Stokvels or savings jars? What alternative methods of saving do you use?

Stokvels or savings jars? What alternative methods of saving do you use?

Partying it up in December can leave you broke (and feeling broken) - especially after you've dipped into your savings account. The beginning of the year can be a good time to start saving, but how do you go about doing it?

Savings jar / Justin James
Savings jar / Justin James

Spending is easy, but saving on the other hand... not quite so, especially when it becomes so easy to splurge on the luxuries of life. 

December has come and gone, and most of us have heard in our social circles about how broke people are in "JanuWorry" after splashing out during the festive season. 

While some at the beginning of the year are busy finalising their new year's resolutions, others are busy putting plans together to avoid another "JanuWorry" situation later on in the year. 

READ: Saving for your child's education

But saving is difficult. You have to be diligent about it, religiously ensuring that you stick to your stipulated budget and to not spend the money you set aside to save. Two brilliant non-traditional ways of savings include stokvels or savings jars.


Stokvels or "lotteries", as some call them, are a common saving practice in South Africa. It's basically a rotating saving scheme where 'investors' put away a fixed sum of money, and then enjoy a lump sum in a selected month. Some stokvels allow for money to be earned with interest if placed in a particular account.

"It is estimated that one in every two black adult South Africans is a member of at least one of 800 000 stokvels. Black adult South Africans invest approximately R50 billion in stokvels a year," it is reported.

The different types of stokvels include contribution stokvels, family stokvels, and even borrowing stokvels, which makes it easy to loan money with high interest. The practice has become modernised with the introduction of 'stokvel apps', which allow users to manage their own account and even track withdrawals and deposits in real-time.

We asked Jane what her thoughts are on stokvels: “I love the concept of stokvel. There is something so kind about contributing for the greater good of all involved.”

Saving jars

You may giggle at this, but all that loose change really does add up. The art of saving jars have been around for years - it's basically the piggy bank for adults. It's a good way to throw your spare cash in and watch the jar fill up. 

The good thing about a saving jar is that it's really easy to start - all you need is a jar, and some diligence, of course. Find a safe place you can store the jar away, but accessible enough so you can throw in your extra coins or cash when you can. If you run a small business, or just have a lot of change to spare, this may be the saving solution you've always wanted. 

Usually, individuals choose to save either R5 coins or notes. They either stick to adding to the jar on a set day each week or whenever they can. It is said that: "Watching your collection of greenbacks grow in the jar might be more psychologically stimulating than moving decimal points in an online bank account."

ALSO - Men or women: Who's better at saving money?

Jane opened up to us about her fond memories of saving from a young age. 

“As a kid, I remember being taken to the bank to open my first ever bank account. Remember the BOB card? I loved spending my pocket money and, to be fair, even to this day I think that I should rather have my money kept in a savings account at a bank rather than in my wallet,” she said. 

So, yes, saving can be difficult, but your determination will certainly pay off in the long run - you just need to start today.

Are you a saver? What alternative methods of savings do you use?

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