Fun Facts About Money (And Reading)

Growing up my grandpa always used to say “the best way to learn, is to read.” And while I didn’t really listen to him way back then (unless you count photo books? ;)), I’ll admit he was on to something there. Only I’ve come to think of it as, “the best way to learn, is to read SOMETHING THAT INTERESTS YOU!”

That probably sounds like common sense to most of you, but back as a kid I never caught on to it. And it’s really a shame as I could have turned all those time being dragged to the library or book store, or anywhere else where papers were stuck together with words on them, into more of an exciting adventure than full of dread. The only time it got better was in middle school when I realized there were tons of books with *pictures* in them! So I’d then head straight back to the art and photography section while my family members probably mocked me ;) They’re all book worms…

Anyways, I’m all better now and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE reading, but only when it’s a topic that excites me. Like, these days money and coins. So I’m subscribed to every other personal finance magazine out there, as well as all the coin stuff I can get my hands on too. Which you’d think they’d kinda cross over being that both genres are based on money, but the funny part is they don’t. Personal Finance is all about using your brain and applying it to your daily lives, whereas coins are more of hobby stuff on the side with incredible history lessons. More of an “escape” if you will, like when you’re learning about pirate ships and sunken treasure! Blimey!

The more you read, the more you come across interesting little factoids you’ll want to share with the world too. Or better yet, at cocktail parties or bars to make yourself look smarter and more interesting. (Does anyone even *have* cocktail parties anymore, btw?) Which is the point of me sharing my new found info with you today – to make myself look better :) Or to give you a mental break from all that hardcore finance you’ve been reading lately, you choose.

(On a side note – if you can figure out a way to pull of the “cute factor” a la the kid from Jerry Maguire, please let me know. It’s hard to beat “the human head weighs 8 pounds!” when you’re trying to impress your wife.)

So in my recent adventures with reading, here’s a bunch of interesting facts I’ve found all surrounding our good ol’ currency system:

  • There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar (if you include the $1 coin)
  • There are 9,823,546,661,905 ways to make change for a $100.00 bill!
  • It costs approximately 6.4 cents per note to produce U.S. currency.
  • Our bills are fabric composed of 25% linen and 75% percent cotton.
  • About 4,000 double folds (forward and backward) are required before a note will tear.
  • The average life span of a $1.00 bill is 21 months.
  • The average life span of a $50.00 bill is 4.5 years.
  • The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 26 million notes a day, with a face value of approximately $907 million.
  • The largest bill ever printed by them was the $100,000 gold certificate.
  • The U.S. Secret Service was created during the Civil War to fight counterfeiting.

You can find more gems like these at and Frank Morgan’s Math Chat, even though I *ahem* read most of this stuff in my coin magazine, thank you very much. I’d like to think reading paper makes you smarter than reading online, even though that’s totally ridiculous of course. Especially since my entire BLOG is on the web! Haha…

Maybe it’s time to come out with an actual book?! I do have an agent willing to work with me, if you can believe that (remember when bloggers used to be frowned upon??), but it seems I’m lacking some motivation and a brilliant idea to jump start everything… Maybe you have one I can steal? ;)

Anyways, that wraps up this lesson for the day. If my grandpa were still around I hope he’d be proud that I’m finally listening to him. Even if it took 30-something years to sink in! Haha… Now get out there and start spreading your new facts! Perhaps it’ll get you a hot date, or at the very least a free cocktail. I recommend the Show Me The Monkey.

(Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Free Money Minute May 10, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    And a fact that makes you scratch your head… costs 2.0 cents to make a penny and 10.09 cents to make a nickel. Does anyone even use pennies and nickels anymore?

    1. J. Money May 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I know there’s always a battle of nixing the penny over here, but it’ll probably take quite some time for that to ever go in effect… Canada went for it though!

      1. Slackerjo May 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        Yes and at any moment will will try and impose the metric system on you.

        1. Free Money Minute May 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM

          I would take both policies @slackerjo! It is crazy to pay that much for each penny produced considering most people give pennies very little value anymore. The metric system is also better IMO, and it is a world standard. We do some odd things here in the US.

          1. J. Money May 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM

            Haha… we’re too lazy in the U.S. to learn the metric system ;)

  2. John S @ Frugal Rules May 10, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    That’s very interesting, I would’ve thought that he dollar bill would have a much shorter life span on average. Having worked in a bank for a brief time they always seemed so beat up and ready to be retired.

    1. J. Money May 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I know, right? I thought the same thing too.

  3. @debtblag May 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    I’m right there with you. Currency, how quick it gets passed around, what it costs to make — it all fascinates me.

  4. Jacob Erickson May 10, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    These are interesting factoids. I really like learning about little trivia answers like this. Plus, they’re a good tidbit to throw into a conversation (or would that be too nerdy?! haha).

  5. Edward Antrobus May 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I absolutely love useless trivia. If you can sprout of a random fact about something, you seem really smart and informed, even if that is the only thing you actually know on the topic!

    1. J. Money May 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Haha exactly!! It’s all about impressions, really :)

  6. Shafi May 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    If you start counting $1 Billion at the rate of one dollar a second, it’ll take you more than 32 years to finish counting.

    1. J. Money May 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Holy $hit that’s a long time. You gonna try it and see what happens? ;)

  7. Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries May 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    I love learning about the history of our currency. There’s so much to learn that can make money interesting!

  8. Nick @ May 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with your grandpa about reading. I want to read about how reading improves peoples finances, but i’m too lazy to look for a study on the topic. My parents used to take me to bookstores every couple of months and let me go crazy and buy a bunch of books. I have now doubt about that helping me land multiple hot dates.

    1. J. Money May 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Haha… there are some pretty hot nerds at the library, actually ;)

  9. Jessica O. May 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I wonder how much/if the life span of currency has increase due to the increased use of plastic? — I rarely ever have cash.

    1. J. Money May 14, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      I’d imagine it surely lasts longer now, right? Would be an interesting study indeed :)

  10. SavvyFinancialLatina May 10, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I loved going to the library and reading. Since the age of 7 or 8, I would go to the library once a day and borrow a book. During the summer, I would borrow 8-10 books a week. It was awesome :)

    1. J. Money May 14, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Wow. Do you still read that much today? I bet you’re crazy smart! ;)

  11. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce May 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Interesting fact about the Secret Service; I doubt this accounts for much of their activities now! Actually, isn’t the FBI in charge of counterfeiting operations?

    1. J. Money May 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      I have no idea, but yeah – the Secret Service is def. doing different stuff these days, haha… I once applied to work for them if you can believe it! I dropped out after interview #2 (didn’t want to be a bike cop in the ghetto), but it was fun to think about for a while :)

  12. KC @ genxfinance May 13, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Wow, these are really interesting facts. That’s the thing with others, they don’t know that value of a bill and how much it costs just to create it.

  13. Anton Ivanov | Dreams Cash True May 15, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Kudos for finally realizing the importance of reading (online or off-line) :)). I grew up without a computer and barely any TV channels, so reading was one of my favorite entertainments from an early age. Can’t say I regret it!

  14. thepotatohead May 17, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    One of the cool factoids I found out about money was that there actually was a $100,000 bill made with President Woodrow Wilson on it. It was only used for transfers between the federal reserve bank though. I imagine if someone saw that in the street they would think its monopoly money as I had never heard of such a high denomination bill before.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      I can’t even imagine how much that would be worth…. I wonder if they’ve since destroyed them all or if maybe the Smithsonian or some place is showcasing it for history?