How little money can one have?

Besides having no money or being in debt, it seems that, in U.S. dollars at least, a penny would be the least amount of money it could be possible to have, but what about less than $0.01? First off, logically it makes sense that if a dollar could be divided into hundredths, it should also be possible to split it into thousandths. Instead of getting rid of the penny, like many have advocated for, maybe we should institute the millidollar, a coin perfect for when you don’t want quite a whole piece penny candy. Are there examples of something less than a penny in real life?

Of course there are. An everyday example can be found with gas prices, always with nine-tenths of a cent tacked on to the end to trick us gullible consumers.


Unless gas prices have somehow risen to $385.90 (knock on wood), gas stations have been using my millidollar for quite some time now. However, it doesn’t seem to ever be reflected in the purchase. The price is always rounded to the nearest cent.

In fact, all purchases seem to be displayed only up to the penny when typed or printed out. Checking my bank accounts, debit cards, and payment apps, I could not send money less than a cent and most of them wouldn’t even let me do that.

We must head to the horse’s mouth: the United States Department of the Treasury. However, the website is too dense and hard to navigate, so I head to an easier and more familiar site: And upon my arrival, the question is answered effortlessly and immediately by an extremely relevant and succinct Time article.

It addresses this topic completely, so I recommend reading that instead of my blog post. In fact, they do such a great job (makes sense, seeing as how they’re professional reporters and I’m not), that I’ll just stop here now.

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