The average life of a dollar bill is only 18 months. As such, new dollar bills have to be printed all the time to replace those that leave circulation (due to wear, et cetera). Ten dollar bills last about as long as one dollar bills.
It costs about 4.2 cents to produce a single US federal reserve note (the technical term for a “bill” issued by the treasury to be used as money).
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints about 16.5 million dollar bills every day, with billions of them in circulation at any given time.
Dollar coins (like the Sacajawea and the new Presidential dollars) cost a little under twice as much to make as dollar bills. On the other hand, the dollar coin has an estimated lifespan of thirty years.
That means that the cost of a dollar bill is about 2.8 cents per year, while that of a dollar coin is about one fourth of one cent per year. Put another way, dollar bills are costing us about eleven times as much in taxes as dollar coins, on a per-unit basis.
The answer is obvious: we need to start using dollar coins. I’m using them already.
The way I use them is pretty simple: every time I deposit a large check in my bank account, I withdraw $100. I get $20 of it in dollar coins. I make sure I have a few in my pocket every time I leave home.
When I break a larger bill and get dollar bills as change, I save the dollar bills until I’ve got a substantial wad of them, then I go to the bank and trade them for coins (or trade up to larger bills). I’ve even taken to “buying” dollar bills off the SigO when she has them, giving her a dollar coin in exchange for a dollar bill, to add to the growing collection of bills I’ll take to the bank.
You should do the same — maximize your use of dollar coins, and minimize your use of dollar bills — to reduce your contribution to the tax burden imposed on the general public by our government in the US.
You should use cash instead of credit cards for small in-person purchases, too. Maybe I’ll explain that one next time.