It’s raining as I leave the warmth of my car. I am rushing across the parking lot, when I see it…a wet, shiny penny! It crosses my mind to keep running, then I think, “its money, just lying there waiting for me.” Risking getting even wetter, I reach down and pick that drowning penny up and run with it. What would you do? Would you stop and pick it up or do you just walk over it? After all, it’s just a penny. Why waste your time on a penny? I would pick up a quarter but a penny?

Did you know that it costs more to make a penny that it is actually worth? The Government Accountability Office states that it costs 1.7 cents to make a one-cent penny. The reason is rising costs of metal. This probably means that the penny will not be around much longer. So while it’s still around, here are a few valuable uses for that penny:

Check your Tire Tread Depth

– turn a penny so that Abraham Lincoln’s head is pointing down. If the top of his head is covered by tread, your tires are in good shape. If all of his head is visible, get your tires checked. It might be time for a new set.

Turn Screws with a Penny

– I can never find a screwdriver when I need it but I always seem to have a penny in my pocket. It only works on slot-headed screws but it can get you out of a jam.

Keep Cut Flowers Fresh for Longer

– According to florists, all it takes is a copper penny (dated before 1982) and a cube of sugar. Add both to a vase and fill with water, then add your flowers. The copper acts as a natural fungicide, which helps keep the flowers free from yeasts and bacteria.

Add Weight to Curtains

– If your curtains are lightweight and don’t hang straight, pennies come in handy as weights. Simply make an opening in the hem and slide pennies into the hem.

Stabilize Wobbly Chairs and Tables

– Instead of folding up a piece of paper to put under that wobbly table or chair leg, glue as many pennies as necessary to level the leg, then glue the glued pennies to the table leg. Add a small piece of felt to the bottom of the penny stack if you are worried about scratching the floor.

Use as Spacers When Laying Tile

– Instead of wasting your money at the hardware store on plastic tile spacers, use pennies for spacing tile. They give you the width you are looking for and you can clean them off to reuse for other things later.

Make a Cold Pack

– Take an old sock, fill with pennies and pop it into the freezer. The pennies will form around the leg or arm needing a cold pack. They stay cold for a long time and can be used over and over.

There are many more uses for that penny but one of my most favorites comes from my childhood. I remember taking my black patent leather, Sunday go to Meeting shoes, gluing pennies to the bottoms (front and heels) to make tap shoes. I would tap dance for hours, in the house, on the sidewalks, in the garage. I only stopped when my sisters threatened my life or my mother yelled …MY…WHOLE…NAME… at the top of her lungs! Stop and think about that penny the next time you see it lying there waiting to be picked up. Will you skip on past it? After all, it’s just a penny, not even worth the metal it is made of or will you pick up that penny and dream about tap dancing in another place and time?