A stock symbol of saving money for a rainy day (or just saving money in general) is the good ol' ceramic Piggy Bank. It seems every child has one to store the leftovers from their allowance in... and whenever there's something they really want to buy with their money, the child will always, always fetch a hammer and proceed to, well, 'break the bank'. In real life, nearly all such banks nowadays have a removable stopper that can be used to extract the contents in a much safer (and more sustainable and less violent) manner, making that part something of a Dead Horse Trope. It is also possible to remove coins from a traditional piggy bank by turning the bank on its side and poking a knife through the slot, but this would be a slow process.
Piggy Banks often symbolize wealth and something a thief would go after in a cartoon.
One possible explanation for the association with pigs is the use of a type of clay called pygg for earthenware pottery, with pygg being mistaken for pig at some point.
The monetary storage item can also be in the shape of other animals; in Japan, the Maneki Neko is fairly common.
- In a commercial for Taco Bell's crunch wraps, a brown Piggy Bank named Clementine gets very worried she's going to be smashed because her owner may be tempted by the wraps' low price. Fortunately, it turns out she has a removable stopper in her belly.
- The "Feed the Pig" public-service ads play on this trope to encourage saving. Their mascot is a creepy-looking pig-person with a slot on his head like a traditional piggy bank.
- An advert for British Telecom featured a talking pig, saying "It's good to talk", before transforming into a piggy bank, with a few coins dropping in.
- Case Closed: This is how the titular client of "A Small Client" pays his fee to Kogoro. Turns out it doesn't hold much more than chump change, despite the client being a nationally famous child actor; most likely the studio or an agent handles most of his paycheck.
- One of the early cases in Ron Kamonohashi: Deranged Detective involve a girl reporting to the police for theft because her piggy bank had gotten lighter over the weekend, which indicate that someone had stolen the coins inside even though the bank cannot be opened without breaking it. It turns out, the piggy bank was broken after the client's sister used it to fight off a stalker, who died. She then threw the body in the river, and bought a new piggy bank and filled it with fresh coins to avoid suspicion.
- In an Imagine Spot on Sailor Moon, Rei supposes Usagi will use her Moon Wand for something mundane like breaking open a piggy bank.
- Happy Heroes: In Season 3 episode 11, Lightbulb Jr. goes to his piggy bank to get some money and breaks it, revealing a bunch of miniature piggy banks inside. He shakes a coin out of one of the little piggy banks.
- One of the incarnations of the board game Chutes and Ladders featured a Chute where the character breaks a window; at the bottom of the chute he is seen emptying out his piggy bank to pay for it.
- The Richie Rich comic books continually played with this trope by having Richie owning giant-sized piggy banks, including one which Richie and Gloria could sit inside the head of (behind the eye holes) while it walked itself to a vault to empty itself.
- Hamm is one in Toy Story. The second movie has a moment where his cork pops out and he insists everyone else look away.
- In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Marley has a piggy bank among his chains.
- In the Wallace & Gromit film The Wrong Trousers, Wallace empties out his piggy bank and finds only a few coins inside when he realizes how many bills there are to pay. The bank is inside a wall safe that is, in turn, hidden behind a painting of a piggy bank.
Wallace: Just look at that: I'm down to my last few coppers.
- Opening sequence of Up: Carl and Ellie save up for their trip to Patagonia by dropping coins in a glass jug labelled "Paradise Falls"; but events such as a flat tire, broken leg, or tree limb falling on the house forces them to raid their savings, they do so by Carl smashing the jug with a hammer.
- In the first Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf movie, Mr. Slowy keeps the key for Old Mandy's various medicines for miniaturization in a piggy bank and breaks the bank with a hammer to get the key out.
- In Easy Living, after having been fired from her job, Mary is forced to break her piggy bank to get her last remaining cash so she can eat that night. She blindfolds the piggy bank (called "Wilfred"), closes her eyes, and smashes it with her shoe.
- Skippy: Skippy needs to break open his piggy bank so he can raise $3 and save Sooky's dog, the dog having been caught by a Diabolical Dog Catcher. However, he promised his mom he wouldn't break the piggy bank. So he gets Sooky to do it for him.
- The Jolly Postman series of children's books has a story within a story about a piggy bank. The more money is put into him, the greedier he gets, eventually trying to run off with the little girl's money. She switches to a bank account instead, so the piggy bank gets better.
- Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files once used this trope to counter a Denarian's attempt to persuade him to use a cursed coin to increase his own power. He claimed it was in his Piggy Bank and he couldn't possibly break Piggy: it's too cute.
- Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mentions "children taking hammers and smashing their piggy banks, and running to shops with handfuls of money", for the chance of finding a chocolate bar containing a Golden Ticket.
- Mr. Men:
- In Mr Men Annual No. 3, a story involving Mr. Uppity tells of how the gold belonging to the King of the Goblins was stolen. The King had hidden the gold under the mattress, which was rather silly of him: he should have kept it in the royal piggy bank.
- Averted by Mr. Mean, who has lots of money, but (although not stated in the text) is far too mean to invest in a china piggy bank: instead he keeps his money in a plain wooden box in the kitchen.
- The old Nickelodeon show Don't Just Sit There had a segment where a girl showed viewers how to break their piggy banks if they were too sentimental to do it the regular way. Methods included leaving it on a high shelf and waiting for a cat to knock it over, and simply gritting your teeth and breaking it yourself. Subverted at the end, when her co-host walks by emptying his piggy bank the proper way.
- In Monty Python's Flying Circus, an animated link had two characters hunting piggy banks.
- LazyTown: A character properly known as 'Stingy' has a piggy he carries around wherever he goes.
- Michelle from Full House had a piggy bank in one episode.
- In "Provider", Angel becomes obsessed about his Occult Detective agency making money to provide for his newborn son. The opening scene has Angel stuffing some coins he found down the back of the sofa into a piggy bank that's sitting on the table next to a hatchet and a machete. He then locks the piggy bank in a safe for his son's college fund.
- Debt gave eliminated contestants a piggy bank with a savings bond as consolation prizes.
- The piggy bank is the Zonk prize in the Any Number game on The Price Is Right. Its value is always in single dollars plus cents.
- In Salute Your Shorts, Z.Z. and Dina have been saving money in a piggy bank for an emergency. When came time to smash it open, it's revealed that Z.Z. had actually grown attached to the piggy bank, naming it Pippi, and saying a heartfelt goodbye before Budnick took a hammer to it.
- Squid Game: A gigantic piggy bank made from clear plastic and filled to the brim with the prize money is hung over the players' quarters, in constant view and always lit up even during sleeping hours, in order to keep the players motivated to keep participating in the deadly games. Every time a player dies, a little more money is added to the jackpot.
- In the Thunderbirds episode "Vault of Death", Light-Fingered Fred easily breaks into the Bank of England vault, chuckling "they call this place burglar-proof? They'd do better to use my kids' piggy banks".
- In the early 80's, there was a magazine about the video game industry called Blip. The magazine had the occasional cartoon. One showed a pair of anthropomorphic pigs standing on a sidewalk. The one identified below as "Pig 2" is holding two buckets filled with coins.
Pig 1: Your treat? Where did you get all that money?
Pig 2: Broke open my people bank.
- Crabgrass: Miles has one in this comic. He breaks it, only to find out he has saved just enough to buy a new Piggy Bank.
- Dennis the Menace (US) often uses this to show he needs money. Early cartoons showed him using a butter knife or similar blunt knife to extract coins through the coin slot rather than break the bank since presumably it was made without a hole to remove coins through. In one comic, he confronts his dad, who's in the middle of a poker game, asking why his piggy bank doesn't rattle anymore.
- One Pearls Before Swine storylinelinks featured a pair of living piggybanks who were married. The husband stored all of their money inside himself to save up for their vacation on a cruise. Rat points out that the husband would need to be smashed to get the money. The wife piggybank then gets her hammer ready, confesses that she never really loved her husband, and makes plans to upgrade her cabin since she's only going to need one ticket. The final strip of the storyline has Pig steadfastly believing that the wife will choose her husband over money. The last panel shows her relaxing on a lounge-chair alone enjoying a Mai Tai.
- In The Rose Tattoo, Serafina fills a piggy bank with the small change she earns from her sewing. Rosa smashes it in the final scene and scoops out a bunch of coins before running off.
- AdventureQuest Worlds: When Gravelyn sends you to collect on her father's Unlife Insurance policy following the Chaos incident at Swordhaven Castle, the King's greedy pig of a tax collector has you thrown into prison rather than cough up the cash. After fighting through the guards, you then have to fight the Piggy Drake, which is basically one of these in boss form, in order to get through to the vault.
