Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, January 24, 2014

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." - Yogi Berra

I worked for 20 years as the payroll/accounts payable manager of the local hospital.  My right and left side brain had a conflict reconciling the artist side and the numeric/realistic sides of my life.  But...  due to circumstances I had to deal with, I managed.  I could reconcile a million dollar bank statement to the penny with ease... go home a produce a painting or some other work of art...   and I loved doing that.

Yet...  even today...  here in a country where I'm not familiar with the language... nor the monetary system... I struggle with "value".

Bill & I are both folks who walk a lot...  and while walking... whether it be in a Wal-Mart parking lot in the States, or along the streets here in Coco, Costa Rica, we find coins....  these are some of the coins we've found so far on our walks....
The total amount of these coins is around 25 cents American....
So...  doesn't matter....  we love finding money....  whatever the currency or denomination...

That big coin on the right is from Nicaragua....  
Who the heck ever heard of a coin being made from a metal that rusts?
The two smaller coins are probably defunct here in Costa Rica.
And ...  who in the USA have ever heard of a coin that is now worthless?  I mean, even a penny is still worth 1 cent!  But we have coins from other countries that are no longer viable coins...  so.... whatever.

The total of these coins is worth less than $10 American dollars.  
But it's always handy to have them around...  great for tipping the bagger at the grocery store...  and having the correct change for the bus is always a plus!

I love the paper money here...
It's so colorful!  This photo shows the front and back of each bill we currently have.

And, because I'm a bit slow in figuring out what's what....
The bill on the left has the same value as the 2 coins on the right.

And...  when I'm at the grocery, I know that I can double the colones (Costa Rican monetary system), move the point over a few numbers,  and figure out what the American value is....  

So...  this dozen of eggs ....
Cost just over $4.00 (American)

By the way, food is quite expensive here.  Transportation is cheap...  
Housing...  well, that depends.
We are in a very touristy area and the going price varies considerably.

Truth is, while Bill generally handles the money end (I don't even carry a purse) I try to be aware of what things cost and what the value is.

No matter....  I still love finding coins along the streets....
Even if they have very little or no value...
Just the nature of this beast!

That's All For Today!


  1. Hi Sharon:
    Yes, converting currencies in foreign countries does pose problems for us US citizens. One of the things I like about many currencies (not Britain or the US) is that whatever the currency is called, the coins and paper money are denominations of that currency. For instance, coins and paper are 'colones' in Costa Rica, coins and paper are 'pesos' in Mexico, and coins and paper are 'quetzals' in Guatemala. The metric system makes so much sense. For us in the US, moving to such a system would be very labor-intensive and confusing. Let's see, would it be 'cents' - so a $5 bill would be 5,000 cents?!

  2. I think I was the most confused with the Danish Kroner. Found it best to check the price of fuel, and then go from there. Quite often though, I had no real clue how much I was spending for say, that elusive jar of Miracle Whip.
    When we first got to Maui, it took a concious effort for the Canadians to differentiate between the American bills. Just a little bit of colour would help.
    Plus, you still have singles. Just seems odd.

  3. Well in Canada in you buy something will cash we do not use pennies anymore. The change is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. So a penny is almost worthless.

  4. I am another person that always picks up dropped coins. I once found a $50 bill!

  5. Found money is always the best money!! I love the artwork on the bills, the animals and fish. Nice!!

  6. I found a $20 bill once, blowing along a curb. Made me so happy.

    I don't think our monetary system should be backed up by gold, which I see as just a shiney heavy metal with no real value other than for heavy metal uses. I like to base value against something that makes a difference. Like cat spays. For one thing. I too love colorful money and I also love the dollar coins given as change around here only at convenience and liquor stores. But I like the feel of those heavy slightly gold tinted quarter size dollar coins.

  7. Interesting post! My daughter and her husband walk a lot and once found a $100 bill along side a road. May your collection keep growing.

  8. That's some colorful money! I've never been that good at math, so who knows what I might buy or not buy!!

  9. We discovered that in some countries, paper money is actually made of, well, paper!! US bills are made of linen and are quite durable, but real paper is less so. We were snorkeling in Belize and I forgot to take some paper bills out of my pocket. We got back to our cabana and I got the bright idea of setting the wet bills on top of the toaster. Not in it, just on top. Well in no time those bills were scorched and brittle, and actually fell apart. Lesson learned!!


  10. Your mind is never still. It takes a good eye to find coins. In Canada , we have done away with the penny. There is also talk of doing away with the nickel.

  11. We have a bunch of Dutch guilders that are worthless since the switch to the Euro:(