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