Monday, July 30, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Currency

Obviously, the USA and Germany use different currencies. The worth, name, and basic look of the Euro and US Dollar are of course different but that is not as interesting as the size of the bills and the number of coins. US money drives Germans crazy (it all looks the same) and Euros drive Americans crazy (too many coins). We don't really think it can be determined that one is better than the other...they are just different. Besides, we just love money, whatever form it takes :)

Euros (€):

Euro coins come in eight different values (yes, eight!). Germany (and the whole Euro zone) love their coins. Coin values include 1 cent, 2 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 euro and 2 euro. The coins increase in size as they increase in value so it is quite easy to tell them apart without even really looking (except she finds that the 1, 2, and 5 cent coins are very similar).


Common Euro bills come in the values of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 euros. There are higher denominations available but let's be realistic...we sadly are not walking around with 500 euro bills very often. Just like the coins, euro bills increase in size as their value increases. There is quite a large size difference between a 5 euro bill and a 100 euro bill. The colors also vary drastically from light blue/green to bright purple.

US Dollars ($/¢):

There are six different values when it comes to US coins but only four of them are common. This includes coins for 1 cent, 5, cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents and 1 dollar (yes, the US does have a one dollar coin but it is very rarely used or seen). To all non-Americans US coins are pretty much senseless. While the 1 cent coin is quite large, the 5 cent coin is a bit large and the 10 cent coin is tiny. The size increases again for 25 cents and 50 cents and the dollar coin is smaller (but thicker) than the 50 cent coin. The material of the coins is more important than the size but really, do we need to go into a history lesson right now?

US Dollar bills are all the same color and size. You have to look at the value printed on them to know what they are worth. The most common denominations to use are 1 dollar, 5 dollars, 10 dollars and 20 dollars. 50 dollars is not always accepted by stores and therefore 50 and 100 dollar bills are not as common as the smaller denominations. There are even large denominations available but they would never be used on a daily basis. Unknown to most people outside the USA, there is a 2 dollar bill available...however the typical American will probably run into a 2 dollar bill only every couple of years. Don't ask her why they bother to still produce is just one of those mysteries.


Perhaps it is because the Euro is still quite a new currency but the entire currency seems to lack any real nicknames. On the other hand, Americans love nicknames for their money. Coins are rarely called a 1 cent or 5 cent coin but by their nicknames.
1 cent = Penny
5 cents = Nickel
10 cents = Dime
25 cents = Quarter
50 cents = Half-dollar
1 dollar = Often called a Sacagawea dollar (or golden dollar) even though it has only had Sacagawea on it since 2000.

Dollars in general have lots of nicknames including bucks, greenbacks, smackers, cha-chingers, and buckaroos :)

Does the Difference Matter?

Money is money so does the difference between different currencies really matter? It is always fun to go to a new country and see how different their money is. Some countries seem to have some very fancy money while others seem quite boring (she admits that the dull green of the US dollar is not too exciting). Australia and a handful of other countries have money made out of a type of plastic... you can wash it (go surfing we guess), try to rip it, send it through the dryer and it will continue to live on. Pretty cool idea.

If we were blind, we would definitely be more of a fan of the euro. The bills can be told apart without sight making it possible for those with vision problems to know what bill they are giving out and what change they are getting in return. If you do not like a heavy wallet then the US dollar is probably the right currency for you. Change in Germany quickly adds up and one and two euro coins are quite heavy and bulky.

In the USA people dream of is one of the most commonly associated things with the color green in the USA. We guess in Germany people dream of a rainbow of colors...unless they are only interested in the bigger bills :)


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