There are some treasures that I like to collect–tiny chairs, vintage fabrics, old clocks–and some that I mostly like to visit…old lamps, vintage hats, bowls. Ok, I do like to take bowls home but they take a fair amount of space so I’m trying not to bring any home without sending others packing. (There are a lot of uses for bowls, but I feel like I have capitalized on most of them!)
Today’s object of desire is vintage banks. This post was inspired by a particular one: a chippy, cheerful birdhouse bank.
I usually just admire banks when I come across them. I like kitschy advertising banks, or the totally practical tin ones with slots for different expenses: rent, food, fun, etc. When I find one with handwritten slot labels, I can’t help but imagine the person the bank belonged to and what his or her life was like. I wish I had a picture of one of those category banks. I will try to find one when I’m on the prowl and add it to this post later.
When I got married, our finances were so tight that we has something like twelve flexible dollars left for fun at the end of each month after we paid our bills. Each time we got paid, we put the cash budgeted for day-to-day expenses in labeled envelopes to keep it straight. If you borrowed too much from the grocery envelope, it meant we’d be eating more mac and cheese and ramen noodles. I didn’t know those slot banks existed then or I would have had one!
There is just something so hopeful about a bank. You’re making plans for the future and taking action to make them happen. You’re thinking carefully about resources and priorities. And a slowly filling bank is a testament to the fact that little efforts — pennies, dimes, dollar bills — do make a difference over time.
I found the birdhouse bank shown above at Goodwill in Iowa City this summer. It didn’t meet my main criterion for treasure hunting this year: only bring home things you NEED…but it has so many of my favorite elements. The colors, the bird, the idea of nesting, its well-worn edges/evidence of use, and its generally optimistic posture (if one can say such a thing about a piece of porcelain). I loved it. And at $1.67, it didn’t bust my budget.
Where do you put your pennies? What are your plans for them?