A Fun Benefit to Carrying Cash

Photo Credit: TaxCredits.net (Creative Commons)
Photo Credit: TaxCredits.net (Creative Commons). Image of piggybank with $100 note sticking out

Here is a practical truth that many of us have forgotten or ignored:

You Can’t Fill up a Piggy Bank Unless you use Cash

Is there value in that? Some may say no. That’s cool. Here’s a fun reason why I still say yes:

Did you have a piggy bank when you were a kid? Wasn’t cashing that thing in just the best?

My earliest piggy bank was Mr Potato Head. I collected bar codes from boxes of Cheerios and mailed them in to get a 3-inch tall Mr Potato Head replica. All it did was drop coins through its hat when you twisted its ear. But I loved it.

Image of gold piggy bank. Text reads A Fun Benefit to Carrying Cash

Fast forward twenty years.

Here is our current piggy bank. It is a pickle jar with a slot carved in the lid. I found it when I was 15, the day I inherited my big brother’s room. Sadly, it was not full when I found it. Thanks, bro.

Our Piggy Bank
Image of jar with coins.

I was never good at saving up until we got serious about our money together in 2010. I rarely carried cash before that.

We used cash envelopes to get control of our money and see where we were spending. You put your money in each labelled envelope for different parts of the budget. Once the cash runs out, you stop buying stuff.  

I explain in more detail here.

I discovered a BONUS benefit to carrying cash – my piggy bank was filling up quickly. Pretty soon I had Hawaii on my mind. Then we cashed it in – aaaaand I dialed my vacation aspirations down a notch.

Fun Things We’ve Done With Piggy Bank Money

  • In 2011, we cashed in our change and treated ourselves to a Japanese steakhouse dinner on our honeymoon.
  • In 2012, we used it for our 1st anniversary trip to Chicago.
  • This January, we used our piggy bank savings to throw our daughter’s 2nd birthday party.

We don’t know what we’ll use our pickle jar for next. Some event, most likely. It’s a great discipline – seeing it grow. Since I was little, I enjoyed dumping out my coins to count them. A bank teller in training.

Now we’re seeing that curiosity in our children. That’s fun.

E’s first piggy bank was an empty box of diaper wipes. She’d pop the lid open and close it over and over. If you want to get a piggy bank started and have kids in diapers, start there. Or try a spaghetti sauce jar.

Image of a child with coins in the container.

Describe one thing you saved up to buy, as a child, in the comments below.  Mine was a pink bicycle with pom pom handlebars.

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4 thoughts on “A Fun Benefit to Carrying Cash

    • That’s awesome, Meredith. The visual aid of seeing money add up is extra inspiring, don’t you think? Are you saving for any special occasion?

  1. My piggy bank as a kid was a cash register that counted the coins as you rung them in. The biggest thing I saved up for was a pair of roller blades when I was 13 ($75). I still have a piggy bank because we too are doing the DR baby steps (and teaching FPU). It has over $80 in it right now. 🙂 I also love to have coins in my wallet to pay with exact change at the checkout.

    • Miranda, we have a lot in common. I like having exact change in my wallet, too. Way to be patient and let your piggy bank grow. We get it half full ($40-$50) and we start bringing up ideas randomly to each other. “Hey, we could…you know…use the piggy bank money to go to the frozen yogurt shop…or get a pizza.”

      What did you do to earn money for your roller skates when you were 13? I love hearing stories like that, if you’re interested in sharing.