When was the last time you spent a penny? As exact change becomes uncommon and more little copper coins build up in jars, you may question how useful the one-cent wonder really is these days. Apparently, the answer is very useful indeed.

Billions of pennies are minted every year – that’s millions per day, or two thirds of all the coins produced. Some old pennies are worth thousands of dollars, and the pre-1982 ones are rich in valuable copper.

Pennies are still legal tender, but instead of carrying them around, many crafty individuals have come up with clever ways to use them, aside from paying tolls in Illinois, that is.

  1. If you have a slug problem in your garden, bury some pennies around your plants! Slugs get a little electric shock from copper and zinc, the penny’s main ingredients.
  1. When your flowers come inside and into a vase, that algae that builds up in the water makes them wilt faster. Copper is a natural algaecide, so put some pennies in the water to keep flowers fresher, longer. Apply this one to all your annoying algae problems.
  1. Wrinkly curtains are no problem if you make a little hole in the bottom hem and slide in a couple of pennies. They’ll be just enough weight to keep your curtains straight.
  1. Not sure if your tire treads are too worn? That little copper Lincoln can tell you. Lincoln’s head is one-sixteenth of an inch from the edge of the coin, which is the minimum recommended depth for your treads.
  1. If you need to spread out the holding force of a nail, pound that nail through a penny for a wider surface area.
  1. Pennies are shiny, warm, textured, and vary in tone as they age, so either layered like scales or tiled like, well, tiles, they make a super cool decorative revamp for a picture frame, table top, or other pieces of home décor.
  1. This seems far-fetched, but it really does work. Flies are summer’s annoyance, but sticky flypaper is not exactly attractive in your garage or beachy restaurant. Here’s what you do: Take a zip-lock back and fill it halfway with water. Put a penny in the water, seal the bag, and tack the top of the bag flush to the doorway or window where the flies get in. The refraction of the light on the penny looks to a spider web to a fly, so he’ll avoid crossing it. True story.

Canada and Australia have stopped making one-cent coins altogether, and here in the USA, they cost more than a penny to manufacture. Why keep making them? Because in order to make up the amount of currency pennies cover in their absence, we’d have to make more of other coins, which are even MORE expensive.

So they’re not just projectiles and replacement checkers, after all. In fact, if you play double your money, you’ll see how much value one cent can generate. If you begin with one penny on the first day of a month and double your money every day, at the end of a 31-day month, you’ll have $10,737,418.24.

You’re going to need a bigger jar.