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German word of the day: Das Sparschwein

Germans are known for being big savers and for loving to pay with cash, so it’s no surprise that many make good use of today’s word of the day.

German word of the day: Das Sparschwein
Many children learn saving early by having their own piggy banks and play money. Photo: DPA.

What does it mean? 

Das Sparschwein is the “piggy bank,” coming from the verb sparen, which means “to save, put aside, or spare,” and Das Schwein, or “the pig.” 

Die Spardose is another word for piggy bank and can also refer to money boxes more generally. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Schweineteuer

A hot air balloon shaped like a piggy bank with the logo of Berliner Sparkasse, one of the largest savings banks in Germany. Photo: DPA. 

A 2016 report by German magazine Börse am Sonntag said that 45 percent of Germans store money at home. The same report indicated that 57 percent of all Germans have a piggy bank in their household. In Saxony, that number goes up to 69 percent.

Individuals cite different reasons for storing money at home – security, ease of access, fear of a banking crisis. 

Where did it come from? 

The concept of storing money in jars has been around for centuries. Some theories suggest that the phrase evolved from the word “pygg,” the name of the orange colored clay that individuals used to make pots and jars. 

Regardless of the origin, much of the popularity of piggy banks in Europe and America came from Germany, where pigs are considered symbols of luck. 

READ ALSO: The complete guide to German animal themed phrases

Germans are also known for their commitment to saving. An entire exhibition was dedicated to the history of this concept at the German Historical Museum in Berlin in 2018. 

How is it used? 

The phrase Das Sparschwein schlachten (müssen), translated to “to (have to) break the piggy bank,” is a useful one to know.

Here are some other useful phrases with Schwein: 

To have good luck in German is to have “schwein gehabt,” or “got pig.” 

Instead of saying lucky duck, Germans say  “glücksschwein,” or “lucky pig.”

Example Sentences: 

Er will eine Münze in das Sparschwein werfen. 

He wants to throw a coin in the piggy bank. 

Sie muss das Sparschwein schlachten. 

She must break the piggy bank.

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POLITICS

Swedish government offers tax deferral to businesses

High energy prices and high inflation are hitting Sweden's businesses hard. With energy price subsidies for these consumers delayed, the government is now extending existing tax deferral schemes implemented during the pandemic to ease the pressure.

Swedish government offers tax deferral to businesses

Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson and Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch announced the scheme at a press conference on Thursday.

“Many, many companies are now struggling with their liquidity,” Svantesson said.

The deferral scheme is similar to that proposed by the previous government in order to ease the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on companies, which was due to run out in February. The government has now proposed extending this scheme, allowing companies to delay their tax payments.

“These proposals will make things easier for many businesses,” Svantesson said.

The tax deferral scheme is not, Busch explained, being introduced as a replacement for the energy price subsidy for businesses which was supposed to be paid out “before Christmas” and which has now been withdrawn temporarily while the government figures out how it can be introduced without breaking EU law.

“No, rather this is a measure we’ve been looking at for a while, which should be seen as a complement,” she said.

According to rough estimates, the government believes that around 12,000 companies will apply for tax deferral, which would mean around 16 billion kronor in tax payments being delayed until a later date.

Företagarna, Sweden’s largest organisation of business owners representing around 60,000 companies across different branches, has welcomed the move, despite also voicing criticism that it’s just pushing these problems further into the future.

“It’s a loan and all loans need to be paid back over time,” Företagarna’s CEO Günther Mårder said.

Företagarna did, however, agree that the scheme will be necessary for some businesses to survive.

“Most companies going under are doing so because of liquidity problems, and this new measure will strengthen liquidity in the short-term,” Mårder said, adding that the measure could “save businesses”.

However, with many businesses already owing back taxes delayed during the pandemic, Mårder believes this could just be adding to the mountain of debt already faced by some companies.

“It means it will be record-breakingly difficult to get over this hump,” he said. “What they’re doing now is pushing problems into the future, and of course, that’s also a solution.”

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is positive towards the government’s proposal, adding that the many Swedish companies are currently in a difficult situation.

“Since the repayment of bottleneck revenues [energy price subsidies] is delayed, it is good and fair that companies have the opportunity to extend their tax deferrals,” Jonas Frycklund, vice chief finance officer of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise wrote in a statement.

“This will lower the risk of having to let employees go unnecessarily.”

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