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Things I Love About Poland #04: Money

25 Jan 2011
Polish bills
Polish bills. Photo by Niels Heidenreich.

This is the fourth installment in my series of articles called "Things I Love About Poland," in which I discuss differences between Poland and the USA. In this article, I talk about money.

American money is boring; it's all the same size and color! But Polish money is of various sizes and colors, so it's easy to know approximately how much money you have with just a quick glance in your wallet.

American bills
American bills. Photo by Tracy Olson

How do blind people in the USA know how much money they have? Honestly, I have no idea. According to this page, some options include: folding each denomination differently, or using a wallet with many dividers.

But blind people still depend on sighted people to initially decipher the value of each bill! With Polish money, there is no such problem.

Jar full of coins
My coin jar!

Coins in the USA are worth so little, I have few chances to use them. I tend to spend the bills and collect the coins. Then, every couple years I take the coins to the bank and they turn them into bills again.

But I love coins! I have a small coin collection with money from Russia, Ukraine, Israel, England, Canada and Jamaica - as well as some obsolete currency, including: Spanish pesetas, German deutsche marks and French francs.

Polish coins
Polish coins. Photo by Niels Heidenreich

In Poland, coins are actually useful. You can buy a lot of things with one-, two- to five-zloty coins. For example, when we lived in Cracow, a bottle of Tatra beer cost 2 zl at the store around the corner, and 20 bags of Grande mint tea cost 0.89 zl at Kaufland. A bus or tram ticket cost 1.50 zl.

When in Poland, be prepared to be asked for exact change every time you buy something, anywhere! This really irritates many people, especially foreigners who aren't used to it. But I love it, because it means that I get to use coins!

See also

Anonymous's picture

And they want to bring the euro to Poland. I hope that never happens, not only will it probably be bad for the economy but Poland will loose a little bit of its pride. Currency is one of the things that makes a country unique. I live in Canada and I agree with you, Polish money looks much cooler that Canadian/American.

Posted by: marcin (not verified) | Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 21:33
David Snopek's picture

I agree about the Euro. The pro-Euro people say that having the Euro makes the economy more stable, but it certainly didn't help in (for example) Germany or Ireland during the recent financial crisis!

I really don't understand how it makes sense to have a currency which is heavily influenced by factors in other countries while the economy is primarily influenced by local factors. The currency could go in one direction while the economy goes in another.

But I definitely understand how the Euro is good for international business! So, its probably being pushed by big business.

Anyway, with the way the Polish government keeps pushing the date for the Euro off, it might never happen. ;-)

Posted by: David Snopek | Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 06:11
Anonymous's picture

Nice article, and Very nice system you made. I can read your article about polish money, and troug the integration with BiblioBird, I understund it.

Posted by: Janusz (not verified) | Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 17:20
Anonymous's picture

Cool article. I come from Poland and I live near Baltic Sea. You should visit this place - amazing. :) I like the idea of the European Union, but I don't like to change the currency. I love "polskie złotówki" and "grosze"! ^^
Translate-system which you use here is very good thing. It's easy to read your posts.

Greetings from Polish!

Posted by: Tomasz (not verified) | Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 17:04