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Penny-pinching budget cuts

Government agencies have been charged with lightening the country's debt load. Here are six of the quirkiest tricks.

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A penny saved...
A penny saved...
Savings: $150 million per year by reducing material costs.

Think about this when you're rolling up your change: The government spends 1.8 cents to make one penny and 9 cents to produce a nickel.

Because metal prices are volatile and have shot up lately, the cost to make these two coins is more than what the metal being used to make 'em is worth -- by as much as $100 million a year.

So the government is loosening up its rules for what metals are used to used to make coins. Using cheaper metal should help bring the cost of making one penny closer to, well, one penny.

-- CNN's Scott Spoerry contributed to this report.


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Last updated February 01 2010: 4:33 PM ET
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