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What Piggy Banking Taught Me?

Teach your kids the importance of money, start with piggy banks then get them a savings account later when they are ready. Let them understand the basics of savings before infusing a more complicated concept.

17 November 2008

What Piggy Banking Taught Me?

Do you remember if you were piggy banking while you were young or growing as a kid? Think about it! Most adults have fond memories about their childhood piggy banking adventures. Later in life, these adults would tell children their personal stories on how they were first introduced to saving money using piggy banks to encourage the habit of saving. This practice continues to live on even in this time of modern-day banking, though historians speculate that the concept of a piggy bank started in England during the Middle Ages. It may come in different forms, classical or modern yet the principle remains the same.

Let me tell you my personal story then…

At an early age, I was told that if we want to buy something we have to save for it. At first, I find this a bit obscure since if my parents or relatives want they can anyhow set aside an ample amount of money to buy the things we always desire to have as long as we don’t cross the family’s financial boarders. Little did I know what they were trying to instill in us was money management lessons. Because I was so persistent, I asked them how such a kid like me could possibly save money and buy for the things I like to have. This argument led the way to my early training on piggy banking.

Alkansya is the Filipino term for piggy bank. It may come as the literal pig-shaped jar made from ceramic, porcelain, clay or in various innovative types such as empty containers from evaporated milk, baby powder, coconut shell, wide-mouthed bottles, a portion of bamboo trunk, etc. It has an overside opening to where the coins are inserted. Traditionally, it must be broken open in order to retrieve what has accumulated.

From the meager baon (allowance) I regularly received, I had to save a few cents for my piggy bank religiously. "Make sure you stuffed it up." My aunt Tintin even reminded me one time. Stray coins lying on the road or elsewhere, earnings from different errands and gifts from loving uncles and aunts also went into my piggy bank. Unspent money from my birthday and Christmas gifts likewise found their way into my piggy. It was tough at first but it always thrilled me every time I dropped a coin. In no time, regular dropping became a second nature to me. Days went by, only when the piggy bank got heavy, did I gather up the nerve to shatter it to find out what I have amassed after a long period of sacrifice. Then I spent hours thinking of the best way to make that money last. I wanted to get the most out of it. I forgot that the reason for this exercise was for me to buy everything I want. I was determined because I had a goal to fulfill. But then again, the goal was not to spend but to save. I think that was how I first learnt about the value of money. It is hard to earn money and therefore I just need to be mindful on how I should spend it wisely.

My inclination to save using piggy bank continued until I was ready for something big. Something for the teenagers, so to speak. This time I was introduced to the real world of banking. My aunt Isabel who was an entrepreneur and often went to bank to carry out various transactions guided me to open my first savings account. I was in ecstatic mode while I was telling my father and mother about the experience. They reminded me, however, that while saving brought enjoyable training to me I should also imbibe good spending habits and bring these lessons along until the day I mature. They even pointed out that with this wisdom I could not go wrong with my personal finances.

Today as I look back, I exactly know why managing personal finances have never been a big deal to me, only because piggy banking taught me many lessons I carried on while I was growing.

So if you are trying to teach your kids the importance of money, start with piggy banks then get them a savings account later when they are ready. Let them understand the basics of savings before infusing a more complicated concept. This is a great way of developing in your child an appreciation of the value of money. Create the “money-smart” attitude in your kids and watch them start financial planning at an early age.

Do you have exciting stories to share about piggy banking? Why not share them with us?

By the way, did you know that piggy banking also applies to adults?

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Photo Credits: Piggy Bank