Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

How Much Does it Cost to Manufacture U.S. Paper Money? 

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

To make money, you gotta spend money—and no one does this to better effect than the Federal Reserve. In fiscal year 2014, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing created 6.9 billion paper notes, with a total value of $130.1 billion, which adds up to about 24.8 million notes a day. That might seem like an enormous amount to be adding to the pool, but in fact, more than 90 percent of the notes are used to replace ones already in circulation (or recently taken out). It never stops, either: In the current fiscal year, the BEP plans on making 7.2 billion notes, valued at $188.7 billion, a 20 percent increase from last year. It’s just a fraction of the total amount of money currently circulating—about $1.37 trillion as of June 4, 2015—of which $1.32 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes.

So how much money is it costing the government to produce all that dough? Well, $1 and $2 bills cost 4.9 cents per note to make, while $5 cost 10.9 cents, $10 cost 10.3 cents, both $20 and $50 bills cost 10.5 cents, and $100 bills cost 12.3 cents. In other words, the more it’s worth, the more it costs to produce.

While each individual note costs a fraction of what it's worth to produce, those bills do add up. Not to mention raw materials: Between the facilities in Fort Worth and Washington D.C., about 8.9 tons of ink was used each day in the last fiscal year. When it’s all said and done, if the new currency budget is an accurate prediction, the Fed will spend about $717.9 million this year alone.

Graphic by Chloe Effron

(And yes, the $10,000 bill is a real thing. It's officially still legal tender, but the Fed discontinued them in 1969).

Graphic by Chloe Effron

After all that effort and money, the government does its best to make the bills last—which includes laws against defacing currency. You can’t draw on, cut up, glue anything on, disfigure, perforate, or otherwise mutilate currency under Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Such actions could land you with a fine and/or jail time. If you have any doubts about the severity of this fact, we can attest to its reach. Pulling a bill into Photoshop (for purely digital and educational purposes) yields this alert: “This application does not support the editing of banknote images. For more information, select the information button below for Internet-based information on restrictions for copying and distributing banknote images or go to www.rulesforuse.org.”

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Expedia Just Made Its Vacation Bundle Deal a Lot More Convenient
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Saving money by booking your hotel and flight together sounds like a no-brainer—until it actually comes time to do it. Picking the right accommodations for a trip requires a lot of research, and if you're in a rush to do it at the same time that you're comparing airfares, you may end up stuck with a choice you regret. Now, Expedia is taking the stress out of its vacation bundle offer by letting customers book flights and accommodations separately. As Travel + Leisure reports, customers can take advantage of the deal as long as they choose a hotel sometime between booking a flight (or rental car) and their first day of vacation.

Previously, Expedia customers looking to save hundreds by bundling had to purchase their plane tickets and reserve hotel rooms at the same time. Not only does that require a lot of planning in a short timeframe, but it also requires you to pay a significant chunk of your vacation budget up front. And while international flights are cheapest when booked months in advance, the same can't always be said for hotels, which sometimes show their best prices at the last minute.

Expedia's update relieves a lot of the pressure from the decision-making process. When users book their flight, they will now see an option labeled “Expedia Add-On Advantage.” If they also plan to find their hotel through Expedia, they can select the offer and reap the savings, even if they don't book it immediately. According to the company, customers can save up to 43 percent on hotel prices as long as they book a room before their flight leaves.

Gearing up for your next vacation? If you want to travel on a budget this summer—or any time of year—we suggest following these tips.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
$2.5 Million in World War II-Era Cash Discovered Beneath Winston Churchill's Former Tailor's Shop
Evening Standard, Getty Images
Evening Standard, Getty Images

A valuable secret has been hiding beneath the floorboards of a sporting goods store in the UK since World War II. As the BBC reports, about £30,000 in roughly 80-year-old British bank notes was unearthed by a renovation project at the Cotswold Outdoor store in Brighton. Adjusting for inflation, their value would be equal to roughly $2.5 million today.

Owner Russ Davis came across the hidden treasure while tearing out decades-worth of carpet and tiles beneath the property. What he initially assumed was a block of wood turned out to be a wad of cash caked in dirt. Each bundle held about £1000 worth of £1 and £5 notes, with about 30 bundles in total.

The bills are badly damaged, but one surviving design element holds an important clue to their history. Each note is printed in blue, the color of the emergency wartime currency first issued by the Bank of England in 1940.

At the time the money was buried, the property was home to the famous British furrier and couturier Bradley Gowns. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife, Lady Clementine Churchill, were reportedly regular customers.

The reason the fortune was stowed beneath the building in the first place remains a mystery. Davis imagines that it might have come from a bank robbery, while Howard Bradley, heir to the Bradley Gowns family business, suspects it might have been stashed there as a getaway fund in anticipation of a Nazi invasion, as he told the New York Post.

The hoard will remain in the possession of the Sussex police as more details on the story emerge.

[h/t BBC]

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