Sink into some funny money facts and weird financial statistics

Funny money statistics and facts are that even weirder than that Chevy Chase movie.

If you do a Google search for “funny money” you get some funny search results, outside the 2006 comedy. Our favorite results are the conflicting views on what “funny money” means. Merriam Webster says it simply means counterfeit money or money with artificially inflated value. The top Urban Dictionary definition says it refers to small denominations of bills used for tipping at strip clubs. By contrast, Collins Dictionary says it can refer to sums of money so large as to be unreal. Funny that it can mean so many things. In the world, it refers to financial statistics and personal finance stories that we find hilarious/baffling/unbelievable. You can find all our original Funny Money articles here, as well as some more funny money facts below. And just to note: This weekly feature evolved into our By the Numbers series; it features five weird financial statistics every week.

The 10 Best Funny Money Facts from Around the Web

#1: Small U.S. coins cost more to produce that they’re worth

A penny costs 2.14 cents to make and a nickel costs 11.18 cents. Oddly, a dime only costs 5.65 cents to make. So, it costs almost twice as much to produce a coin that has half the value. For the record, a quarter only costs 8.95 cents to make. And all these coins costs more than dollar bills. A one dollar bill only costs 5.4 cents to produce. Which begs the question, why are we still producing coins at all? When was the last time you found a vending machine that charged less than a dollar for anything?

#2: Your money is contagious… and not in the way you want

A study of dollar bills found that 94% of them were carrying some kind of virus or bacteria. That’s actually worse than the result of the same study on bathroom toilets. So, if you’re a germaphobe, pape money is not your friend. It might also mean that strippers getting all that “funny money” in the club may be building immune resistance the rest of us don’t have.

#3: Your money is also laced with cocaine

Another fun study conducted in 2009 found that 90% of the bills tested were laced with cocaine. Apparently, all the coke snorting enthusiasts in the country are highly active in currency circulation… or there’s more coke snorting enthusiasts than we think.

#4: Money doesn’t last… literally

A dollar bill has a short life expectancy of less than 6 years. A $100 bill only survives for about 15 years. The difference is probably due to the lack of activity in $100 bills – they tend to sit in cash drawers. By contrast, dollar bills get folded, written on, stuffed in things and swapped around constantly. Some money person with entirely too much time on their hands also figured out it takes about 8,000 folds before a dollar bill tears from use.

So, if you think all the disease and cocaine comes from so much time in circulation, you’re wrong. The money wears out, then gets new bills get printed to become infested with germs and illicit substances.

#5: More Monopoly money gets printed each year than real bills

Hasbro produces more paper each year than the Federal Reserve. Monopoly Classic still uses paper money, so they need to print more every year. By contrast, people are switching from paper money to credit and digital wallets. So, Hasbro prints more money… at least for now. The Monopoly Ultimate Banking edition that debuted in 2016 switched paper for debit cards. But diehard fans weren’t fond of the switch.

#6: Kids bank more than a few dollars now in allowance

The average American allowance is $65 per month, which totals up to $780 per year. That’s not exactly a sum that parents can easily deliver in small denominations. It’s more like that kids are receiving larger bills. In addition, parents with a mind for financial literacy may just be using student checking accounts and Direct Deposit. It’s the way most Americans get paid these days, so why shouldn’t it work for allowance, too?

#7: Kids are also banking more for their teeth

The Tooth Fairy index makes stock market predictions based on how much parents pay their children for teeth. In 2016, the price per tooth topped $4.50. Most of that is due to Millennial parents having no concept of a dollar to teach their children. A parent over age 45 will only give about $2.45, on average. By contrast, parents under age 35 (i.e. Millennials) give a whopping $5.40 per tooth.

Given that kids have 20 primary teeth to lose, that’s a big difference in price. Kids with older parents only earn $49 for their teeth, while kids with Millennial parents bank more than double that at $108.

#8: Writing on dollar bills is a crime

Title 18 of United States Code (USC) states that defacement of U.S. currency is a crime. The law states that it carries a penalty of a fine plus up to six months imprisonment. This regulation expressly prohibits bill cuts, mutilations, perforations, disfigurement and any attempt to glue or cement dollar bills together.

Funny enough, a second law protected our currency in 1981. The Crimes (Currency) Act carries a $5,000 and up to two years in jail. We did an internet search and found at least one case where a man paid a $500 fine for defacing 10 bank notes. We’re dying to know what he wrote that was so offensive for him to get charged under this obscure law, but the forum didn’t have the details.

For the record “perforations” would include anyone who sticks bills to walls using thumb tacks.

#9: Paper money contains 0% paper

Money is actually a protected, proprietary blend of 25% cotton and 75% linen. It’s basically closer to a t-shirt that it is a piece of loose leaf paper. The exact blend is the property of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If you try to copy it, it’s a crime… even if you don’t try to use it to print counterfeit money.

#10: Pablo Escobar wasted a lot of paper

There are a whole range of stupid money facts related to Pablo Escobar, the infamous drug cartel kingpin. These are our two favorites:

  1. Pablo Escobar spent $2,500 every month buying rubber bands to hold bricks of cash together in the 1970s.
  2. Those rubber bands did little to protect his bills from the rats infesting his money warehouse. They are about $1 billion per year in $100 bills for about a decade. So, Pablo Esocbar’s warehouse had about $10 billion in rat droppings when it was finally raided.