Saturday, January 25, 2014

Show and Tell Saturday: The Pig

November starts rolling around each year and Cameron and I look at our bank account and then decide to do a "cheap and homemade" Christmas. Or in other words, a "we're broke, don't buy anything!" Christmas. This Christmas (when it was too late to implement this into 2013) I saw the following pin:
Genius, no?! 

Well, we were afraid that we'd lose gift cards (you that super special and safe place where all things go to be safe forever?), so we came up with another plan that we think will work, and as we have more kids and they grow up it will be more fun for them as well. Here's what we decided to do. 

Emilee and our friend Camille gave me an awesome chalkboard piggy bank for my birthday this past year. I was so excited to get it, but couldn't figure out just what to use it for. Vacation savings? Date night stash? Babysitter money? Well, it finally has a job. Along with being excellent entertainment for our nephews when they come to visit, The Pig is our Christmas Funds Collector.

 Any money I find in pants pockets while doing laundry goes in the piggy bank. If I find cash just lying around (because we all just have cash lying around to roll in...), it goes in the pig. If we have cash that we want to donate to the funds, it goes in the pig. The rule is once the money goes in the pig, it doesn't come back out for date night, fast food, junk food, etc. Then when it comes time to do Christmas shopping we'll take it to the coinstar machine (because our bank here in town doesn't have a machine) and see how much The Pig had. We've talked about a few ideas there too. Some years we may use it for a Christmas vacation. Other years we may donate a portion (or all of it) to a family in need in the community. Other years we'll each just get a small portion of the money and divide the rest up between every kid's saving account. There are so many possibilities.  

Why do I show you this now? Because if you're anything like me you saw this around Christmas, thought it'd be awesome to do, and have since forgotten about it, only to remember this coming December when it's too late. Now is a great time to start this up! If the gift card every pay check works for you, do that. If you want to get the kids involved, try designating a Christmas Change jar or piggy bank. Or set up an extra account attached to your bank account and have the bank automatically transfer $10 (or however much) in every 2 weeks (or month or whenever). I'm hoping that this will be a fun tradition that our kids will enjoy. I'm excited for it at least. 


  1. My sister and I go to Twins Days in Twinsburg Ohio every August. This will be our 31st year. About 20 years ago (when the parents stopped taking us) we started a joint account where each of us put $25 a pay in. It pays for hotel, gas, food and even clothes. And that tire and rim that one time on the drive home) Neither of us would be able to shell out for a weekend in the middle of the summer but we have money put aside just for us. We've told tons of our twin friends and they've done it too.

  2. I decorated an empty formula can, cut a coin slot in the kid, then superglued the kid on. That way I don't break into it unless we really really need the cash.

  3. It works great!!!
    I do something similar. Except every time I have $20, I switch it up with my grocery money for a twenty-dollar-bill which avoids any potential coinstar fees. I did this in 2013 and it worked out AMAZING. I started my shopping in November so I also started saving for 2014 as soon as I emptied the jar, I already have a good start!
    Keep it up! You will be SOOOOOOOOOO happy you did come Christmas time. Trust me.

  4. Don't use the Coinstar machine!!! They charge you a fee for counting your money, when you could do it yourself! I don't know if it's the same in the US, but in the UK, the bank will give you money bags, and as long as you put in the correct amount (e.g. £10 in 20p's) then they will change it for free in to notes,

  5. Coinstar is free if you convert it to an Amazon account, where I do a large chunk of my Christmas shopping anyway.

  6. ^^Our bank (in VA) does that, with the bags. No point in spending money on coinstar!

    We keep back $20 each month, but I keep it handy, so if I find good gifts on clearance I can buy them. I shop for Christmas all year long.

  7. I'm doing that thing where you save a dollar amount equivalent to the week (e.g., week 1 = $1; week 5 = $5) of the year. If you do it faithfully, by the end of the year you have a nice little sum saved up for the holidays (or vacation or whatever you want to save for). So that's for my Christmas money. Then any cash I have left in my handbag at the end of the week goes into my Dalek bank, and that's just for "whatever" savings. I'm trying to see how much I can save by the end of the year. It's fun!

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  9. What a cute idea. And a nice way to keep a little Christmas all through the year, or however that song goes.

    And there are at least two Kendras who read your blog. *I* only have a regular sister and have never been to ohio.

  10. I did the gift cards last year because our grocery store, Kroger would sometimes give 4 x the gas points for gift cards. I didn't do it every week, but if I was under budget on groceries, I'd go ahead and spend that amount on a card.

  11. My husband and I just set aside $100/month into a Christmas Savings Account through our bank. Transfer it over and done. I don't totally trust myself having cash around - especially toward the end of the year when there would be a lot in there.

    The other thing we do when we are saving for a project is set a Mason jar on the window sill in the kitchen. For example - we needed to replace our front door. So we went to the store and picked out the door we wanted and then I took a picture, printed it off and stuck it to the front of the jar. On the back I taped a plain piece of paper and every time I put money in I totaled up the back. $5 here, a gift card for our birthdays, $10 there... bam! Money saved in no time! Always feels great to know we took our time, planned and saved for the projects! That is how we have done all the projects - big and small in our house. Dave Ramsey would be so proud! ;-)

  12. I love the giftcard idea and think I will start doing this. I will just have to think carefully about which shops to go for that will do the best gifts for family and friends. Thanks for the idea!

    1. You can also get the prepaid visa gift card, so that you can spend the money at any store, and not just the store the gift card came from.

  13. I used to work as a server where I made pretty good tips and would put a $20 in my "bucket" every shift that I made at least $20. The "bucket" was just one of those generic white 1 qt buckets with a slit cut in the top. It worked like a charm (sent myself to Europe twice in college that way and am going to buy a new-to-me car here shortly). I found that the effect was two-fold, I was directly saving money by putting it in the bucket, and by having $20-40 less in my wallet each week, I was a lot more careful about how I spent the rest of my money.
    Now that I have a paycheck deposited directly into my account and more bills, I'm not very good about saving money. Perhaps I need to figure out how to go back to my bucket system or get my own piggy bank...

  14. By just collecting your change for a year adds up fast. About $20 depending on how much you use debit/credit cards. My parents have gallon jar just for silver change and cash it out about every year. We just got back from New Orleans, and they cash it in for around $500 before we left.


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