Money boxes have existed for thousands of years to help store, hide and save money in its various forms. The basic design of most money boxes includes a slot for easily putting money into the container, but taking money out is usually harder. Some money boxes have to be destroyed to get money out, while others have a secret opening for accessing the contents.
The first types of money boxes were made from earthenware, and were often buried or built into the foundations of houses to protect money from theft. According to Dr. Elena Minarovičová of the Narodna Banka Slovenia, long-forgotten hoards of money in earthenware money boxes have been found, sometimes thousands of years later by archeologists, in the foundations of various buildings, in graves, under floorboards, inside wells and under trees. Many of these types of money boxes were accessible only by breaking the container open.
Ceramic money boxes are made into many different varieties of money boxes, including the most well known type, the piggy bank. Traditionally, ceramic and porcelain figurines were used to hide money in plain sight, since they looked like simple decorative pieces.
Tins are commonly used for money boxes, especially for collecting donations. The typical tin money box looks just like a large tin can, with a slit in the top for putting money in. Other varieties include tin boxes with locks on them, or even tins that have combinations, like a miniature safe. According to Minarovičová, the keys for tin boxes with locks were kept at the bank, to ease the temptation of people dipping into their savings.
Digital money boxes abound in the 21st century. The designs vary greatly, with some looking like miniature safes and others shaped like ATMs, but the trend to shape money boxes like everyday items continues with digital money boxes. They can come designed like footballs, toys or statuary. Digital money boxes often perform calculation functions, adding the amounts put into the money box so that you know how much is inside. Others have electronic savings plans, which help savers reach predetermined saving goals.