Cool Piggy Banks: An Illustrated Guide To Savings Devices

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-11-2628

This is the type of stuff that wakes up the collector in me.

Want to teach your kids the value of a buck? Well there are a lot of ways to do it and we present you some of the more creative approaches. What do you think of a bank that explodes if you don’t save often enough? These new-fangled banks are much more interactive nowadays and use all kinds of incentives to get you to save, including the fear factor!

This gave me the idea of featuring some of the most interesting saving advices here for your amusement. Since I’m on the lookout for something fun and entertaining enough to help me broach the subject of basic finance to my young school-age child, I’ll most likely pick out one of these banks as a Christmas gift. Heck, I may get a few more as gifts to all the other young kids I know (I have a huge extended family)! 🙂

So here it is in all its glory…. the Illustrated Guide To Fun Novelty Piggy Banks for the Young and Old!

Banks with Counters

Most innovative piggy banks seem to come manufactured from Japan, the home of some of the coolest gizmos, gadgets and really interesting novelty items out there, and a country whose citizens pride themselves on having a historically impressive savings rate.

This bank counts your yen (yes, unfortunately it only takes Japanese currency) giving you some idea of how much you’ve already saved. You can screw this “Life Bank One” counter on a bottle top and drop your coins to activate the counter.

Piggy Bank Yen counter
The Life Bank One Yen Counter

For U.S. coinage, you’ll have to turn to this Pig E Bank, which only recognizes and counts pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

Here’s another coin counter which, as far as I know, does not discriminate and accepts any currency: the DigiBANK comes styled as an attractive pig or panda (again made in Japan). It shows a running total of what you’ve saved so far, on its LCD screen.

Digibank Pig and Panda

Coin Eating Banks

This is the type of bank that will pique my kids’ attention. Banks that eat your coins may not possess the highest educational value (say, compared to the Money Savvy Cow or Pig), but it’s pure entertainment and will no doubt keep my child shoving coins in them any chance he gets.

These colorful Gobble Monster Banks are true to their name. Visit this video for a demo of how these banks work.

Gobble Monster Banks
Gobble Monster Banks

If you’re looking for something different, oddly humorous and provides a bit of action, this creepy bank with a face may be for you. This one is highly interactive and I’m on the hunt for this item as a gift for my older child this Christmas. But after seeing these various videos where I caught sight of its beady eyes, I’m having second thoughts… What do you think? It’s been called “peculiar”, “bizarre”, even “disturbing” — it sort of is, when it’s doing its thing.

weird coin eating bank
Banpresto’s Face Bank

Banks That Hold You Hostage

These banks try to coax you into saving money by “threatening” you to comply to its wishes or else it does something “naughty”. Would you be “scared” or irritated enough to feed your bank a coin or two to stop it from acting up?

The Banclock claims to be a devious combination of Bank and Alarm Clock. It performs a dual function by acting as a clock and sounding its alarm whenever you set it to go (should be a good thing to get you out of bed). You can only shut it up by feeding it a coin.

bank and alarm clock, banclock
Personal Bank + Alarm Clock = Banclock

Tomy’s Exploding Bank is one of the most innovative banks that have hit Japan recently, requiring you to add coins to it regularly (e.g. every day) or it decides to blow itself up. If you fail to save any money through this bank for a period of time, it explodes — leaving you with scattered coins. As the company claims: “Users must pick up and collect the scattered coins and reflect on their laziness.” Fun concept, which you can see in action here.

Exploding Bank
Tomy’s Savings Bomb, The Exploding Bank

Here’s another bomb-shaped bank called the ‘Superbitus’ Bomb Bank a creation from Art Lebedev Studios. It is described by its designer as “a one-piece bomb-shaped plaster-made money-saving box.” Anyway, you can buy these bomb-shaped banks, write your goals on them then when you’re ready to get the money from within, you break the banks by “dropping the bomb”. I’m not sure if they’re art pieces or real banks — maybe both, but I fail to see how useful they can be if they can only be used once: it’s somewhat annoying since you can only get your money out of it by breaking it open. Another downside: expense — especially if you decide to use one bank per goal or get a new one after you drop it on its nose.

Superbitus bomb bank
Superbitus Bomb Bank

Banks That Simulate Life

I suppose this was an attempt to appeal to little boys or sci-fi fans out there. Why not take a sinister looking robot and turn it into a talking bank?

Robby The Robot is the thing on the left — “it talks fast, tells the time and takes your spare change.” It mutters classic movie lines it quotes from its participation in the 50’s show “The Forbidden Planet” — a fun blast from the past. The gizmo on the right is from Sharper Image and is another talking robot bank that — surprise, surprise(!) — ALSO talks, counts and tells time but has more juvenile, mundane language. There seems to be no shortage of these things around.

Robby the robot bank

Robby The Robot Talking Bank
          Sharper Image robot bank

Sharper Image Talking Robot Bank

Now that we tackled robot banks, why not check out the bank inspired by the popular Japanese virtual pet (remember the Tamagotchi)? The Jinsei Ginkou (or Bank of Life) from Takara Tomy is also called the “Tamagotchi Bank” since it has one of those console looking screens that reflects the virtual lifestyle of a virtual man. When the bank is empty, the man lives in a tiny, unkempt hovel and as you add more money to the bank, the virtual character on the screen starts upgrading his environment all the way to a fancy apartment. I used to own a Tamagotchi trinket not very long ago — it was one of those things I had to own out of curiosity :).

