smart spending

12 days of financial gift giving

The classic piggy bank
The classic piggy bank

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a simple place to store my money.

For many of us, our earliest memories of money revolve around our cherished childhood piggy bank, a repository of far more than mere loose change.

"It is the greatest tool out there because it's tactile; kids understand the idea of taking a coin and putting it in," says Linfield. "The idea is as old as time, and it's a great teaching tool. It's the beginning step of understanding that you're putting money away toward a goal."

What makes piggy banks so timeless?

"Studies show that with (children and) money, you have to give them an action immediately, not six months from now," says Levine. "If a child gets money, you don't want to say to them, 'Next week we'll do something with this.' You want them to do something with it right now that's fun and sticks in their mind."

When shopping for a piggy bank, our experts say to choose a transparent model, ideally one the child can build and customize.

"That's a great visual tool for a very young child because it shows them that the money literally gets closer and closer to the top of the pig," says Seaman.

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