Sick of the Dollar? Print Your Own Money

Here’s a quirky idea that’s starting to get a little serious: Communities around the country are printing “scrip” at the highest rate since the Great Depression.


Behold the “Plenty” an alternative currency printed and exchanged exclusively in Pittsboro, N.C., population 2,500. A couple dozen Pittsboro stores accept it as a dollar alternative, like the local feed store and a produce co-op.

The idea is nothing new… we’ve chronicled scrips like the Ithaca HOUR and Western Mass’ BerkShare for some time. Both have millions worth in ciculation.

But according to the LA Times, scrips haven’t been this popular since the Great Depression. They’ve gained significant traction in New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona and Massachusetts, with many more communities beginning to experiment.

And we’re noticing a decidedly less hippie, more snarky feel: “The Plenty is not going to get siphoned off to Wall Street,” says B.J. Lawson, president of The Plenty co-op board, “or Washington, or make a stop in Bentonville on its way to China.” In Mesa, Ariz., locals are using Mesa Bucks to essentially stick it to the man… bring a sales receipt from inside city limits to the local arts center and they’ll give you a percentage of your sales tax back in Mesa Bucks.

So much for “E Pluribus Unum”