Bank of Life
Tomy’s Jinsei Ginkou or Life Bank

The PF Blogsphere’s Favorite Bank

Some of the personal finance bloggers out there have endorsed this piggy bank known as the Money Savvy Pig. It’s a compartmentalized device that can assist you with teaching your child all the concepts of responsible money management (saving, spending, donating and investing). You’ll find some discussions and mentions of this bank at The Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly, and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Can’t get enough of this Money Savvy creature? Then check out the official web page of the Money Savvy Generation, the source of this clever bank, which also features a Platinum Pig, Moolah Cow, Money Savvy Football and the like.

Money Savvy Pig Bank
Money Savvy Pig

Banks With Secret Keys

You can’t get your money from these banks unless you hold the key.

These are standard ATM banks that require you to have a PIN number to access. They’re great because they can take all sorts of currency: coins, cash, bills, etc. Try Amazon for a whole slew of ATM style savings gadgets such as this one.

Or how about something more challenging, like a Wooden Bank Puzzle? I’ve seen a few complicated ones from some puzzle catalogs and I’ve been tempted to get one in the past. But I’m afraid I’ll stick some money in and failing to solve the puzzle, be unable to get my money out afterward. Might be nice for puzzle lovers who like the Rubiks Cube! Along these lines is this piggy bank in reverse, because it’s a Piggy Bank Puzzle that comes already broken into pieces and you’re supposed to put it back together using glue. Probably great for those arts and crafts types out there but I’m not sure if it’s still available.

Piggy Bank Puzzle
Piggy Bank Puzzle

I think these would be great gift ideas for the kids in your life or those who are kids at heart. If there are other ingenious piggy banks out there you know about, I’d be delighted to hear about it.

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Micah November 26, 2007 at 12:54 pm

The piggy bank puzzle makes me sad. That’s what happened to my piggy bank when I was attempting to move her. She looked about like the one in the picture, too. Only she had a snout more like a big–and I loved her. I must have gotten her when I was 3 or younger.

I also enjoyed one that did coin sorting–you put it in the slot and it fell in the right hole. Then the clear part of the case had markings where you’d saved $1 in quarters or $.50 in pennies, etc. You got them out by pushing in a release button–so you could get out everything or just $.10. Plus it had a combination lock. Good times.

My piggybank now is a mason jar.

Free From Broke November 26, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Great list. I never knew there were so many different kinds! My daughter has a frog bank that ribits when you put money in it. She loves it and is always asking for change to put in it.

rocketc November 26, 2007 at 10:38 pm

My kids will start using the Money Savvy Pig in January. Hopefully I can find the cash to help them fill it up. . . 🙂

thisisbeth November 27, 2007 at 9:57 am

My problem with the ones that require coins is that I so rarely have coins on-hand. It’s a nice concept for people who use cash more often than I do.

Patrick November 28, 2007 at 5:11 am

What good fun! I loved these. My wife lived in Japan for a couple years and she really enjoyed this article too! 🙂

sven November 28, 2007 at 7:37 am

Those really rock. The bomb idea is so unique I really would love to get my hands on that one, even though I probably annoys people to pick up those coins when you go on vacation or is there a mode to switch it off?

10KPortfolio November 28, 2007 at 10:27 am

There are some really nice gizmos to count your money. I really like the Yen counter.

beth November 28, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I have a money-counting jar lid for US coins (it comes with the jar) from

It really encourages me to save and redeem my change. Instead of thinking “oh, there’s probably only a few dollars in there” I can see that it’s up to $90 (or whatever) and go cash in. So I actually use my spare change, instead of letting it gather dust.

Chui Tey December 20, 2007 at 7:49 pm

When I was a kid, the bank issued me with a coin-sorting piggy bank.

It was a boxy device and the coin runs down along a slide. There are different compartments for coins of different sizes, and when the coin is small enough to pass through, it drops into the appropriate compartment.

It was pretty darn cool.

Andrew January 17, 2008 at 8:55 am

I have a cool piggy bank that you might enjoy. I created an online virtual piggy bank to help teach my kids about money, and they love it! It was a real blessing for me as well because I no longer had to worry about remembering to give allowances or having the correct change on allowance day. The virtual piggy banks are really cool because they have advanced features like real online bank accounts do. Please stop by some time at

quintin June 26, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Wow I want to go get some of these counters to count the money that I just throw on my desk everyday. Too bad, i don’t want my money eated up… LOL. Sounds kinda crazy but it would be cool to know exactly how much we just waste every day in our life.

Neil December 10, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Great post, I have just bought my son a coffin moneybox, you put the money on top and the lid opens and a hand comes out to grab the money in. It looks great and he loves it. He is only 4

Neil December 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

These look great, I have seen many and feature an ATM piggy bank on one of my gadgets sites.

Thanks for the post

Delsauzo March 30, 2009 at 5:53 am

This was a really interesting post. the best banks were the Tomy’s Jinsei Ginkou or Life Bank and The Life Bank One Yen Counter, the second is really interesting because depending on the price of the counter this could really be affordable. Guess someone should design something for coins from other countries

wish i had one July 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm

too cool

Darwin's Finance September 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Love the post! I showed it to my wife, but she reminded me that we have too many piggy banks as it is.

Franz October 15, 2009 at 2:47 am

These look fun 🙂
Id like getting that bomb one, it looks pretty cool.
Gave me a pretty good idea for a bank too, a building shaped like a huge piggy 😛

Banknote counter October 6, 2012 at 4:55 am

Great stuff on coin eating banks. These look cool. I especially like the “Robby The Robot Talking Bank”.

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