One theme that emerged in the comments on my "Money Neurosis of the Week" post was that waiting for change of even one penny indicates that you have respect for your money. From the comments:
... he credits that respectful approach to money as one of the reasons he is wealthy...
... the penny probably doesn't matter much... but the stewardship attitude pays off on a larger scale because it affects every part of your life...
I think this is very true and very important. It's an idea I've gotten at a little in previous posts-- sometimes a penny is not just a penny, it's symbolic of your larger relationship to money.
It's easy to make fun of frugality-- it can seem absurd to worry about saving tiny amounts of money that even when you total up their effect over the course of the year, do not represent a large portion of your total budget. Sometimes people want to ignore trying to save pennies, preferring to instead focus on earning more dollars. But the two should not be mutually exclusive, and in some ways, saving pennies may be more important-- it's all about attitude.
Money is a powerful thing. We can do so much with it when we have it, and a lack of it can be so devastating. Most of us also spend a huge amount of our time working hard to get it! We all spend a good portion of our lives using money, and worrying about money. Even those who are born independently wealthy aren't immune to this.
If money is so important and so woven into our lives, we should respect it. Respecting your money means respecting yourself, your time, and the loved ones who may depend on you, or help you in hard times. It means respecting the freedom money can give you, and the power money can give you to help others. If I pick up a penny off the street, it's not about needing that particular penny-- it's about trying to value all money for what it can achieve. It's about remembering that I am not above having to be concerned about money.
You could take this too far-- this doesn't mean we should worship money, or see money as the only important thing in life. And it doesn't mean money can never be spent on frivolous pleasures. But by saving a few pennies, we can "practice" a mindful, respectful attitude towards taking care of our money, and hopefully it will help us take care of our dollars just as well!
What does respecting your money mean to you?