- Pikmin (2001): Olimar owns a massive one (relatively speaking — it's a normal-sized piggy bank, but he's the size of a quarter) that contains all his savings. It's the final of the possible of the ship parts that he can recover before his life support runs out, but it's not one of the required pieces that will get him off the planet. Of course, you need all thirty pieces if you want to get the best ending.
- Chrono Cross: Van has one. Adding money to it will increase the attack power of his special attack 'Piggyboink', in which he sends it ramming into the enemy.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, flying piggy banks sometimes pass through Sub-Space.
- In Elona, the game features kitty banks of various sizes which the player can use to store gold coins. This is useful as the money inside the bank is not counted towards the player's monthly taxes. In order to retrieve his stored money, the player must destroy the kitty bank by throwing it.
- Fork Parkers Crunch Out: Fork owns a living piggy bank named Pork, who seems to be his pet. He wanders around the office, and if Fork touches him, he'll pick him up, forcing the player to mash buttons to make Fork put him down.
- In Terraria, piggy banks are a personal "container" item, allowing your character additional space for storing all sorts of items (not just coins). There's also the Money Trough item, which summons a flying piggy bank to your side and can be used no matter where you are.
- Weird Ed in Maniac Mansion has one. Total contents: 30 cents in dimes. You have to break it open to gain enough money to operate the telescope, but not while he's there.
- In Sid And Als Incredible Toons, the icon for loading a different puzzle is a piggy bank.
- In the iOS game Toy Blast, piggy banks can be cleared only with rockets or TNT detonators. A striped piggy bank, known as a "Sneaky Piggy", has to have its stripes removed before it can be cleared. Another variant, the "Sporty Piggy", moves one space every turn until it is destroyed.
- Hotel Mario
Mario: "So THIS is where Wendy's hid the real coins!"
- Super Mario Bros.
- Super Paper Mario: There's an enemy resembling 3 piggy banks that loses a section and gets faster every time its attacked. After 3 attacks, it releases a large amount of coins.
- One of the useable objects in Paper Mario: Color Splash is a piggy bank, which breakdances when Mario uses it in battle. In addition to dealing direct damage to the enemies, it gives Mario 300 Coins when used.
- Persona 5: Kaneshiro's Shadow form uses a large defense machine called Piggytron in his boss fight.
- Animal Crossing: There's the piggy bank furniture which is obtained by saving a certain number of bells in your account. When interacted with, a "clink" sound is heard the same way a coin is dropped into a real piggy bank.
- Homestuck: When John levels up on the Echeladder, the Boondollars he receives are stashed inside a CERAMIC PORKHOLLOW. This lasts until he obtains enough to turn into a single Boonbuck, a slab-like ingot that smashes the Porkhollow to pieces when he tries to drop it in.
- Life of Maid: After losing her DS in the beach arc, Patchy breaks open her Patchy Bank (basically a piggy bank shaped like Patchy's head) to try to find enough money to get the new DSi. Unfortunately for Patchy, it isn't enough.
- Penny Arcade: Gabe has a piggy bank that he affectionately calls Tonkatsu (after the Cardboard Tube Samurai's random pig). It contains a great deal of cash money.
- In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser Junior's Piggy Bank!", when Junior sees a commercial for a Hot Wheels playset, he wants to buy it with the money from Bowser's piggy bank, since Bowser has saved over $100.00 in coins in it. Being too impatient to wait until his birthday next week or save his own money to buy the Hot Wheels playset (Bowser even gave him his own Thomas & Friends piggy bank to do so), and despite the warning from Bowser not to break his piggy bank or he will cancel his birthday, Junior breaks Bowser's piggy bank and steals Bowser's money anyway, and buys the Hot Wheels playset with it. Cody later points out there was a plug at the bottom of the bank, so Junior could have just stolen the money without breaking the bank. When Junior worries about Bowser finding out he disobeyed him, Toad replaces Bowser's broken piggy bank with a real pig, which leads Bowser to believe his piggy bank came to life.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Scratch has a chicken-shaped bank, and uses the money from it to buy an Eagle-Copter kit.
- Piggy Banks from The Crayon Box is a living piggy bank, with a slot for coins on his back.
