Most people start off the new year with a big resolution: save more and spend less. After the end of the year parties, trips, and shopping, most of us check our bank balance or credit card bill and let out a small gasp of horror around the first week of January. After all, it is the little amounts that can really add up, both incoming and outgoing. Where does all that money go?
Say, you stop by the convenience store for a bottle of juice or tea every day on your way to work. Pick up a few snacks, or some fried goodies. Before you know it, you are spending 3,000 to 5,000 Yen a week on all those small things, but you don’t really notice the how the money goes. So how can I save more?
As the Japanese tend to be fervent savers, you can bet that companies find ways to make money off of that habit. In Japan, you will be amazed about the many options you have when you want to buy a piggy bank! The concept is simple. Chuck a few hundred yen in every day, the loose change from your shopping and maybe a crisp bill every now and then, and by this time next year you will find yourself with plenty of cash without noticing a big difference in your daily life.
In order to make all that saving fun, there are tons of options with different prices. It far easier to not spend a fistful of coins, than it is to restrain from spending the 10,000 Yen note burning a hole in your pocket. Let’s check out some of the popular piggy bank options!
Like all things in life you can find stylish piggy banks, but they do come for a price. Check out little boutique shops or interior stores, and you are bound to find one that doesn’t ruin your style. Some of them can get pretty pricey going for over 5,000 yen. Of course, great deals and designs can also be found online with my favorite being the owl bank as pictured above. A bargain really, for under 3,000 Yen. Check out the website for other cool interior things as well (Japanese language only).
Here is the glorious wonder that Facebook posts and blog stories are made of: the sometimes cute, crazy, or downright bizarre battery operated piggy banks. I guess saving should be fun! They vary in function but usually do something that will make you want to put in more money, from ‘eating’ the coins to ‘snatching’ them into the box.
The so-called ‘Facebanks’ (pictured above) are especially popular with kids, and can be found in most toy stores or discount shops such as Don Quijote (Donki). You put your coin (or a finger) near the lips, and it will eat the coin. Quite realistic looking actually, apart from the creepy face.
Then there are the ‘Trick Banks’, which has been one of the most popular designs recently. Coming in different colors, to have your fun you just push a button, then place the coin on the top of the box and the creature within will carry your fortune into its lair. Don’t ask me how to get the money out, but it is good fun. These can be bought for under 3,000 Yen and can make a great gift for the kids at home!
Porcelain animals and characters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with one key feature: they often lack the plug on the bottom. This makes it easier to keep saving until they are full. Then, it is time to smash the little guy and grab up your loot. They are a little too cute for my taste, but the Maneki Neko (beckoning cat) ones are cool in my books.
Daiso, Seria, Can-Do: they all have you covered. 100 Yen piggy banks are practical, and in many cases look much more expensive than they really are.
Goal oriented plastic banks are also great. They show you exactly how much money you could save when they are full, based on the kind of coin you put in. They are more tempting to crack open, but still keep you motivated to reach your goal. The more popular ones are designed for 100 Yen or 500 Yen coins only. After all, you really can not save 1,000 dollars by cramming a box full of dimes.
The metal banks have a variety of designs and themes. Some may call them tacky, but it really depends on which one you choose. They usually have to be opened with a can opener or other tool, so make sure you don’t pop in your wedding ring accidentally. Be careful, more than a few people have gotten hasty and were left with a bleeding finger. Popular designs are the ones with world flags or maps of the world, cute characters, as well as simple shiny metal ones that will go well with your home interior. Some also come with savings goals just like the plastic ones. They might be a little gaudy, but you won’t forget about your goal easily!
Really, this is just a small selection from the world of Japanese piggy banks. Keep your eyes open for one that you like, chuck a few coins in every week and by the end of the year, you will financially be in a happier place. Happy Saving!