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Money to Burn

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So rich, they can make underwater money burn.
"Ahh, there's nothing better than a cigarette... unless it's a cigarette lit with a $100 bill!"
Krusty the Klown, The Simpsons

A Corrupt Corporate Executive, or another affluent and usually unpleasant character, sets a high-denomination bill alight to show that they have so much money that they can literally use it as disposable fuel without feeling the loss. Common variations are using a hundred-dollar bill to light a cigar or cigarette, or tossing entire stacks of bills into a roaring fireplace to keep the blaze going (though the latter can sometimes end up Justified in situations of life and death when there's no other source of fire fuel and characters are at risk of hypothermia — in those cases money-burning is less of a snobbish extravagance and more of a practical solution).

Other times, someone might burn the money not because they're so rich they can afford it, but because they want to send some sort of message. This one usually involves the money belonging to someone the burner hates with a passion, and so they decide to hit them where it hurts the most if it's some sort of business or wealthy person.

Note that destruction of money without due authority is illegal in most countries, so this also has connotations of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. May overlap with Death by Materialism if the fire becomes deadly.

Extra points if the character in question does this in front of a less affluent one. Especially if the poorer character just asked or even begged the wealthier one for money.

The Other Wiki has an article about this. As mentioned on said article, Do Not Try This at Home, because it's often illegal.

Not to be confused with Conspicuous Consumption, which is what this phrase refers to in real life, or Money to Throw Away, which is a much more philanthropic way to get rid of your cash.


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  • The Aachen-Münchener Versicherung (an insurance company) has several spots with Mario Adorf in which he is acting for a movie doing incredibly (and at least partially stupidly) dangerous stunts, accepting all the orders with a laconis 'OK'. To top it off, he gets handed a dollar bill (denomination hidden) and asked to light a cigar with it. His reply: "Nee, mit Geld spielt man nicht" (No, you don't toy with money).

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Speed Grapher, Suitengu smokes cigarettes wrapped in 10,000 Yen bills. Even worse, he crushes them underfoot after no more than four drags, then lights another in less than a minute. If that's not enough, at one point he nonchalantly sets fire to a whole briefcase worth of the bills. And then takes it to the most extreme, when he torches every last yen Japan has in a skyscraper. Note that Suitengu is actually doing all this out of revenge: Suitengu spent his entire childhood relentlessly abused by the ruling class, so he sets up the Roppongi Club to trick said ruling class into giving him most of their money in the form of cash so he can put it all in one place to burn it all while burning them in the process. That was not really his money Suitengu burns as cigarettes and in briefcases, but that of the fabulously wealthy people he despises.
  • One episode of [C] – Control has Kimimaro burning a huge amount of his Midas money as a point that he chooses the future and not money.
  • Elfen Lied: Nana uses the yen Kurama left her with for firewood. In this case, having been raised in a lab for her entire life, Nana simply has no understanding of the concept of money.

    Fan Works 
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: In chapter 11, Ceal makes Fang Fang pay him 9000 gold bars to repay a debt, and promptly feeds the gold to his pet necro demon Xarai, admitting that his family is filthy rich enough as it is and he wanted the gold just so he could take it away from the Huangs.
  • Palmer from Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged literally burns piles of money under the mistaken belief that it will let him buy parts of space. President Shinra puts a stop to it by entrusting Reeve with the Space division's budget.

