Penny for your thoughts?

No longer has any meaning here in New Zealand – they have completely scrapped the 1 cent coin. Actually, they’ve gone one step further and gotten rid of the 5 cent coin as well. I didn’t actually realize it until a few days in, when looking through my change and thinking…where are all the useless coins? Everything is useful:

You can probably make them all out, but from left to right it goes 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2. So somewhat similar to Canadian/US denominations, but with the elimination of 1c and 5c parts it simplifies things considerably. Back in Canada I came to loathe change – Anything less than 25c, and I’d simply take it home and toss it in a box. After 4 years, I collected the change in that box, rolled it, and took it to the bank – I had ~$80 of change sitting there.

Part of this simplification is handled by the tax system – New Zealand has a GST very similar to Canada’s GST/PST/HST – 15%, but instead of adding the tax to the displayed price, ALL of New Zealand’s prices already have the taxes included. It’s such an elegant and simple system, and you always know what you are going to pay when you buy something. No more mental math required to find out if buying something that costs $90 will require you to break out $100, or $120 to pay. All in all, it’s wonderful!

I’ve also come to enjoy another simplicity of New Zealand monetary culture – tipping. Tipping here? Non-existent. Wait staff are paid full wages, unlike North America, so tipping is not expected nor common at all (the two places that I’ve paid by Credit, you aren’t even given the option). And since the value of the meal often is a nice round monetary number, walking out after putting a $10 bill down on the table for a $10 meal is as simple as can be. I rather quite like this kind of sophistication! 🙂

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