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This page is for detailing and brainstorming ideas for clever home-made moneyboxen.

First, let us define a money box, and try to discover what makes one usefull.

Money box

  1. a container (usually with a slot in the top) for keeping money at home; "the coin bank was empty" [syn: {savings bank}, {coin bank}, {bank}]
  2. a box for holding cash [syn: {cashbox}, {till}]

Now, what properties of a moneybox make it usefull?

  • Principle of "out of sight, out of mind".
  • Principle of "easy in, hard out".

Now a simple moneybox may implement either or both of these to a varying degree. The normal kids money pig hides the money, but usually is relatively easy to get money out. A "cookie jar" on the shelf may implement neither factor. The more cliche money pig will not have an exit hole, fulfilling the second principle, but being rather un-reusable. Of course, you only tend to see those in movies and bank commercials.

Ultimately, a moneybox is an aid to self-control. Afterall, if we had perfect self-control, then an open container would be sufficient. (and indeed, I've seen people with this system - but almost always it's been implemented for small coins only - making it inconvenient to use any significant amount of the available money.

There is also the question of the SIZE of the moneybox. Most commercial moneyboxes seem to be rather toy-sized. A holding capacity of half a litre or so at largest. On the other hand, I think a litre size should be minimum. I'm thinking long-term money storage. The thrill of counting out $20 when you were 7... doesn't exist when you are 27. But counting out $200 (or more) in silver coins... now that's a nice buzz.

Note that in my own estimates, a litre filled with assorted shrapnel (australian slang for coinage, especially the silvers (5c, 10c, 20c and 50c coins)) is likely to be around the $150 mark. Filled with assorted gold coins ($1 and $2), I estimate getting close to $1000. (for a more complete breakdown... MoneyBox/DensityAnalysis]

Some ideas for moneyboxen...

  • Mac classic case. Many have been turned into fishtanks, but with a gutted interior and a money-slot behind the handle, this could be a very nice 8+litre box. Turn the display into a picture frame...
    • Out of sight score: 7/10
    • Withdrawal difficulty: 7/10
  • (mini)tower computer case: This proved easier than anticipated to accomplish. A case with a 3.5" floppy slot, and some plumbing pipes to connect together internally. Also, one plastic container to turn into a coin slide, and some duct tape. Note that my estimate on this is that it contains 2-3 litres.

    • Out of sight score: 9.5/10
    • Withdrawal difficulty: 7/10 (the case can be taken from the rack, cover removed and money withdrawn without effecting the continued operation of the computer. This is due to my making sure that the power, network and other cables were of adequate length)
    • This was in use circa 2003 for some time.
  • Office Water cooler bottle: This is a nice 15litre sized behemoth. However, it is transparent and has an easy handle, so loses counts on both "Out of sight" and "difficulty" scores.
    • Out of sight score: 4/10 (higher if covered)
    • Withdrawal difficulty: 5/10 (higher if secured down)
    • This has been in use since... 2008? Maybe earlier? As of late 2010 it has had 2litres of 20c filtered out, and almost a full litre of 50c coins. I am likely to continue filtering as I doubt the structure would hold for a full bottle!

So, how the hell do you go about filling a moneybox that big?!

  • Time...

Rules of the MoneyBox!


Welcome to Piggy Bank club

  • The first rule of piggy bank is: you do not take money from the piggy bank
  • The second rule of piggy bank club is: you do Not Take Money from the piggy bank!
  • Third rule of piggy bank: if the piggy is full, or breaks open, the piggy is over and can be cashed in
  • Fourth rule: only legal tender to a piggy
  • Fifth rule: one coin at a time folks
  • Sixth rule: No notes, no IOUs
  • Seventh rule: piggy bank will keep filling as long as it's carryable
  • The eighth and final rule: if this is your first piggy bank, you HAVE to fill it up.

Informal summary

I tend to avoid spending silver. And will tend to prefer to break a note if I have one (of a not unreasonable size) if I have one.


Out and about

  • Notes live in my wallet, whilst coins live in a pouch with other knicknacks. This makes getting coins out (to spend) harder than it is to put coins in as change. Thus - the general tendency is to break notes. * I have no other reason to avoid using coins - if they're easy enough to get to hand, I use them - generally for exact change or small purchases though.

Returning home

  • Silver coins (5,10,20,50c) all go into the moneybox. (I may have coin-specific moneyboxes)
  • $1 coins go into a coin-specific money box, which I raid for lazy dinners when I can't be bothered cooking. * $2 - I keep 5 of these in my coin pouch. Any more go into a coin-specific moneybox.


  • Occasionally I will pull a 1litre container of a single type of coin out of the moneybox and store seperately.
    • 2009: 1litre of 20c coins. To store in freezer as Cold Hard Cash
    • 2010: 1litre of 20c coins. To store in freezer as Frozen Assets
    • 2010 expected: 1litre of 50c coins. To keep in the freezer also?


  • The $1 coin-specific box is available for raiding if need be. After which, the general box.


  • When you turn up to the bankteller with $100 or more in 5c and 10c coins, etc; you apologise, and leave quickly. :)
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