    Film — Animation 
  • Batman: The Long Halloween Part One: Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent find a warehouse filled with cash belonging to Carmine "the Roman" Falcone. They can't capture the money due to corruption in the Gotham PD, so to keep it out of Falcone's hands they decide to burn it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Better Tomorrow: Chow Yun-Fat's Mark Gor does this with a counterfeit bill in one of the opening shots of John Woo's classic action film.
  • In the 1985A scene of Back to the Future Part II, The Pleasure Paradise logo has an image of Biff Tannen smoking a dollar bill.
  • In The Dark Knight, The Joker lights up a pile of hundreds of millions of dollars owned by a consortium of mob bosses,note  with the Corrupt Corporate Executive who laundered it all sitting on top. In this case, however, it's not about how much money the Joker has, it's about how little he cares about it.
    Joker: It's not about money. It's about sending a message. Everything burns.
  • Brazilian movie O Homem Que Copiava (The Man Who Copied) opens with the protagonist burning money - though it probably is In Medias Res, as the story has him using a photocopier to make money, and later regretting it.
  • The protagonist of When Worlds Collide (1951) does this, to the shock of other people in the restaurant. Of course, he's just found out that the world's going to end.
  • In Thank You for Smoking, when the original Marlboro Man threatens to sue the tobacco industry, Nick Nailer comes by with a Briefcase Full of Money. However, he doesn't accept the bribe. Nick then suggests that he go to the press, tell them that the industry offered you all this money, then dump it out of the briefcase and set it on fire. The Marlboro man then sheepishly suggests that he just burn half of the money - but Nick then tells him that it's an all-or-nothing deal. He then accepts the bribe, like Nick knew he would.
  • Used justifiably in Cliffhanger when Gabe burns some of the stolen money to keep himself and Jessie warm. The bills were headed for destruction by the Treasury anyways.
    Gabe: Costs a fortune to heat this place.
  • In Fast Five, Toretto and his crew use this as part of a Batman Gambit. They set one collection (around ten million) of Reyes' money on fire, so that he will move all of the rest to one location that they can then steal all at once.
  • Powerful Four have Liu making a deal with a foreign mobster, the latter who's boasting about his wealth and sticks an unlit cigar in his lips, and asks for a lighter. Liu retorts by setting a 100-dollar bill alight and giving it to the mobster.
  • The print ad for The Sting shows Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) lighting his cigar with legal tender.
  • Tiger Cage 2 has a scene in a karaoke nightclub where Donnie Yen's character, after getting his hands on a briefcase full of money, decide to spend it lavishly, including using a burning note to light his cigarette.
  • In Triple Frontier, after a team.of US ex-Mercenaries raid a drug lord's jungle house to steal his fortune, they hire a helicopter pilot to fly a huge bale of currency out of the country. When the helicopter crash-lands in a mountain valley, the men try to backpack the money to their sea coast rendezvous. However, they get freezing cold as they climb over the mountains, so they burn some of the money to keep warm.
  • Torture Garden: After his customers pass into the private chamber, Dr. Diabolo tosses the five pound notes they gave him into the burning brazier. This is the first indication that Diabolo is not the simple huckster he appears to be.
  • In Graduation, Jackson sets sets fire to cash awaiting destruction in the vault as part of his escape. It both covers the amount of money stolen, and sets off the alarms and sprinklers.
  • In a justified example, Rush Hour 2 has Carter doing this at his informant's restaurant to test a counterfeit bill, whose ink burns red.
  • Transit: When trapped in the hunter's cabin by the robbers, Robyn lights a bundle of cash and throws it in front of them: yelling that she will set fire to the rest of it if they don't back off.
  • Inverted in The Furies when the once-wealthy rancher T. C. Jeffords burns up a crate of the "T.C notes" that he uses instead of money because they're now worthless.
  • The original Ocean's Eleven (1960) concludes with all the money the team stole hidden in a casket...loaded with a body headed for the crematorium.
  • In Violent Night a character does this with some (though notably not all) of the money that the thieves were attempting to steal to to keep a dying Santa Claus warm in an attempt to save his life.

