Personal Finance 
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Ten Fun Facts About Crane & Co.

Crane & Co.Who are Crane & Co. and why would we want to know ten fun facts about them? Open up your wallet or your purse, wherever you put your money, and pull out a bill. Crane & Co. manufactures the paper the money is printed on. In fact, Crane & Co. prints money for Sweden, Saudi Arabia, India, several African countries, India, and Paraguay. While they’re also a high end stationary provider, three quarters of their revenues are from currency business accounts.

Here are a few more fun facts about Crane & Co.:
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 Personal Finance 
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Where to Spend $1 Coins

Dollar BillThe US Mint’s $1 Direct Ship program is back with several options (Native American, Golden Dollars with Sacagawea, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington and Andrew Jackson), meaning you can bust through some of those cash back tiers by purchasing money. These are regular circulation coins available in increments of $250.

In addition to killing cashback tiers, I recommended buying dollar coins to help kill the penny because it reduces our use of paper currency, which has a much shorter lifespan. I bought some of these dollar coins because of the small environmental impact, none of our cards have cashback tiers.

We didn’t want to go the route of depositing it at the bank because it’s against the spirit of the program and because we want to see them go into general circulation. It doesn’t bother me that people are instantly depositing the coins but that wasn’t my goal. Our goal was to get them into the world so we use fewer dollar bills.

The tricky part is that they come in $250 increments. You have to start getting creative and here is where I intend to use them.
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 Personal Finance 
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3 Ways to Kill the Penny

Beat Up PennyYou all probably know my stance on the penny, I think we should kill the penny. Unfortunately, the only legislator willing to put some teeth in the move was ousted after his involvement in a bunch of scandals in 2007. Since then, there hasn’t been a peep out of Congress on the issue though I suspect it’s because there are a lot of other, more pressing, issues on the docket.

So, it’s up to us to figure out a way to give the penny (and maybe even the nickel) the boot.

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 Credit 
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How to Avoid Credit Card Minimum Annual Purchases Fees

As we wrote about it last year, credit card issuers are instituting annual fees they are willing to refund if you make enough purchases in a year. The first issuer to start doing this is Citibank and recently sent notices out to cardholders about the $60 fee starting April 1st. If cardholders spend $2400 in a twelve month period, the fee will be waived. Consumerist has the full text of the letter cardholders received.

I received an email from a reader asking if I knew what she could do: “I am not sure if you have covered this topic but I got a letter in the mail from Citi cards that they are going to now charge $60 annual fee and that fees is apparently going to be waived at the end of the year if I make a tleast $2400 in a year in purchases. I have had this card for a couple years and used it once to do a balance transfer for 0%. I have a limit of $17,300.00 on this card. I am at a loss on what to do because I may not be able to make the $2400 in purchases because I use my high interest debit card for most of my purchases. My question is – if I were to close this account, how is that going to affect my credit? Will it? What are the factors I should consider before I close the account?”
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 Government 
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The Mints of the United States

United States One Dollar Proof CoinIf you’ve ever looked at a coin, chances are you’ve been interested in what was on it. There’s the year it was stamped, various Latin sayings, some images of buildings or famous individuals from US history, and there usually is a random letter. You probably know that the letter corresponds to the Mint facility that produced the coin, but what letter stands for what? How Mint facilities are there? Where are they located?

The United States Mint is the agency in the United States Government responsible for the production of coins used in the US. It was created in 1792 by the Coinage Age of 1792 and put within the State Department. Later that year, the Mint opened its main branch in Philadelphia, PA and soon expanded to include several facilities across the United States. In 1799, with the Coinage Act of 1873, it was made an independent agency.

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 Your Take 
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Your Take: New $5 Bill & The Huge Purple 5

Front of the New $5 Bill

Check out the latest super-anti-counterfeit bill to hit the streets, it’s none other than the fiver and it debuted today with much fanfare over its added security feature and that humongous purple FIVE located on the back (picture below). Many of the added security features come from higher denominated bills (such as more watermarks and a security strip) and I was surprised that they would revamp a $5 with these security features, but what do I know. Here’s the back of the bill.

Back of the New $5 Bill

I’m a fan of the increased use of microprinting, where small, difficult to reproduce, text is repeated in numerous places. On the front, Five Dollars” is written inside the left and right borders. E Pluribus Unum (“Out of Many, One.” in Latin) is printed at the top of the shield in the Great Seal. USA is printed between the columns of the shield. Finally, on the back, USA FIVE is printed on the edge of the purple 5.

One cool thing I didn’t know was that the little yellow “05″s are arranged in a EURion constellation. Many color photocopiers will refuse to copy a document if it detects a EURion constellation pattern. Here I thought the “05″s were just randomly scattered. Many currencies use this EURion constellation pattern.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the big purple 5 but it’s said that it is designed that way for the visually impaired, what do you think about that purple 5? Ugly? Pretty?

(Images from US Bureau of Engraving & Printing)


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