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World Thrift Day on October 31 :

'Drop by drop of thrift, could make the nation lift'

World Savings Day or World Thrift Day was set up to inform people about the idea of saving their money in a bank rather than keeping it under their mattress. Wealth begins with the first coin in the piggy bank. October 31 is celebrated as World Savings Day or World Thrift Day.


A piggy bank also known as a 'still bank'

The World Savings Day is a tradition since 1924, when the World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI) was created, with the objective to stress the importance of savings for modern economies and for individuals alike.

Chief Marketing Officer of Bank of Ceylon Dr. Indunil Liyanage says, "As a developing country we need domestic savings. The people should be encouraged to save.

"At least one-fourth of a person's income should be saved. Saving is essential for the development of the country. Today people are encouraged to spend through debit and credit cards.

They should spend as well as save for the rainy day. The habit of saving is essential for the development of the country."

Traditional forms of savings still are among the most popular in the world due to the periodical crises but the concept of saving has changed. World Savings Day or World Thrift Day was established to inform people all around the world about the idea of saving their money in a bank rather than keeping it under their mattress.

Maturity

The organisers of the first World Thrift Day of 1924 very clearly had in mind what it should be about. It was all about saving as an expression of the maturity of both the people and the country. October 31 was declared World Thrift Day at the end of the first International Thrift Congress in 1924 in Milan.

In the resolutions of the Thrift Congress it was decided that 'World Thrift Day' should be a day devoted to the promotion of savings all over the World. In their efforts to promote thrift the savings banks also worked with the support of the schools, the clergy, as well as cultural, sports, professional, and women's associations.

There had been some examples of days that were committed to the idea of saving money to gain a higher standard of life and to secure the economy. In Spain where the first national thrift day was celebrated in 1921 as well as in the United States.

In other countries, such as Germany, the peoples' confidence in savings had to be restored because many people didn't even think of saving since they had lost close to everything in the German monetary reform of 1923.

"Thrift means savings. We have to cultivate the savings habit from the childhood itself. Savings means to reserve for the future commitments or for future investments. The savings habits must be developed in children. One day they will be grown up adults. If they can save some from their pocket money continuously from early days, it will be very useful for them, when they become adults," a senior bank officer said.

"To develop this habit, most of the banks in Sri Lanka have started the Children's Savings accounts and Minor Savings Accounts. Banks are encouraging to save by offering different gift schemes. Present day savings gives a wider meaning.

Whatever, saving should have the ability to easily convert into a liquid money terms.

In good old days, it was the practice to save in the bank accounts which paid the higher interest rates but the present day scenario is different since the interest rates are low we should think about the other method of savings.

Development

"We may save in the skills, knowledge and the education, plant a trees which gives economic price - Vegetables, Teak, Coconut, Sandalwood.

When the savings balance is build up, it must be invested in the shares, gold, land and properties.

Earlier it was the practice to increase the savings rates to cut down the inflation rate.

"Where excess money supply in the market be invested in the bank accounts.

Where these savings are used to invest in the development projects. Since the bank interest rates and the inflation rates have dropped down, we have to think about the other avenues also," he said.

World Thrift Day can be celebrated in various forms. Posters, lectures, brochures, leaflets, press-articles, chorus singing, broadcasting, educational and propaganda films can be done to educate the public on the importance of savings.

The promotion of savings in schools and several savings campaigns could be organised in the schools.

Children should be specially taught about the virtues of "Thrift". Money boxes and savings bank passbooks could be distributed in schools.

In 1928, the WSBI stated that saying was "a virtue and a practice which are essential to the civil progress of each individual, of every nation, and of the whole of humanity!" Correspondingly, the World Savings Banks Congress declared schools the most reliable ally in the field of teaching future customers.

As they put it, thrift education was not only about "the usefulness and necessity of spending their money wisely and of fortifying themselves against the uncertainties and adversities of the future", but also about "opposing and fighting everything which may be an obstacle to the practice of thrift", such as gambling and lottery.

After the Second World War, World Thrift Day continued and reached the peak of its popularity in the years between 1955 and 1970.

It practically became a veritable tradition in certain countries.

In Austria, for instance, the official mascot of saving, the so-called 'Sparefroh' (literally: 'Happy Saver') reached a higher degree of brand awareness than the republic's President and even a street was named after him. In the 1970s the 'Sparefroh-Journal', an educational magazine for younger people, reached a circulation of 400,000 copies.

Campaigns

Nowadays, it can be said that thrift education in developed countries, where most people save money, was a success since there are practically no people that do not yet own a bank account. The field that is now to be played is the developing countries where, in the worst case, the number of saving accounts does not exceed 10 percent.

Savings banks play an important role in enhancing savings in these countries with certain campaigns and initiatives such as working with the Bill and Melinda Gates to double the number of savings accounts held by the poor. An International School teacher said, "The habit of saving should be cultivated in children. It is very important.

We should learn to save before we spend. First we have to save and then spend. Despite the living costs going up we should find ways of saving".

 

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