  • The protagonist in Erich Maria Remarque's The Black Obelisk starts the book off this way, lighting his cigar with a ten-mark note and kindling the wood stove in his workplace with several more. This being 1920s Weimar Germany, however, he's not doing it because he's rich, but because those notes are almost completely worthless.
  • In Agatha Christie's short story "The Soul of the Croupier", the Countess does this to the high denomination bill that the croupier arranged for her to win, because she will not accept his charity. He is her long-estranged husband.
  • American Psycho: One of Pat Bateman's friends teases a homeless guy with a dollar bill and then lights his cigar with it. Pat thinks he's a jerk but it's not worth killing him over — he likes the homeless even less and kills one later.
  • In Spider Robinson's Callahan's Legacy, a character who inherited a frickload of money decides to "combat inflation". He and his friends fold the bills into paper airplanes and send them flying into the fireplace.
  • At the beginning of Terry Pratchett's pre-Discworld book Strata, protagonist Kin Arad is uninterested in Jago Jalo's claims of an uncharted world where thought becomes matter, until he takes out a couple hundred thousand years worth of the life-extension tickets that function as the setting's currency and casually tosses them all into a trash disintegrator.
  • In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, Natasya Filipponva heard that Gavrila Ardalionovich would “crawl to Vassilievsky Island for three roubles”. She tests Gavrila by throwing a packet of ten thousand roubles into a fire, and telling him that if he reaches in with his bare hands, he can keep whatever he grabs.
  • Lazarus Long does this to a big bill in Time Enough for Love after his bank gets nationalized. He's trying to teach the mayor that money is a fiction and he shouldn't get too attached to the notes themselves. Lazarus then comments that that's what he usually does when the safe starts to get too full. Then he writes down the serial number so he can keep track of the currency in the system.
  • The Undertaker: Crossed with Couldn't Find a Lighter in Black as Death. When the townsfolk hand Barnaby a paper bag full of cash to pay for burning down his business, he sets fire to the bag and uses the burning bag to light a cheroot.
  • In Illuminatus!, it is revealed that a tactic of one of the Eristic (anarchist-Chaotic) groups, the ELF, is to weaken American society by deliberately destroying, by fire, banknotes and federal Reserve bonds. note . This may well have been the root inspiration for the Illuminatus!-influenced stunt by The K Foundation - see Real Life below.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Book of Boba Fett. When catching Pykes running spice through Freetown territory, Cobb Vanth gives them one chance to leave with their chest unopened; when they instead try to kill him, he kills three and orders the last one to leave the spice as payment for his life. The lone Pyke reluctantly complies, noting that the small box of spice is worth more than Cobb’s entire town. He snarks he might sell it and retire then. However, when left alone with the spice, he kicks the box over and lets the spice fly off into the wind.
  • In the shortlived sitcom Paris, one character does this, saying, "What's fifty francs to a man like me?". When told it's a one-hundred note, he promptly stamps it out, complaining that no one had told him.
  • Jonathan did this during his supervillain period on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It heralded his eventual death of course, since everyone on the show who smokes ends up dead.
  • All the disrespect, none of the flame: at the end of The Three Stooges 'Sing a Song of Six Pants', they're rummaging through a wad of $100 bills. Shemp comes across a $50, crumples it, and tosses it aside saying 'How'd that get in there?' The others wave it aside. Then they come to their senses.
  • In Father Ted:
    Fr. Buzz: 400 dollars?? You know what I do with $400? I wipe my ass with it.
    Father Ted: Good God. And can that still be used as legal tender?
  • Season two of The Wire: Ziggy Sobotka celebrates his having earned some money under the table by lighting his cigarette with a burning $100 bill. This isn't even the dumbest thing he does.
  • When Harry Enfield's Loadsamoney character appeared on Comic Relief, he sold someone a red nose for £5 (at the time the retail price was 50p), then blew his nose with the fiver and threw it away. He immediately got hit by a car.
  • One of the "bonus rounds" in the UK version of Distraction awards the contestant £5000 for winning the game - then for every question he gets wrong in this round, he must throw £1000 of it onto a wildly burning fire, where it must stay until the end of the round. A similar game is played with the money in toasters.
  • Lois & Clark had one episode ending with Lex Luthor throwing money at his fireplace at realizing (while his aide-de-camp tried to assure him differently) that he was "in love with Lois Lane".
  • Person of Interest. John Reese intercepts a mook carrying a duffel bag full of cash that was intended as a payoff for some dirty cops. He wants the mook to give him information about a murder and to show that he is serious he starts burning the money. The mook panics since his boss would never believe that someone was willing to just burn so much money; he would assume the mook stole the money and have him killed. With no other choice he tells Reese everything he knows.
