How Using a Piggy Bank Can Be a Legit Savings Plan

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

You’ve done it again. You go to pull something out of your purse and change goes flying—and you don’t want to crawl around on the ground to find it. Now that you think about it, you found some change in the bottom of the dryer this morning, too. And you might have seen some gleaming on the floorboard of your car earlier.

Frankly, change is a nuisance and often goes to waste. So why not take that change, and a few extra bucks, and throw it in a piggy bank? A piggy bank may seem like a juvenile way of managing your money, but it can actually be a really handy—and simple—way to start a savings plan. Just start dropping your change in a good old fashioned piggy bank and watch your savings grow.

Here’s how:

1. Buy a Piggy Bank

First things first, buy a piggy bank. The cuter the better! Make sure it matches your decor and that you’ll be happy keeping it somewhere front and center, where you can easily see and access it—you want to remember to add your change frequently. Of course it doesn’t have to be shaped like an adorable farm animal, anything that holds change will do, like a glass vase (or demijohn) or a wooden vessel.

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

2. Pick a Goal

Of course you can use your piggy bank to generally squirrel away money, but it can be really fun—and maybe even more motivating—to pick a specific goal. If you have a dream trip or an indulgent purchase you want to make, designate the piggy bank for only that goal. Another bonus: If your goal is more of a fun splurge than a necessary financial priority, a piggy bank savings plan is a perfect fit over more traditional saving methods—you don’t have to take money out of your paycheck or primary savings account to save extra cash towards a frivolous spend.

3. Be Consistent

A major benefit to the piggy bank is that it can keep you—and your pockets, wallet and car—from being weighed down with spare change. All of those seemingly worthless pennies add up! But if you forget to empty out your purse or pockets frequently, then a lot of that change will probably end up lost. Make it a part of your daily routine to round up all your loose change when you get home, or before bed. If every day is too often, shoot for making it a once-a-week habit, like on Sunday nights.

4. Boost it With Some Bills

To really see your savings grow, you’ll need to do more than just collect pennies. You can throw in the occasional spare dollar for a small boost, or consider taking on a bigger challenge: Keep (and don’t spend!) every $1 or $5 or $10 bill that crosses your hands—pick just one denomination—and take it immediately home to your piggy bank.

5. Don’t Touch It

Here’s the tough part: The next time you know you’ll be faced with a parking meter or a vending machine lunch, it will be tempting to raid your piggy bank for quarters, but you’re going to have to resist. (Instead, prep ahead and get change for your big bills—bonus: more coins for the piggy bank!) If you build the discipline to treat your change jar like a real savings account, your little nest egg will grow faster than you’d ever imagine.

Not a Cash-Carrier? Try a Digital Piggy Bank

If you always reach for your debit card instead of cash, try using a digital piggy bank of sorts. There are apps that will help you save your “change.” Some favorites are Acorns, which rounds up your debit purchases and invests the difference, and Digit, which uses an algorithm to transfer unnoticeable amounts (pennies up to several dollars) away from your checking account each day into a savings account you can withdraw anytime.

Would you ever consider skipping the bank and using a piggy bank as a savings plan?