Piggy banks and some alternatives – this is how the world saves: About water buffalos, ladybugs and other coin banks

On 30 October we celebrate World Savings Day. And the little piggy is always close to the action! Be it as a key fob, fluffy animal, printed T-shirt or in its genuine form as piggy bank – the pig is Germany’s deep-rooted symbol of money saving. The Sparkassenstiftung would like to show you which animals are the figureheads of saving in our various project countries.

As dear as the little piggy is to the Germans, the lady bug is to the people of Azerbaijan. During the times of the Soviet Union, it was a common thing, taking only little effort, to transform a tin can into a savings box. Until today, these coin banks are a highly popular gift for children. Just like this one saying very charmingly to “give money”.

In Vietnam, the water buffalo is very popular. In rural areas, this animal does the work of a tractor and is a valuable investment for the poorer population groups. People, born in the year of the buffalo, are perceived as being diligent and patient. Thus, the water buffalo is an excellent savings symbol, and the people love to keep their money in it.

In China, savings containers were made out of clay already hundreds of years ago. They were called ‘puman’. To retrieve the money, you had to destroy the ‘puman’. Until today, they are used in their traditional form – the most popular ones look like cats, dragons and – pigs.

The Germans and their piggy bank look back on a long-standing tradition. According to the “Schutzgemeinschaft Deutsches Sparschwein” (association for the protection of the German piggy bank), its history of success started in 1576 at the Castle of Schweinheim close to the city of Cologne. The lord of the castle gave order to the servants, women and children, to acquire clay pigs and constantly fill them with coins to provide for situations of emergency. But why had it to be the pig?

The pink trunked animal has always symbolized luck and sufficient nutrition. In the 16th century, those people, who were able to feed and fatten a pig, were perceived as having a certain amount of wealth which gave them the opportunity to always put a thick slice of sausage, i.e. pig, on their daily bread. Today, the Germans mainly save on current accounts or passbooks. Given the current period of low interest rates, saving in funds, securities or real estate is also an attractive option of saving. According to some forecasts for the future, the progressing digitisation is even marking the end of the era of cash money. But all this did not change anything about the popularity of the pig as savings symbol – almost every second person in Germany possesses a piggy bank.

Piggy bank abroad: This is how the people save in Sparkassenstiftung’s project countries

On a worldwide scale, things look different. Pursuing its mission to help more and more people on the world to get access to financial services, Sparkassenstiftung has introduced the World Savings Day in a rising number of its project countries. In addition to the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mexico, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Colombia and the Ukraine, World Savings Day events have also been recently launched in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Here you can get further interesting insights into this year’s World Savings Day activities in our project countries:


Sparkassenstiftung´s Facebook-Page (only in German)

Sparkassenstiftung´s Online-Campaign on the occasion of World Savings Day 2017 (only in German)

Review of Michael Frantz on the occasion of World Savings Day 2017 in Mongolia (only in German)

"Ein Feiertag fürs Sparen", Sparkassenzeitung, Oktober 2017 (only in German)

"Sparschwein mal anders", Sparkassenzeitung, Oktober 2017 (only in German)


Contact partner:

Carina Bauer
Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation
Simrockstraße 4
53113 Bonn

Tel.: +49 228 9703-6608

Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
Simrockstraße 4, 53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 9703-0
Fax: +49 228 9703-6613 or -6630

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