Have you ever used a piggy bank? Many of us have used one, seen one, or heard of one. Piggy banks are little (some are big), usually plastic, pig shaped money storage containers. The purpose of a piggy bank is to save money, usually coins. I had a piggy bank when I was a kid. (I actually, still have one now, but it is more for nostalgic decoration than money saving.)

How much money do I have?

When I was younger, I would put all my coins in a piggy bank. When the pig was half full, I wondered how much money is in there? I came across the same thought when the pig was a quarter full and 3/4th full. I always wondered, how much money do I actually have?  It looked like a lot, but I could never be sure. I had small pink piggy bank, that was just translucent enough for me to see the copper and silver shining through. At times I would want to buy something, a new toy, a snack from the store, or ice cream from the ice cream truck, but I had no clue how much money was actually in my piggy bank.

I had two choices at this point.

Choice 1: I open the bottom of my piggy bank, before it was full. Count all my coins and take just enough to buy what I wanted.

Choice 2: Wait it out. Wait until the piggy bank could not hold another dime, then count all the money.

These choices were difficult for me to make. If I acted on my first instinct (choice 1) I might not have had enough money to purchase my impulsive desire of a snack or ice cream. I also would have prolonged a savings goal. Some people have a goal for the amount of money they will save with their piggy bank. Choice 1, involves taking money from a big savings goal and put me at risk of not saving enough and/or having to save for a longer period of time.

Choice 2, may not be better than Choice 1. If I were to wait it out, I would miss out on my snack or ice cream. Of course I could ask my parents to buy it for me, but that takes away from my independent spending and saving education. Then there is the big question. Will I have enough money after waiting it out? If I have a goal of saving $25.00, does my piggy bank hold $25 in coins? Will I have more than enough money and be able to buy my snacks, ice cream, toy and whatever it is I initially started saving for?

Having a piggy bank was a lot of fun, when I was a kid. Now that I am older and can look at all the different problems that could arise when using a piggy bank to save.

I never knew how much money was in the Pig.

If I had a hard plastic or ceramic Pig, I would have to break it open to count my money. (Soft plastic Piggy Banks are more common today).

Often, I was not saving for a goal.

If we were to think of a Piggy Bank as an actual bank location, like Bank of America or Wells Fargo, we would be appalled by how little we actually get from having a Piggy Bank.

Here’s a humorous tale of Jessica trips to the PIGGY bank.

Walking up to the teller, Jessica grabs a lollipop. She has been saving all year for a new bike. The bike cost $38.00 and she thinks she’s pretty close to her savings goal. She looks at the teller and says “Hi, I would like to know how much money is in my bank account?”

The teller smiles, then looks up Jessica’s name in the bank database. “Oh, I am sorry, we don’t keep bank totals for our customers who have Piggy Bank accounts” says the teller.

“How am I going to be able to find out how much money I have saved?” Jessica asks.

The teller replies, “I can bring you to your Pig and you can crack it open to see how much money you have. You will then have to pay $2.00 to buy another Pig, if you wish to continue saving”

A loud crack, followed by the sound of coins hitting the table could be heard from the banks safe. Jessica collected the coins that had rolled all over the floor of the safe room. She organized the bills, quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies, then she began to count. It took her hours to find out how much money she had. She needed $38.00, but by the time she finished counting, she only had $32.10. She was just $5.90 short and she had to pay for a new Pig. Jessica could have saved time and money, if there was a way for her to check her savings without counting the money in the Piggy Bank. It is important that while saving, children are able to track their money.

Bank accounts for children allow the parent and child to know how much a child has saved. There are several banks that allow adults to open savings accounts for children. You can learn more about real kids bank accounts by reading the Money Munchkids article “All About Kids Bank Accounts”.