  • On an episode of The Wild Wild West, Diabolical Mastermind Dr. Loveless burns the proceeds of his bank robberies on a bonfire to prove a point to his men, but one of them sneaks one of the hundred-dollar bills away and it falls into the hands of West and Gordon and puts them on the robbers' trail. When Dr. Loveless finally gets the bill back, he lights it on fire, then uses it to light his cigar.
  • Burn Notice
    • In "Friends and Enemies", a lawyer who has been marked for death by a biker gang offers the bikers all of the money he has in the world. One of the bikers empties the bag of cash onto the lawn and sets fire to it to show that this isn't about the money.
    • In "Unpaid Debts", Michael accidentally ends up with $10 million belonging to a criminal syndicate, which then takes a hostage to demand that the money be returned. Assuming that the gang would simply kill them all once they got the money, Michael douses the cash with gasoline and threatens to set it on fire unless the hostage is released. Then he ignites the pile anyway, and makes their escape while the gang is desperately trying to douse the flames. (It's later revealed that he did skim a few bundles of cash off before the meet, reasoning that neither the gang nor the cops would know how much money actually burned).
  • Breaking Bad
    • Season three opens with Walt piling his drug money on the barbecue, as getting it has cost him his morals, his relationship with his wife and caused hundreds of deaths. He chokes halfway through and throws it into the pool.
    • The second-last episode of the series has Walt hiding out in a cabin in the woods in New Hampshire in the middle of winter after his identity has been discovered and every law enforcement officer in the entire country is after him. He burns some of his money in the fireplace for warmth, because he literally cannot leave the cabin or else he will risk getting caught, so it's not like he can do anything else with it.
  • Hogan's Heroes has the Nazis set up a printing press inside the camp to make counterfeit money and wreck the Allied economies. After they destroy the press, the Heroes find that Schultz kept some of the money for himself, and Hogan sets it on fire with a cheerful "Always wanted to have money to burn" while poor Schultz looks on.
  • Red Dwarf. In "Marooned", Lister and Rimmer are looking for kindling to keep the fire going. Once all the books have been burnt, Lister burns the 24 grand that Rimmer has saved up. However, Rimmer is dead already and has no use for the money and even if he did, there is no civilisation left in which to spend it.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard had an episode where Boss Hogg made a deal with an elderly woman where she would get half the money up front — but Boss' idea of "half" was to literally cut the bills in half. To get Boss to give up the rest, Luke lit the woman's half on fire, which would make Boss' half worthless. He relents, saying "Burning money is against my religion."
  • On Stan Lee's Lucky Man Harry Clayton acquires a bracelet that makes him incredibly lucky. He wins a lot of money at a casino but then discovers that if he uses the bracelet's power for trivial or selfish reasons, it causes an equal amount of bad luck to other people, usually someone Harry cares about. Harry decides to burn all the money as a form of Loophole Abuse. Since he did not really benefit from the money yet, he was not really "lucky" and with the money destroyed, the bad consequences are neutralized. Afterward, whenever he gambles, he makes sure to leave all his winnings at the table and tells the other players to burn the money if they want to.
  • In the second episode of Mr. Robot's second season premiere, Fsociety makes E Corp's CTO, Scott Knowles, burn 5.9 million dollars in Battery Park while wearing the Fsociety mask or have their entire system bricked.
  • CSI: In "Neverland", a teenager makes $200 of the death of his friend. When another friend finds out what he has done, he attacks the teenager and then takes the money and burns it: considering it to be blood money and wanting no one to profit from it.
  • The Boys (2019). In the first episode, Billy Butcher convinces Hughie Campbell to accept a 45 grand compensation offer so he can plant a bug in the Seven's boardroom. Exhalant over having got one over on the superheroes who accidentally killed his girlfriend, Hughie rips up the check afterwards. Even though he's been using Hughie as a pawn, Billy is rather touched by the gesture.
  • Arrow. As part of their plan to destroy Star City's economy, the Ghosts are shown robbing an armored transport car only to burnt the money inside, sent by the Federal Reserve to prop up the local banks.
  • NCIS. Tony and Ziva are trapped by terrorists in a shipping container with a hidden compartment full of counterfeit money, and when the terrorists threaten to kill them, they decide to burn it to make the terrorists angry.
  • Keep Breathing: One of the few good things to come out of Liv getting onboard a smuggler's plane is she has a lot of cash to keep warm at night.

