving and careful money management we can afford to buy what we want.
Do we? Not always. We are happy with what we have, and while sometimes we fantasize about what we would do if we ever won the lottery, we both laugh and end the conversation with how lucky we are to have what we already have.
Because we are aware of what we have and are grateful for it, we are mindful of what others do not have.
This new DIY trend of penny flooring and other large-scale decor makes my stomach turn.
A popular Toronto television personality and professional contractor, whom I frequently watched and endorsed, recently installed a penny floor in his office, and I was immediately turned off.
I was stunned at how someone who is usually quite cost-conscious yet socially aware could not see the optics of how gross this was. It turns out that is exactly why he did it: he was being cost-conscious. He, who could easily afford to not be cost-conscious in his own office, chose to use $300 in pennies (that his children helped collect!) in his floor.
So many people in the world do not have even one tenth of what we have, and are barely surviving. There are kids that go to school hungry every day (not to mention the kids who can’t even go to school), and here we are putting the same amount of money that would provide a meal for almost 85 children (TenFed, through Kids Against Hunger Canada, gives $3.00 from every item sold to KAHC, who in turn uses that $3.00 to provide ten (10!!!) meals for hungry kids. That’s 100 meals for hungry kids, sitting in someone’s floor.
This may not be a popular opinion, and even my own DIY eye thinks it looks nice, but nothing could ever be nice enough to warrant the use of actual, usable currency for large-scale projects in such a worthless way.
The more I searched online for people using currency for DIY projects, the worse I felt. There has to be tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, in North America alone sitting in people’s homes, as part of a large-scale decor choice.
You want to put a few pennies around a mason jar as a candle holder? Have at it. Want to make 500 candle holders with 25 pennies glued to each one? Use your $125 to feed a hungry child for a month.
I am not saying don’t spend your money on whatever you want. If you are rich and you want to bathe in a vat of rare honey from the remote islands of wherever, by all means, the world is your honeycomb! All I am asking is that we stop using actual, physical money for anything other than it’s intended use: exchange for goods and/or services, or to feed a hungry tummy.
Yes, the penny is being phased out, but wait: I did my research. The penny is still, and will continue to be until there are no more in circulation, a valid and exchangeable currency. Banks will still exchange them for paper and/or other coins, and businesses will still accept them in cash transactions.