Would You Start a Savings Club?

This ideology, while not perfect, is reasonable

As you know, I'm all about savings. The kind where you focus on short-term, the kind where you focus on long-term, and even the kind where you have no focus at all.But this time, oh this time, I found a kind of savings no one even (okay, obviously some people do) knew existed.

I've got your attention, don't I? *grabs your head and forces you to continue reading*

The other day, I watched a documentary called “Living on One Dollar”. The film, which is about 4 people who travel to a small village in Guatemala to experience their lifestyle first-hand, had me tearing up most every 10 minutes.

(Yes, it’s on Netflix, meaning you should watch)

The 4 men’s decision was to live on just $1 a day, to try to understand how we can better support those living in poverty, with financial success.

To simulate a more realistic money situation, the four men would draw a dollar amount ranking $0 through $9 each day. The roller coaster income was somewhat manageable, until the week they drew $0, $1, $0, $1. They were fearful they may not be able to pay their daily expenses, let alone their loan payment that was due the next day.

It was a reality too common for many others living in the village – who at times have to choose whether to send their children to school, or to feed them.

It was hard to watch – the struggle to afford nutritional meals, the amount healthcare costs when one is sick, the battle to start a business or gain an education.

The documentary provided a great insight into how grateful we should be for what we have.

However, I’m not writing this blog post to chat about the documentary as a whole, but rather one part of the film that caught my attention in a big way (besides my dire need to go to Guatemala and be a better person).

It was the scene in which one local man spoke about him and his friends' "savings club".

What’s a “savings club” you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple.

Within this savings club, 12 friends agreed that they would individually (as a group) save a total of $12 each month. At month-end, they would pool together their savings and have collected $144. That money would then be dispersed at random to one member of the group to use that amount. They were free to spend the money towards a stove, wedding, or whatever else they may need.

That’s it. I mean, it's described as simply as that.

I was blown away. I mean, a savings club to avoid taking out a loan? Ingenious.

The idea got me thinking immediately. For hours. Could something like a savings club be used in our society? Would it hold the same effect?

I immediately imagined starting a savings club with 11 of my closest friends (you know, because I obviously have 11 close friends). Each month, we would contribute an amount that would realistically help us reach a financial goal sooner than normal.

$1000 saved each, totaling $12000, then afforded to one person each month to put towards:

  • Debt repayment (student loans, credit card bills, mortgage) or,

  • A large savings goal (wedding, travel, start-up fund) or,

  • Investments *she winks and shimmies*

This “savings club” could avoid monthly payment traps, high interest costs, and ultimately – the stress of having to wait and save for something that you need sooner rather than later.

Is it crazy?

Maybe. I mean, you’re primarily relying on the trust that your friends would contribute this money every month. You are trusting that they will be patient in receiving their money at random. This ideology, while not perfect, is reasonable.

You are not losing any money, you are only gaining time.

The other thing I took away from “Living on One Dollar” is that if someone living in poverty can manage to save $12 each month towards a common goal, why can’t we? Why can’t some of us put aside a small amount – to make a huge difference in our finances?

Would you ever consider joining or starting a savings club? Let me know in the comments!