  • "Money to Burn" by Richard Ashcroft.
    • Possibly "Money Left to Burn" by German band Kettcar refers to that song.
  • "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic has the lyrics, "Take that money / Watch it burn".

    Music Videos 
  • The music video "Beautiful Dirty Rich" by Lady Gaga has her doing this with some rolled up bills as them being the cigar. Also just burns a 100 as well.
  • A situational variant in her "Telephone" video—she walks out into the prison yard with sunglasses blinged-out with lit cigarettes. Now, what is commonly used as money in prison?
  • In the video for "This is the Life", a filthy rich "Weird Al" Yankovic lights a cigar with a 100 dollar bill.
  • The video for Superdrag's "Sucked Out" ends with the lead singer lighting a cigarette with a $1 bill. Given the tone of the song to which the image is attached, this was likely meant to be symbolic.

  • Accidentally happens in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. When Johnny leaves Molly $300,000 in cash as a wedding present, she considers where in the cabin it could be hidden where a robber wouldn't think of looking for it. She decides to hide it in the stove, underneath some kindling. When Johnny comes home shivering, the first thing he does is light the stove.

    Video Games 
  • ANNIE: Last Hope, a game set After the End of a zombie apocalypse, have a cutscene where the titular heroine and a few survivors are in the Arctic, getting warm near a bonfire made of cash.
  • In Dead Rising 2, one casino features a "Game" called "Money to burn" that is quite literally a bonfire that you throw increasingly large amounts of money into for Prestige Points (experience). After you do it enough times, you are given a "Stupidity Bonus".
  • Fallout: New Vegas has a variation, where Legion denarius can be used to create "coin shot" rounds for 12-gauge shotguns. You can even sometimes retrieve the (now-mangled and useless) denarius out of the guy you shot with it afterwards.
    • Before that was Fallout 3's Bottlecap Mine, a craftable explosive weapon that uses bottlecaps, the series' usual in-game currency, as shrapnel. The head of a caravan company in New Vegas lampshades this, wondering why someone would actually want to waste money in this manner - though for the price (just ten bottlecaps plus the other components, most of which can just be found anywhere, for up to three mines which individually sell for a base of 75) and potential damage (five times that of a regular frag mine or grenade), it's actually a pretty good investment whether you intend to use them or just sell them.
    • Fallout 3 also allows this with the craftable Rock-It Launcher, which uses random inventory junk you've loaded into it as its ammo. Pre-war money technically still has some value, although mostly in the sense that vendors will just buy anything; you only get about ten caps for a stack of a hundred or so bills. That said, it's just as useful being loaded into the Rock-It Launcher, moreso than most other junk items as pre-war money is entirely weightless like regular ammunition. Even better is that you can usually retrieve the money after you've decapitated someone with it and load it back into the launcher.
    • Even worse in Fallout 4, as pre-war money is considered a usable junk item, which can be broken down into a single unit of cloth per stack. In other words, you are literally making beds and sofas out of them.
  • In Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, Kenshiro can receive a Briefcase Full of Money as part of an early-game Chain of Deals. The man who gives it to him says it's not even worth using as toilet paper, but would at least work well if set on fire. The new recipient of the briefcase comments on the irony of needing to burn money in a post-apocalyptic, post-capitalist society.
  • In The Forest, you can loot money from victims of the plane crash. But the locals aren't big on trade, so the only use for them is in building bombs (coins) or stoking a fire (bills). Until the endgame, when you run across some vending machines.
  • In Metro 2033, military-grade 5.45mm ammo is used as currency. As such, any fight where you use a weapon that chambers that bullet forces you to make the choice between using "dirty" ammo that is more plentiful but deals less damage due to inferior gunpowder, or military-grade ammo that does more damage but hinders your ability to purchase things.
  • Thermal Expansion, a Game Mod for Minecraft, includes a "numismatic dynamo" that converts coins into energy. There's even an upgrade that allows the machine to burn gemstones (and only gemstones) for a massive burst of energy. The reason this engine somehow works is because it's apparently actually a "portal to an alternate dimension of pure avarice" (which, given that the mod also features machines for creating enchanted books, magical elemental dusts and fluids, and other sorts of Magitek, is actually pretty plausible).
  • PAYDAY 2: The "Become Infamous" option is this. Each time you rank up to a level that is a multiple of 100, your ability to continue ranking up is nullified. In order to unlock the next hundred levels, you must spend $200,000,000 from your offshore account and burn all the spending cash in your safehouse. All for a little card. And stronger skill sets. And badass masks. Infamy levels above 5 don't incur the cash costs, however.
    • The "Firestarter" contract's name is taken from the fact that the main objective of Day 3 requires you to break into a bank vault to burn a large stack of cash. While videotaping it, no less, to send a message to the cartel that cash belongs to (you can't even steal any of it, since Bain claims it's tagged and "the feds would be all over us" if you tried). Less traditionally, there's also the "Money Bundle" melee weapon, which allows you to smack cops silly with a stack of $10,000 in hundred-dollar bills.
    • In the new safehouse, there is a button next to your vault that allows you to burn your offshore account's money. The button takes 15 seconds to press, to make sure you're really sure about doing it. Going through with it nets you a picture. And a trophy, worth 6 Continental Coins.
  • Liberal Crime Squad allows you to spend $250 to buy expensive props to brainwash conservatives. They are all single use (and randomly chosen), and include beating conservatives with "fists full of money".

