How to save around the world: We share money tips billions swear by

Money is said to make the world go around. 

And all over the globe you’ll find a fascinating mix of theories on how best to manage your cash.

From ‘kitty parties’ hosted by Indian housewives to mindful budgeting in Japan, here Money Mail explains the different money-management methods millions swear by…

Thrifty planet: All over the globe you'll find a fascinating mix of theories on how best to manage your cash

Thrifty planet: All over the globe you'll find a fascinating mix of theories on how best to manage your cash

Thrifty planet: All over the globe you’ll find a fascinating mix of theories on how best to manage your cash


Pronounced ‘kah-keh-boh’, this Japanese word is usually translated as ‘household financial ledger’ and is all about budgeting.

In 1904 Japan’s first female journalist Hani Motoko developed the method to help women running the family finances.

You split your outgoings into four ‘pillars’ or categories — survival (mortgage, rent, groceries), optional (takeaways and new clothes you want but don’t need), culture (TV subscriptions and days out), extras (birthday presents or unexpected costs such as car repairs).

You also ask yourself a series of questions including: ‘How much money do I have?’ ‘How much money would I like to save?’ ‘How much am I actually spending? and ‘How can I improve on that?’ Then at the end of the month you reflect on your answers.

The idea is to encourage people to slow down and be more mindful of their spending, and then make cut backs where needed.

Sou-Sou savings

These informal savings clubs exist all around the world but are particularly popular in parts of Africa and the Caribbean.

Friends and family form a group and contribute an equal amount of money to a central pot each week or month, and then take it in turns to receive a payout.

Some groups pick names out of a hat or make payments based on when members need the money.

The idea is to help people save up for large expenses such as new cars, school fees, weddings, house deposits and home repairs. Everyone gets back what they paid in — but will not earn any interest.

So if ten members contributed £100 a month for ten months, each would receive one £1,000 payout in one month during that period.

A treasurer is elected to manage the money. But the clubs are based on trust and not regulated.

These clubs are also known as a ‘pardner’ in Jamaica, ‘box hand’ in Guyana and ‘tandas’ in Latin American communities. Collectively they are referred to as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs).

Kitty parties

Popular among middle-class Indian and Pakistani housewives, kitty parties are similar to savings clubs but there is an important social aspect as well.

Family members, friends and neighbours form groups of 15 to 20 people and take it in turns to host a party — usually in the afternoon — once a month.

Each member contributes a set sum of money at each party, say £50, and one person, usually the host, receives the whole sum.

Food is central, often with each person bringing a dish. Sometimes there are games.

Once members commit, they must attend each party or they may be charged a penalty.

These parties, which were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, offered support to women and helped them take control of their finances.

Today some groups meet in local parks or restaurants, or via video call during lockdowns.

Some wealthier groups have even been known to fly to Europe for two-day luncheons.

Moderate money 

The Swedish concept of lagom is to live in moderation.

The word translates as ‘not too much, not too little’, or ‘just right’, and the idea is that we all have a responsibility not to overindulge to ensure there is plenty to go around for everyone. 

Embracing the lagom lifestyle could involve reusing or recycling old items, growing your own vegetables or herbs and buying second hand instead of lusting after the latest releases.

It could also include giving up costly habits, such as daily coffees or Friday night takeaways, and only having them as a treat.

As well as saving you money, enthusiasts say that by living ‘just right’ you will feel balanced and calmer.

Wealth worship

In many Chinese communities, thousands flock to temples on the fifth day of the lunar new year to pray to Caishen, the Taoist God of wealth, for prosperity.

Buddhism teaches that those born rich could be experiencing good karma.

And if you are kind and generous in this life you could be wealthy in the next.

In Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art and science of designing harmonious environments, wealth is a staple element.

The classic philosophy puts the money corner in the south east of your home or work space. To attract good fortune place symbolic objects here such as anything water related, such as a well-maintained aquarium or fountain (with water flowing in an infinite loop towards your home).

Wood is also associated with wealth, so include it in art or greenery, as are certain colours such as gold and purple.

The area should be kept clear and uncluttered and you can add certain crystals for prosperity, such as citrine and pyrite, to your wealth corner.

Feng Shui also has its own trio of money gods, Fuk, Luk, and Sau which are said to bring wealth, health and longevity.

In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth. Those born in the year of the pig, according to the Chinese zodiac, are said to be blessed with overall good fortune.

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