It’s a rite of passage to give children a ‘piggy bank’ as their introduction to money management, but you may not know this tradition dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.
While the precise origin of the piggy bank isn’t known, it’s generally believed to have originated in medieval Europe around the 1500s.
The concept likely came about as a result of an orange clay material called “pygg” which was commonly used for household objects, including pots to store coins, at a time when metal was in short supply.
Despite their questionable diet and hygiene habits, pigs were also considered symbols of good fortune, fertility and prosperity – particularly by cultures in Germany, the Netherlands and Southeast Asia.
We can speculate that from the similar pronunciation, this progressed to some savvy potters making quirky pig-shaped money containers – and so the idea of a ‘piggy bank’ was born.
Benefits of using a piggy bank to teach basic money skills
Not only do piggy banks provide a simple and effective vessel to store money, they are also a tangible educational tool made fun for children in the shape of a familiar animal.
Of course – the concept has now evolved considerably from terracotta pig-shaped jars for holding coins, but the key financial literacy concepts remain prevalent in modern society.
As a physical object, they provide opportunity for us to teach the value of goal-setting, budgeting and the overall importance of money management in a time when most of our banking is done without material cash.
For kids especially, they are a great introduction to the idea of consciously ‘saving’ funds by having a slot on the pig’s back which makes putting money in easy, but getting it back out much more difficult.
So despite a growing trend towards digital banking and cashless transactions, let’s not forget the importance of the piggy bank and instead continue to use it as a tool to encourage good money habits.
Want to start building your child’s financial literacy?
Not only is good money management an important life skill, but upgrading from a money box to a tailored youth bank account is a great way to introduce financial responsibility.
*Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.