    Web Videos 
  • City Nerd's "CityNerd Responds to Truck-splainers" makes a deadpan comparison between spending tons of money on rapidly depreciating oversized trucks to piling your money in the street and setting it on fire, and says he's happy to support your right to do both but that people should have a choice not to.
  • In his parody Kickstarter video, Jon Lajoie promises that if you pledge $50, he'll send you a picture of him jet-skiing while holding a burning $50 bill. That picture actually exists.
  • The Hire. In "Hostage", a man demands over five million dollars for a kidnapped female CEO. When the Driver turns up with a Briefcase Full of Money, he tells the Driver to throw it all on the grill of a lit barbecue. He then shoots himself when the police burst in a few moments later. Turns out he's a disgruntled ex-employee and former lover of the kidnapped woman. However the number of the ransom when written down turns out to be the phone number of the mobile phone he's left with the victim.
  • Joueur du Grenier: In the review for the Disney games, the Infogrames CEO lights a cigar with a bank note during the Villain Song.

    Western Animation 
  • Given some play in an early episode of Batman: The Animated Series: the Scarecrow and two of his henchmen break into the Gotham University's vault, which has a lot of checks and cash donations from the university's alumni fundraisers. Figuring he means to rob it, the henchmen set to work gathering everything up for transport; but then he tells them "Take as much as you can carry; we'll burn the rest." When they wonder aloud why he's not taking any for himself, he explains that this heist is about revenge, not profit: while he doesn't mind their getting themselves a nice big payday from the stash, his intent is to hurt the university as badly as he can for firing him.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Burns' Heir", an Itchy & Scratchy episode has Scratchy turned into paper, printed as $100 bills, and burned as cigar lighters at a tycoon convention.
    • In "Homie the Clown", Krusty lights a cigar with a $100 bill. Okay. Then he lights another with a copy of Action Comics #1, and later another one with a pearl necklace.
    • Alternatively parodied in "Homer vs. Patty and Selma" when Homer lights up a $5 bill to smoke a cigar to demonstrate his potential investment earnings. Then he realizes he's burning money, quickly extinguishes it, and adds it to the similarly-singed bills already in his wallet.
      Lenny: Wow, you've got money to burn! Or singe, anyway.
    • In "The Last Temptation of Krust", Krusty burns a bill out of protest. Chief Wiggum inquisitively asks "isn't that illegal?"
    • In "I Am Furious Yellow", a repo man points out that the then-recent Dot Com Bubble has burst, and Internet companies all over are going bankrupt. He says this news can only be good for the repo industry going forward and they'll never be in danger of collapsing...only to immediately pull out a bill to light his cigar with.
    • Evoked and subverted in "Hail to the Teeth", where Artie Ziff has reclaimed his fortune by selling fireplace logs that looks like wads of cash, under the name "Money to Burn". Homer found this hilarious.
  • Granny in the Looney Tunes short "Hare Trimmed" was a rich widow who would literally burn stacks of cash to heat her house, kept in a scuttle that was actually marked "Money to Burn".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Chocolate With Nuts", Squidward's Fancy Living Magazine features a High-Class Glass Fish burning a dollar, because he can!
    • In another episode, Spongebob and Patrick try to prank Mr. Krabs by burning a dollar, but he throws a bucket of water on it and the pranksters are revealed.
    • In "Pretty Patties", Spongebob and Patrick have no idea what to do with their fortune. Burying, shredding, and burning actually took too long! So they just gave it right back to their customers in large bags.
  • Title of a 1980s episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero , in which Cobra creates a device that can destroy paper money remotely, and plans to wreck the US economy by burning all of its paper money.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied by Le Grand Cigar in "Three Hundred Big Boys". Its' wrapper was a piece of the original U.S. Constitution. It was hand-rolled by Queen Elizabeth during her "wild years" and was buried with George Burns until grave robbing space mushrooms stole it. Bender then decided to steal it rather than pay its $10,000 cost.
    • In the same episode, which focuses on everyone on Earth getting a 300-dollar tax rebate, it's revealed that Mom (possibly the richest person on the planet) decided to use her rebate... as a handkerchief, blowing her nose on it while the bill protests. This comes as a shock to Zoidberg, who had thought his rebate was enough to make him truly wealthy.
  • Archer has Cheryl, the ditzy secretary, turn out to be the heiress of a family that made its fortune on the railroads. Once she comes into her inheritance, though, she won't pay back Cyril the $3000 he lent her because "that money doesn't exist anymore"—because she set it on fire to watch it burn.
  • Walter Lantz once made a version of the Elves and the Shoemaker where the shoemaker, after the elves helped him, became so wealthy he set a bill on fire to light some candles.
  • Played with in Family Guy when Carter literally blends $20,000 and drinks the resulting smoothie instead of giving to Joe's charity.
    Carter: In about an hour, I'm going to piss away twenty grand.
    Quagmire: What, are you gonna bet on the Knicks?
  • South Park: in "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Scott Tenorman burns the $16 that he scammed off Cartman so he couldn't ask for it back. This was a big mistake.

