As a Farm Wife, I am always saving money for one thing or another. Sometimes it is a new tractor, building an outdoor kitchen or even a new cow or the supplies for a pig pen and the pigs. Quite often, the money we set aside for these items ends up going for something else completely, like freezers that go out, vehicles that come un-cranked, as the Country Boy calls it, or other things that aren’t much fun, but definitely necessary expenditures. Money for these items go into our savings account at our bank. But I also have an ‘extra’ savings that I can spend anyway I want to, which is usually a trip to Rosepath Weaving for weaving and knitting supplies. This money is actually coins that go into a piggy bank.

The term ‘piggy bank’ developed over the years. Since banks were not in existence, and metal was expensive, people put their coins in a dish or container made of a type of clay called ‘pygg’. At that time, the ‘y’ was pronounced as a ‘u’, so the word sounded more like pug. Over time, the ‘y’ was changed to an ‘i’, so it then became pig. And it is said that ‘pigs’ got their names from wallowing in the pygg.

As glass came to be common, many people began storing their money in glass jars. Banks were either not in the picture yet, or not trustworthy, any money people came by was placed in a jar and either hidden in the home or buried in the yard – somewhere safe, but still somewhat accessible. We have often hoped to come across a cache of gold coins around the Plantation, but alas, so far nothing has been found.

I have a small collection of piggy banks, one for each type of coin. It behooves me to say that, about the time I save up enough to take my trip to Rosepath, something else breaks or gets too short and my ‘fun’ money is instantly turned in to ‘necessity’ money. Still, I drop all my coins in their appropriate slot, and have the hope that next time, I’ll be using it for something enjoyable, and not another tractor part.

Regardless of how you save, putting money aside is one of the very basics of living a self-reliant life. In order to save money, you have to refrain from spending it. I have often wondered how much of society’s money is spent unnecessarily. While watching television last night, I roughly calculated how much I would spend if I purchased just one of each item advertised. Within a 60 minute segment, I would have spent over $800, before shipping and handling and after purchasing a new cell phone, a vacuum cleaner, several toys and meals for every day of the week at different restaurants. Now, I’ll give you the vacuum cleaner – IF yours is broken and beyond repair. But that alone was half of my ‘expenditures’.

My piggy banks don’t come close to holding enough money to pay the mortgage each month, but it is comforting to know that I have trained myself to save a little extra as I go along. I know that, if I do have an overwhelming urge to go to Rosepath, I won’t be robbing from our budgeted money to fulfill an unnecessary whim. And it gives me peace to know that, if we are short of cash, I can use my stash to supplement the purchase of that baler part, rather than have to go to the bank and rob our project/emergency fund. And to top it all off, I get an extra benefit – my banks look cute on my shelf!

Instead of falling under the spell of possessing the newest, latest, greatest items on the market, try getting yourself a piggy bank and putting that money you would have spent aside. If you do this for just one month, you will be surprised at the amount you would save. If you do this for a year, who knows? You may be able to pay off a debt that’s been hanging over your head for a while, and have a little financial peace of mind. And if worse comes to worse, you may have a nice emergency fund to fix the car or something else without having to take money out of savings, or incur yet another loan debt by having to borrow money with interest attached.

Do you have a piggy bank or two? If not, find you an old Mason jar or other container and start saving those pennies or that extra change. In one year, you will be amazed at how much you have put aside. And who knows? Maybe you can actually use yours for something fun. Country Boy just walked through mumbling something about ‘that stupid tractor’, so I have a sneaking suspicion my pigs just bought another tractor part. Sigh…..