The Nest Egg

A Nest Egg is a fund set aside for a rainy day. It’s money meant to be stashed away and added to until it becomes substantial. It’s thought that the term is derived from the fake egg that one puts into a hen’s nest to get her to lay in the coop and not leave her eggs hidden under a bush or up in the hayloft. I’m not so sure about that. I think that it might mean the very valuable egg itself.

The Beginner in Poultry by Valentine, published in 1912, states that a winter egg in New York City sold for 5¢. Converted into today’s money (adjusting for inflation) that’s more than $1. So, a dozen eggs in a NYC grocer’s in February would have cost $13.00. That’s substantial. No wonder there are stories of women saving their egg money and putting a child through college with it.

In any event, by the 1950s fewer people kept chickens, but the idea of a nest egg had taken hold. Right now the money that I get from selling eggs ($4 a dozen to friends) is put into a dish near the phone in the kitchen. Instead, perhaps I should use these banks to put my egg money in.

A bank that attracts money and compliments? Awesome!

Eggs now sell for far less than they did in 1912, and college costs far more. Still, I am inspired to put my egg money aside and save a bit of a nest egg. This past weekend I canned grape jelly for the first time. I used a borrowed pot. Perhaps the egg money will be used for my own canning supplies. Where do you keep your egg money? The sock drawer? A jar hidden in the closet? There’s something about egg money that makes a person want to keep it as a secret stash. Where’s yours?


  1. Oh! You want me to tell you were I keep my secret “egg money stash”? I have this beautiful brocaded wallet..that I will never use because I never end up going anywhere fancy….and I keep my stash in there. My husband does not have a clue how much I have in there and where it is! And to be even more greedy..every once in a while I will get it out and count all the money in it and smile. Last week I bought something I swore I would never own….a TV in the bedroom…a BIG TV in the bedroom…it’s football season and I could give a care…I needed something top watch “The Tudors” on! HEE HEE!

  2. My Nana put all the money she earned working in a wool shop near Sunderland in the 50s into the lining of her handbag until she could no longer close it! They ate all the eggs themselves in the war and long after, with rationing, she was still preserving them in Waterglass under the spare bed…

      • They were in those huge thick cardboard trays. Only good for cakes really as they had a very ‘flat’ almost dusty taste, but needs must! I can smell the old eiderdowns and mothballs and feel the itchy wool rug under my knees when I think about it. There was of course no heating and you could see your breath in the bedrooms, so as good as a fridge!

          • they breed us a bit tougher over here you know! I hope you didn’t look under the bed – in a house with three cats there’s likely to be half a rabbit under there…

  3. These “egg banks” pictured look new! Where can I buy a set? They are really awesome. Please let me know! Thanks!!

  4. I barter mostly. But the hard cash I get I stow in a fake Ajax can under the kitchen sink. Last count I had enough to buy two tickets to take my son to see the St Louis Blues play, that is if they end the lock out.

  5. I keep mine in a tea tin that a good friend brought back from Boston many years ago. Sometimes it is flush, sometimes not so much, but it’s a good feeling knowing it is there :)

  6. I’m afraid it goes in the ‘pocket money tin’ from which we fund the girls’ bus money and dinner money each week …

  7. I had been saving a nest egg for maybe 15 years with the intent of using it selfishly for me. It was a handsome sum. But our septic system had to be totally replaced and there it went down the toilet! LOL.

  8. My egg money accumulates in a plain old number #10 envelope in my desk drawer, but it’s not really a nest egg because it doesn’t stay there very long before getting spent. This may sound weird, but….. I have a very dear friend who is unfortunately serving a long, long prison sentence. I visit her every few weeks for a meal and a good chat. The vending machines in the visiting room are stocked with a huge variety of pretty decent food, but they only take quarters or dollar bills, which are thus the only denominations you are allowed to bring in. Try and find $20 or so in singles in your wallet when you most need them! Happily, my egg money mostly comes in as dollar bills, and some quarters, and these in turn go towards a ‘gourmet’ lunch with a lovely friend who lives an otherwise rather grim existence.

      • Ha….try to find a dozen eggs from well-raised chickens for less than $4 here in the city of Satan. The farmers market eggs are pretty much $5 a dozen. On the other hand, in WF t’other day, they had some kind of bake-it-yourself “Italian” meatloaf, complete with foil pan. It looked to be 2 pounds, cost $18! Eggs, especially from a happy, healthy farm, are still a bargain!

  9. I save my money in a water cooler bottle, I always throw my change in it. I always pay for things with paper money, even when something is say $4.01 I would pay with $5.00, so I can get the .99 cents back so It can go in the bottle and when I drive to and from work the toll is $1.25 each way and I always pay with $2.00 so i get the .75 cents back, thats $1.50 each day that goes into the bottle… I was able to buy a washer and dyer earlier this year from foing that and it really doesn’t take long for the money to bulid up….

    Terry all of chickens are better, the tetracycline I got and the duramycin you recomened saved them. thier is not a sneeze or cough to be heard…. THANK YOU! After this ordeal, once I am able to eat the eggs I will be seling them for $4.00 a dozen and asked to only be paid in coins so the money can go in the bottle…

    I can’t find the information, how long is the waiting period before the eggs are edible after treating witht the duramycin

    • Jonathan, it was your good and observant care that saved your chickens. Noticing illness at the onset of disease allowed you to get them the medicine that they needed ASAP. Wait 10 days after the last dose and the eggs will be safe to eat again.
      That’s very impressive about saving enough for a W&D. From everyone’s stories I’m getting inspired to set my egg money aside! Though, I do have a jar for change smaller than quarters. That’s saved all year and then given to charity.