Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's worth saving the pennies

I don't use much cash (mostly credit cards with cash back that I pay off every month), but over the past five years or so, I have accumulated a fair bit of loose change. Having finally sorted it, I wanted to see what the numbers showed. Using a kitchen scale, I measured the weight of the coins. Based on this weight and values from the wikipedia article on US coins, I calculated the approximate number and dollar value. Using a measuring cup, the approximate volume.

As you can see, the pennies constitute about 20% of the total dollar amount, while measuring 60% by volume (55.36% by weight). Nickels and dimes together make up the other 80% of the total dollar amount, with 40% of the volume (44.64% of the weight). Not quite the classic 80-20 Pareto distribution, but similar.

The quarters, being used for laundry, were not in the mix. I wonder what the effect of including a normal incidence of quarters would have been on the outcome.