Piggy banks date back over 600 years. Back then, there weren’t any modern-style bank accounts, credit cards or tax forms, and people had no choice but to hide their money somewhere relatively safe. This often meant filling up an old container with extra coins.
Financial institutions have certainly come a long way since then, and these days, accountants are in higher demand than ever. According to the Department of Labor, the profession is expected to grow by over 15 percent over the coming few years. Not only that, but US News & World Report ranks accountancy at number three on its list of Best Business Jobs.
Still, such impressive statistics notwithstanding, the humble piggy bank has its place. Not only is it a powerful symbol of financial savvy, but it’s also a way for people to get thrifty and learn how to manage their money – both physically and virtually.
What better way could there be to embrace the modern age than a digital coin bank? Created by Taiwanese company i-Kiddo, the i-Piggy isn’t just a piggy bank; it also acts an alarm clock and comes with a key to prevent any premature break-ins. The i-Piggy keeps a tally of all the money that goes into it by identifying each coin as it’s put through the slot and calculating the total. One of its coolest features is that users can program it with a savings target, and once the objective is met, the i-Piggy plays some triumphant music as a reward.
9. Zombie Pig
Although this zombie pig is a little macabre, its grotesque, rotten face is sure to encourage saving. Who would dare break in? Zombie pigs may not be for everyone, but any accountant will tell you that saving can be crucial to survival.
Californian businessman Larry Gasper knows this all too well. After his tree business failed, a $14,000 tax bill caught up with him. Gasper paid off the sum thanks to donations of spare change and the contents of his grandchildren’s and daughters’ piggy banks.
8. Harry Allen Oversized Piggy Bank
This piggy bank is both elegant and charming. Made of metallic marble and resin, it was created from the cast of an actual porker, and it’s amazingly lifelike. It’s also a whopping 18 inches long, which means it would be a great bank for those with heaps of savings.
Etymologists think that piggy banks got their “piggy” moniker from a type of clay known as pygg, which was used to make household items in Europe in the Middle Ages. Although the word was originally pronounced, “pug,” as the English language evolved and pronunciations changed, the clay pygg and the animal pig began to sound almost identical as they were spoken.
7. Piglet Bank
To continue our historical detour, clever potters soon put two and two together and came up with pig-shaped pots. So it was that the piggy bank was born. Interestingly, the pig pictured above isn’t made of clay at all. It’s actually a real deceased pig that has been preserved. The taxidermic “Piglet Bank” comes complete with a slot for cash and a cork for removing the money later. Still, it may require some savings to acquire the bank in the first place, as it costs $4,850 and takes a year to manufacture. Animal lovers will be pleased to know that the piglet passed away naturally and wasn’t killed for the sole purpose of becoming a receptacle for coins.
6. Angry Birds Green Pig Piggy Bank
Historically, piggy banks weren’t restricted to European countries; pig-shaped banks have been discovered elsewhere in the world as well. A 650-year-old Javanese piggy bank once went on sale in Great Britain for nearly $10,000 – far pricier than even the taxidermied pig just mentioned.
Early piggy banks had to be broken open to remove the coins, so intact antique banks are difficult to find and very valuable. That said, nowadays most people are happy with something more contemporary and hip – like this cool Angry Birds Green Pig piggy bank, created by designer Starline.
5. Shapeways Customizable Money Pig
This customizable piggy bank is a Shapeways product and was created using a 3D printer. Made from sandstone, the bank comes in different shades and sizes and can have a photo printed on its side, so there’s no confusion as to whom the coins belong.
Interestingly, piggy banks are in higher demand when the economy is on a downturn. According to a 2008 Reuters article, the recession made piggy banks fly off the shelves.
4. Furf Design Studio Piggy Bank
As witnessed in 1982, economic downturns can serve as a real motivator to save. People during that era reacted to two nasty consecutive recessions by increasing their savings to over 11 percent of their disposable incomes.
In recent times, with low house prices and devalued retirement accounts, people have again come to realize the importance of personal savings – however small. Erin Mara of Washington DC-based design store Homebody says, “We definitely noticed a trend with the piggy banks. People were very upfront about the need to save…the pig is very symbolic of that sentiment.”
3. Recycled Aluminum Bottle Pig
Piggy banks can be eco-friendly as well. Artist Luitpol Ruiz Gaviria created this cool-looking metal pig using a recycled aluminum bottle. It comes complete with a twist-off snout to unscrew when it’s time to spend your well-earned savings.
Although piggy banks are useful and practical, they can be used symbolically as well. E&A Credit Union, for example, offers a Piggybank Account for children aged 12 and under. The aim of this account is to teach kids to be financially responsible from a young age. Instilling monetary awareness early on can really help people make better financial choices throughout their lives.
2. Pedro Ressig’s Reconstituted Leather Piggy Bank
PNC Financial Services Group uses the piggy bank idea as part of its Virtual Wallet money management system. The group’s “Punch the Pig” feature allows users to save spontaneously by “punching” (or shaking, if you own a smart phone) the virtual pig that pops up on the company’s user interface. The customer’s chosen amount of cash is then transferred from their spending account to their savings account. Punch the Pig is one of Virtual Wallet’s most iconic features, and according to one customer, it’s quite effective: “I throw every extra cent into punching the pig,” they say.
Saving a little bit of money often is an easy and effective way to put some cash aside for a rainy day. Moreover, good accountants can help clients to see where they can make simple savings without impacting their lives too heavily. As for our entry, Pedro Ressig used 100 percent reconstituted leather to make this piggy bank – and we think you’ll agree that it gets extra points for style.
1. Piggy Bank Robbery
If the virtual version of the piggy bank doesn’t quite cut it, there’s always Little Little Gifts’ Piggy Bank Robbery. The bank comes in three different colors (red, black and pink), and although it may arrive round and piglet-sized, it can soon grow into a prize porker. Once the pig is full, customers can order additional slices of meat to increase its size. The savings never need end with this unique and innovative banking system.
Bonus: Power Hog Piggy
Although it’s only a concept at this point, this piggy bank is far too cool not to make our list. Designed to teach kids about the cost of electricity, the Power Hog could act as a link between power outlets and household appliances like your TV or PlayStation. To get power, kids simply need to insert a coin into the pig. The coin will then activate the Power Hog, which will light up and allow the appliance to power up for half an hour. After that, it requires more coins.