Today, 31 October is Halloween – that ain’t news to anyone. But did you know that today is also World Savings Day? This day, also known as World Thrift Day, dates back to 1924 when it was established during the 1st International Savings Bank Congress.
I am sure it felt right, on that last day of the ISB Congress, for Italian Professor Filippo Ravizza to excitedly declare that the day should in future be commemorated as an international day promoting savings all over the world. You have to wonder, however, how wise it was to establish this day on the same day already celebrated as Halloween. Let’s see, what shall we do today – go for fancy dress and trick-or-treat, or discuss the value of a thrifty life? Yes, well, no wonder you don’t see too many Savings Day headlines on this day…
Of course the idea promoted by World Savings Day is a very good one – if everyone took a slightly more thrifty approach to life, and opted to save up for something rather than buy it on credit to pay off later, they’d be amazed how much further their money stretched. And the world wouldn’t be in the dire financial state it finds itself in.
The financial repercussions of a consumerist lifestyle, where shops make it very easy and appealing for people to buy now and pay later, rather than living debt free, is still not well understood by many people, and they are all too easily tempted into an ever deepening circle of credit and debt and eventual financial ruin. Understanding the value of saving is a critical life skill, and teaching children from an early age to save money in a savings account, or even just a piggy bank, can have life-long benefits.
So here’s to World Savings Day, the other October 31st holiday. While you may not be able to avoid the costumes and candy on this day, you can still teach the kids some degree of thrift by making homemade candy rather than buying from the shops, and even making a project of creating Halloween costumes from secondhand material. And then, when all the Halloween fun is over, pop all the money not spent on candy and costumes into their piggy banks, or help them deposit it into their savings accounts. Who knows, that might just get the message across.