The Americans' attitude towards loose change is something I have yet to fathom.

I don't mean to pick on you in particular, enth. One of the things I find strange is the idea that change has some kind of value that one can get without working (and another prevalent idea is that change has no value). Assuming the money ultimately came from one's salary or wages, yes, of course one worked for it. Besides which, the change would have been worth even more if it had been spent. Think about it - say there's $100 in change over 5 years. That's about $20 a year that's been put into a jar instead of spent. If it had been spent, there would have been $20 less in withdrawals from the bank account each year. And that $20 would have been accumulating interest, so would have been more valuable. As it is, when one does not put in the small extra effort it takes to give correct change (or close to it) at the supermarket checkout, and one loses potential interest on that change. Counting the value does not make the value appear (it's a common mistake accountants make - numbers do not make reality), and depositing it now only starts the interest again when it could have been accumulating for years already.

There's more to reality than what one is aware of, I guess, and in particular there's more to worth than what one has counted.

Enth does have a point in that if one is aware that one has more money, one is more likely to spend it sooner - and money that is hidden or less accessible does *not* get spent. I had been making the assumption that when one spends money, the worth of what one receives is equal to the worth of the money paid. Now that I think about it, that's rather a stupid attitude. Visible money is spendable money, and the worth of saving money by making it invisible can outweigh the worth of having that money visible and earning interest, but being spent sooner so that both it and it's interest vanish. The flaw in my reasoning above is that if the $20 of change per year was spent instead of hidden, then there would have been $20 less in withdrawals from the bank account. That holds true only if one spends the same amount regardless of the money available at the time. For most humans, (including me,) that's not true.

/me understands a little better, and thanks Enth for making me think about it a little more.