- The Great Piggy Bank Robbery starring Daffy Duck as "Duck Twacy". A group of gangsters steals many piggy banks (including Twacy's) and he hunts them down.
- The Simpsons: Bart Simpson has done this several times. Not always his own pig either.
Bart: How? You don't have any money in your piggy banks.
- The first time we see him doing it, the bank is clearly taped up.
- In one of those episodes where Homer loses his job, he stole Bart's piggy bank and broke it for beer money. Soon after he did it, Homer started showing remorse for having stolen his own son's money and even then not having enough for a beer. Then he stopped to check if it really was enough or not. Upon verifying it was not, he resumed moaning.
- In another episode, Homer broke a piggy bank and Marge told how he could get the money without doing it. Homer replied it was too late for the warning. The Brazilian dubbing changed it to have Homer stating the piggy wouldn't have liked it.
- Lisa appears to have been the victim of Bart's piggyback depredations. In one episode (the one where Bart sells his "soul" to Milhouse) Lisa buys something that Bart wanted badly but couldn't get, leading to this exchange:
Lisa: Not in any of the ones you know about.
- When Doug wanted to go see the Beets' farewell concert, he took a hammer to his Beets-themed ceramic bank (symbolism!) only to find a note inside saying "I owe myself five dollars." "Why don't these things ever have money in them?"
- One episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy had a Fictional Holiday where the kids would break their piggy banks and use the money to buy stuff.
- SpongeBob SquarePants breaks a bunch of them so he can buy a new spatula in one episode.
- The Donald Duck cartoon "Donald's Crime" has him stealing money from his own nephews' piggy bank for a date with Daisy.
- Honker has one in Darkwing Duck episode 'Easy Come, Easy Grows'. Part of the episode involves them trying to stop it from running away.
- The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat episode "Felix Breaks the Bank" had one episode where Felix tried to break his piggy bank to have money for Candy's birthday present. The piggy then took the hammer and knocked Felix into a Dream Sequence. When he woke up, Candy was there and assumed the piggy was her gift. She like it so much she hugged it to the point a coin came out of it.
- DuckTales (1987) had an episode where Scrooge went back to Scotland and took his nephews with him. He then showed them a piggy bank he made by himself of wood and nails.
- Phineas and Ferb had one that released coins from behind as Phineas inserted bills through its mouth.
- Dexter's Laboratory had one episode where Dee Dee won 200 million dollars and kept the check inside a piggy bank. Needing the money to pay a debt to N.A.S.A., Dexter tried to steal the money but was caught red-handed. Dee Dee loaned him the money anyway but took over almost all the laboratory as collateral, leaving Dex with barely enough space for himself.
- An episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had Irwin arriving at the police station with a piggy bank in order to bail out Grim. Grim is relieved to see him, but the police man forcefully grabs the piggy bank and chucks it into the wall, screaming at Irwin that the amount of money in his piggy bank can't possibly be enough.
- An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures has Elmira break open her piggy bank. The bank sheds a single tear before meeting its end with a hammer.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode, "Bus the Two of Us", Eduardo wants to go shopping at Crazy Larry's mattress store after seeing a commercial for his one-day-sale on television, but Wilt tries to keep him from finding out that Bloo took the Foster's bus for a joyride. One of the things Wilt does to stall Eduardo is break his piggy bank so he can tell him to count his money to ensure he has enough. In a later scene, Eduardo has his piggy bank taped up as he puts the last of his money in it.
- Third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Bogus Private Eye": After Bogus has set up a Rube Goldberg Contraption to trap a thief that stole Mr. Anybody's watch, the thief (who later turns out to be Ratty) manages to elude the trap by getting Bogus caught in it instead, which leads to the thief being free to smash open Tommy's piggy bank with a hammer so that he can get at the money inside.
- The Wrong Trousers: Wallace keeps a piggy bank in a wall safe behind a portrait of a piggy bank. Unfortunately, he finds himself down to his last few coppers, which leaves him unable to pay the bills. Fortunately, when Wallace and Gromit receive the reward money for the capture of Feathers, it not only pays off their debts, but there's plenty left over to fill up Wallace's pig.
- In the 1980s, the NatWest bank issued china piggy banks to encourage children to save — one when they opened an account, and four more when their balance reached £25, £50, £75 and £100. They're now quite collectible.