The Budget Bank

About: I am a passionate inventor who is always thinking of new ideas and making them a reality. I do not attend MIT, that is just where I want to go when I grow up.

Keeping to a budget or sticking to a savings goal is not easy. How many times before have you tried to save up enough money for something, and fell short? Or ended up spending more money than your budget allowed? Welcome to the Budget Bank. This is an inexpensive, DIY project that helps keep your money in line. The Budget Bank is a dual purpose bank that allows you to either keep track of how far you are into your budget, or how much you have saved for a savings goal. While tracking your money, the Budget Bank can also hold your money, and has many other amazing features to it. These features are listed below.


  • The toilet paper roll on top helps you track your progress in achieving your savings goal or how much you have spent in a budget. It is used by ripping off one sheet for every set amount of money you save or spend. The objective is, that once you have completed your goal or budget, the roll will be empty. This helps to motivate you, and keep track of your savings and spendings. If you save or spend only part of the set amount of money per sheet, then you write the amount you still have to go on the sheet of toilet paper. Since this is a dual purpose bank, it can be used for both budgeting and saving your money. You would take money out of it if you were budgeting, and put money in if you were saving
  • A makeshift whiteboard made out of aluminum foil is a great place to state your goal or budget, what you are saving for, how much money you will save or spend per sheet, and how much money you have saved/spent so far.
  • A ribbon holds down the door to open the Budget Bank, so that when you have completed your savings goal, you can have a ribbon cutting and collect your money from the bank.
  • There is a secret hiding place behind the aluminum foil to hide money or other items.
  • It is all made out of materials you can get around the house.
  • The handle on the milk jug allows you to carry it around.
  • It is compatible with all currency, both coins and bills.
  • It is reusable, all you have to do is remove the empty toilet paper roll, erase your goal from the aluminum foil whiteboard, and start again.

The Budget Bank is a fun project to make, and a very useful and motivational tool when completed. The best part about it is that it is easy to make, easy to use, and completely made from inexpensive materials around the house!

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Step 1: Materials

The materials you will need in this project are:

  • Duct Tape
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Marker
  • X-acto Knife
  • Cardboard
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Notecards
  • Scissors
  • Empty, Clean Milk Jug
  • Toilet Paper
  • Ribbon/String
  • Clear Tape
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Dry-Erase Marker
  • Whiteboard Eraser
  • Thin Cardboard Box

Step 2: Wrap Duct Tape

First, wrap a small sliver of duct tape around the rim of the milk jug. Keep wrapping until the diameter of the top of the milk jug is the same diameter as the inside of the toilet paper roll. Slide the top of the jug into the toilet paper roll to check.

Step 3: Cutting the Milk Jug

Next, take the X-acto knife and cut a slit in the milk jug around the area where the handle is. Insert the scissors into the slit and cut upward to the top of the handle. Go back to the slit and cut in the opposite direction, going all the way up to the handle, but not cutting all of the way to the other cut, so that it acts as a hinge. The product should look like the image above.

Step 4: Glue the Thin Cardboard

Now, cut two small rectangles of thin cardboard. Glue one rectangle on the inside of the milk jug, below the handle. Take the other rectangle, and glue it on the opposite side of the plastic, so that there is a place just small enough for the hinged handle to slid through. If you need help, look at the third picture as a reference. Essentially, the top part, the handle, should slide in between the two pieces of cardboard in order to hold the handle down and keep it from flopping up.

Step 5: Taping the Ribbon


For this you will need the clear tape and ribbon/string. Cut the string so that it is about nine inches long. Tape one side of the string to one side of the milk jug, next to the handle. Thread the ribbon through the handle, and tape it on the other side of the handle. It should look like the above image.

Step 6: Hot Gluing the Toilet Paper Roll

Now, place the toilet paper on top of the milk jug. Hot glue around the bottom of the cardboard roll so that it glues the roll to the rim of the milk jug.

Step 7: Marking and Cutting the Cardboard

Next, estimate about one cm around the note card, and mark it with the marker on the cardboard. Then, mark a border directly around the note card. Using the X-acto knife, cut out the inner rectangle so that it looks like a picture frame.

Step 8: Assembling the Frame

Now, take the cardboard frame and hot glue it onto one side of the milk jug. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT GLUE THE TOP SIDE OF THE FRAME, TO ALLOW FOR A SECRET HIDING PLACE.Take a note card and hot glue it on top of the frame so that it looks like the first picture above. Then, measure the frame, and cut the aluminum foil to the same size as the frame. Hot glue it onto the note card and the frame, and you are almost done!

Step 9: Doing the Math

In order for this invention to work, when you have saved up all of your money or spent all of your money in your budget, the toilet paper roll should be empty. To make this possible, you will need to do a little bit of math. First you need to find out how many sheets there are in your toilet paper roll. As depicted in the picture above, each package of toilet paper should have a label on it saying how many sheets are in each roll. In mine, there are 425. To show you how to do the math, I will do an example below.

Say you wanted to save 500 dollars. You would divide 500 by the amount of sheets there are in one roll of toilet paper, because you want to find out how much money you are going to save per sheet. 500 divided by 425 is 1.1764. 1.1764 is not compatible with any sort of money, as it is not a number that is rounded to the hundredths. So, in order to make it compatible with money, you will need to round the hundredths place up. In this example, that would be 1.18, all I did was take the number that was two numbers to the right of the decimal, the hundredths place, increased it by one, and got rid of all the numbers to the right of it. This gives you $1.18 per sheet of toilet paper.

You might be asking, What happens if you put less money in your Budget Bank than the money per sheet? Do you rip off a whole sheet? The answer to that is no. What you would do is take a marker, and write what the amount that you would have to save to rip that sheet off is, so that next time you go to put money in your Budget Bank, you just put that amount of money in, and then rip off the sheet.

Step 10: The Finished Product

Now, you finally have your very own Budget Bank. From here, it will help guide you onto the right path for budgeting and saving your money. It will motivate you, and allow you to see your progress in achieving your goals. Enjoy!

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