Before you embark on an online shopping journey to buy a piggy bank from a retailer, take a moment to delve into the origins of this charming savings tool. Close your eyes and transport yourself back about six centuries. According to Mandi Woodruff from Business Insider, in the Middle Ages, people stored their money in kitchen jars. When individuals had a coin or two to save, they placed them in “clay jars – a pygg pot.” Over time, the term “pygg” evolved with the English alphabet, eventually becoming “pigge” and, ultimately, “pig.”
Nowadays, a Google search for “Piggy Bank” yields numerous variations in shapes, sizes, and materials. Below, I provide some tips for your piggy bank purchase journey, which could also make for a thoughtful Christmas gift.
Tip 1 – Avoid ceramic or easily breakable materials.
Children, being full of energy and excitement, may accidentally fumble and break a piggy bank. Ceramic piggy banks, when broken, could cause injury to yourself or your child. Consider opting for a sturdy plastic or another hard-to-break material.
Tip 2 – Start with a single coin slot and progress to a piggy bank with multiple categories.
The classic piggy bank with a single coin slot is an excellent way to help your child practice inserting coins. Depending on their age, using the manual dexterity required to get the coin in the slot may be challenging at first. However, they’ll be delightfully excited when they finally master inserting coins and will likely be eager for more! Around ages 3-4, consider upgrading to the next piggy bank, which may have multiple categories such as saving, spending, donating/giving, and investing. Teach your child the meanings of each category and the importance of allocating money to each fund—knowledge that may last for a lifetime.
Tip 3 – Cultivate the habit of saving.
According to James Clear, “On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.” One effective strategy is to set a reminder on your phone calendar. Choose a specific day and time each week for a brief family meeting, lasting no more than 5-7 minutes, to reinforce the importance of saving.
Teaching your children about money using a classic savings tool like a piggy bank may not only help you bond with your child but also encourage money-saving habits that yield lasting memories.