Are you broke but still leave a tip?

Are you broke but still leave a tip?
22 April 2013

It is said that the word ‘money’ derives from the Latin ‘Moneta,’ named after the goddess Moneta who cautioned people in their financial dealings and protected prosperity. I would say that many of us still need someone to ‘monitor’ our money behavior.

In classic economics money is defined in three contexts:

It’s a store of value, meaning that money allows you to defer consumption until a later date.

It’s a unit of account, meaning that it allows you to assign a value to different goods without having to compare them (as you would have to with bartering).

And it’s a medium of exchange, an easy and efficient way for you and me and others to trade goods and services with one another.

In his book; Debt: The First 5000 Years, anthropologist David Graeber writes money in early ‘civilization’ was a way: “to arrange marriages, establish the paternity of children, head off feuds, console mourners at funerals, seek forgiveness in the case of crimes, negotiate treaties, acquire followers.” Money, then, was not for simply buying and selling stuff but for helping to define the structure of social relations. In a similar vein the German sociologist Georg Simmel described money as “pure interaction.”

Money of course is something that we all think about everyday, it is something which we need to keep a roof over our heads, put food in our stomachs, pay for the wonderful amenities of 21st century lifestyle and generally use to travel and have new experiences. It also has a fascinating history, here are just a few facts to broaden our understanding of the meaning and origin of common money terms and insights that may help us think about our ‘pure interaction’ with it everyday. 

Tip. When did you last tip someone? It is something most of us do regularly, but do you know where the word comes from? It stems from an 18th century acronym of: ‘To insure promptness.’ Surveys have shown that the majority, 54% leave a tip because it is expected, 10% out of pity (due to the belief that waiters, waitresses, taxi drivers and hairdressers were on minimum or low wage), and 31% for good service.

Broke. (In the sense of having no money). Many banks in post-Renaissance Europe issued small, porcelain "borrower's tiles" to their creditworthy customers. Like credit cards, these tiles were imprinted with the owner's name, his credit limit, and the name of the bank. Each time the customer wanted to borrow money, he had to present the tile to the bank teller, who would compare the imprinted credit limit with how much the customer had already borrowed. If the borrower was past the limit, the teller "broke" the tile on the spot.

Big. The largest banknote ever issued by the Bank of England was the £1,000,000 note, issued in 1948.

Buck. Before the days of paper money, Americans traded animal skins, including deer and elk bucks, for goods and services. Hence the word: "buck" to describe money.

Dollar. The word dollar is originally derived from German 'Thaler', and earlier from Low German 'dahler', meaning a valley. The connection with coinage is that the Counts of Schlick in the late 1400s mined silver from 'Joachim's Thal' (Joachim's Valley), from which was minted the silver ounce coins called Joachim's Thalers, which became standard coinage in that region of what would now be Germany. All later generic versions of the coins were called 'Thalers'.

Not paper. US Dollar notes are composed of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton.

Shame. Martha Washington is the only woman (other than allegories of Justice, Liberty, etc.) depicted on the face of a United States Banknote. Her engraved portrait was used on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891. Both Martha and George Washington are depicted together on the reverse of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896. However, it is also claimed Pocahontas appeared on the back of the $20 bill in 1875.

Allegedly. Apparently Visa can predict divorces based on credit card behavior.

Infograph – 10 fun money facts

What facts do you know about money that make you think about it in a different way?


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Head of Behavioral Finance
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