It has been a bad week for sterling - at one point the pound dropped to its lowest level against the dollar for 23 years.
Its drastic decline has even prompted some City analysts to hint at of a crisis of confidence in our currency.
But is there an alternative to our beleaguered pound?
Well, yes. Small bartering collectives have been set up across the UK.
The internet offers people the chance to experiment with other forms of
currency - 40,000 Britons are part of local exchange trading schemes or
Lets - where members swap goods and services.
Mary Fee, from LetsLink UK, says the popularity of such schemes has surged.
"When economies collapse, people will inevitably turn to barter," she
explains. "This is what happened when the Soviet Union collapsed, this
is what happened in Argentina. "I'm sorry to say I think we're going to see hard times
in the UK. People will be down to what can I do, what can I grow, what
can I work out with my neighbours." Some towns are thinking of printing their own money.
Totnes followed the example of the BerkShares - a currency adopted by
towns in western Massachusetts in the United States, to support locally
owned businesses over national chains - by creating its own currency. It is not legal tender, but works in much the same way.
In the town of Lewes in East Sussex, for example, the local banknotes
have become part of everyday life.
More than 70 local traders initially agreed to accept the Lewes pound -
and now there are over 130 traders using it - as a complementary
currency to sterling. There are 31,000 of the Lewes pound notes in
circulation. The paper, real money paper, absorbs much of the cost
of the production. In fact, it is not the first time Lewes has
attempted the experiment: the town had its own currency between 1789
So what does the town think of the experiment?
Bill Collison, owner of Bill's Produce Store
I really do believe in the Lewes pound. I think the notes are beautiful
- and they make people more aware of their local community.
Lewes is a bit like an island and we're really proud of it.
There were a lot of sceptics at the start, but most have now been won
over. The Lewes Pound has really put the town on the map, even if it's
hard to say how much extra business it has generated. But even if it
brings in only ten extra customers a day, that's still ten worth
Susan May, owner of May's General Store
It has done what it's supposed to - encourage customer loyalty and keep local people shopping locally.
I really get the feeling that people here support it and want to see it
work. We see a steady flow of Lewes pounds through our till - sometimes
as much as 10% of our takings are in them. We always offer customers Lewes pounds in their change.
Of course some say no, and prefer to have English pounds - but many say
yes. Of course people can swap their Lewes Pounds for sterling anytime
they want. But many like to hang on to some for buying bits and bobs
around town. I certainly do and spend around £40 a week this way.
David, travelling busker
I'm not from Lewes and only found out about the local money when
someone dropped a Lewes pound in my hat. At first I thought it was a
joke, but when I heard it was real money, I was much happier. I haven't spent it - just kept it. I don't know why really.
It's a nice souvenir I suppose. It certainly wouldn't buy me much round
here. Maybe I'm hoping someone will offer me two quid for it one day…