World Savings Day – today’s other holiday

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…

Changing from ‘financial fate’ to ‘financial fortune’ can be as simple as switching from a credit to a debit account.
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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.

Having fun without breaking the bank on Frugal Fun Day

Following hot on the heels of World Smile Day comes Frugal Fun Day, celebrated on the first Saturday of October. As far as I could ascertain, Frugal Fun Day – a day to engage in fun activities that are either free or very inexpensive – is the brainchild of Seth Horowitz, author of “The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty With a Peasant’s Pocketbook.”

The idea of the day is to try and come up with original, imaginative ways to have fun without breaking the bank. Build your own kite and try to fly it. Pitch a tent in the garden and ‘go camping’ for the night. Go play in a sand-pit (or better still, the beach, if you’re lucky enough to live near the sea). Lose yourself in a good book from the library or bought at a secondhand shop. Hold a family concert. Visit museums and art galleries in your region. Go support a school sports event, even if your kid isn’t playing. Use the power of social media and arrange a flash mob.

Want some frugal fun? Invent a new game or sport! Uhm, anyone up for some beach ballet?
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If you strongly feel you want to spend your time more constructively, you can have your frugal fun by helping others. Find out about volunteering opportunities and activities in your region and get involved. Few things leave a more lasting good feeling than doing good to others.

If you let your imagination run free, the possibilities are endless – I am sure you can think of many more exciting things to do than I’ve come up with.

Focussing our creative energies on simple, constructive fun is a great way to get away from the stresses of modern life – you probably need less than an hour watching the news of the world to be convinced just how much we all need it. And focussing specifically on the cheap and free side of things is a good reminder that money is not always a prerequisite for enjoying ourselves.

So the challenge is yours – any suggestions?