    Real Life 
  • The K Foundation Burn a Million Quid, an event where musical duo The K Foundation cashed out a million pounds of the money they had earned in royalties over the course of their career and burnt them in an abandoned boathouse with a couple of friends, with no explanation whatsoever.
    • Earlier, the K Foundation had set up a cash prize to award to "the worst artist of the year". Their shortlist was identical to that of the Turner Prize, which was going on at the same time. Amanda Whitehead won both the Turner Prize and the K Foundation's award. She refused the latter "prize", at which point the K Foundation threatened to set fire to the cash. Whitehead prevented the burning by accepting the prize at the last minute, stating that she would donate the money to charity.
  • This is one of the Bullingdon Club'snote  initiation rituals. Members are reported to have set fire to a £50 note deliberately in front of a homeless person.
  • A justified example: Germany's economy was destroyed after World War I, resulting in hyperinflation to the point that marks were more useful for papering bare walls than using as currency. It got so bad that the bills were worth less than what they could buy in firewood. In fact they even use the cash as kindle for fire. There were also more German bills in the United States than in Germany, due to them being sold to Americans as novelty pieces.
    • This is also true in places like Somalia, where the money is so worthless people need a wheelbarrow-load of it just to buy apples or bread. Most people just use the money for animal bedding or toilet paper.
      • Hyperinflation in general tends to cause this, as the paper money is literally worth less than virtually any other substitute. Ironically, when hyperinflated currencies are redenominated, the old, now even more useless banknotes and coins suddenly shoot up in value, not as usable currency, but as collectors items. Quite a few people in Zimbabwe have discovered that old banknotes from the discredited "Third dollar" series (best known for its 100 trillion dollar note, issued in 2009 just prior to its demonetisation) are now literally octillions of times more valuable in the eyes of foreign collectors, and have made sizeable amounts of cash in reserve currencies by selling the old money on to numismatics dealers who take the notes overseas.
    • One odd example during this period came from the practice of producing "notgeld" (emergency money) by town governments, local banks, and other sources not officially authorized to issue money. Notgeld wasn't actually legal tender, but within the locality it would be interchangeable with real money. Some notgeld pieces are now quite rare because the unusual materials they were made from left them especially suitable to burning as fuel once the emergency passed and non-inflated real currency (which the notgeld could no longer be exchanged for) was available. These include notes made from thin planks of wood instead of paper, and coins made from pressed coal dust. Once the hyperinflation period passed, most of these wood banknotes were tossed into fireplaces, and the coal coins were tossed into stoves.
  • One of the most famous stories told of Cleopatra is that she once drank a pearl earring dissolved in vinegar, purely to win a bet with Mark Antony over which of them was more wastefully opulent.
    • This is parodied in Asterix, where pearls dissolved in vinegar are Cleo's favourite drink.
  • Serge Gainsbourg famously burnt a 500 franc bill on TV at the height of his fame.
  • Back in the 1970s, poker player "Mad Genius" Mike Caro would get inside his opponents' heads by burning a $100 bill before playing a single hand, just to make everybody there think that money meant absolutely nothing to him.
  • The Aztec civilization used cocoa beans as one of its sources of currency. So when the rich and powerful drank chocolate...
  • A popular chemistry demonstration subverts this by soaking a banknote in aqueous isopropanol and setting it alight. If you've got the composition right, the note survives unharmed. The trick is that isopropanol burns with a bright but not particularly hot flame, and the water keeps the paper itself below its ignition temperature.
  • If you wrap a €50 note around your arm and press a lit cigarette against it, the note will not burn, but your skin will.


Video Example(s):


The Buck Chops Here

Itchy turns Scratchy into dollar bills and gives them to tycoon dogs to light their cigars with.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / MoneyToBurn

Media sources: