Handout 31 - Savings Stories


Sara is 19 and lives with relatives. They have given her a place in their home but no money to spend. She pays for her own expenses with her earnings (from plaiting hair, doing laundry, job at grocery store, other), and has managed to save $30. She is very disciplined about saving because she knows that she won’t be able to live with her relatives forever. Her boyfriend, Samuel, is a big dreamer. He tries to convince Sara to give him her savings so he can travel to the north where he has heard there is a lot of opportunity to make money. He is sure that he can make enough money for the two of them to move in to their own place together. She hesitates; she doesn’t trust him and fears losing her only asset. But he is very persuasive and she loves him.


Samuel, age 17, has $40 saved from his job at the grocery store. He is saving to rent a motorbike that he will operate as a taxi. His family needs the money and they support his plan by allowing him to save his wages instead of contributing them to the household expenses. One day he opens his safe box to add his weekly deposit and finds that he only has $25. He is missing $15. He wonders what happened to his money. No one in his family knows anything about the missing money, but his older sister is not at home at the time. When she returns, she is wearing new jeans. She smiles broadly when people compliment her new jeans, but she will not look her brother in the eye.


Marie is 16 and lives with her parents and younger brother and sister. She earns a little money helping out at her aunt’s market stall on Saturdays. Her dream is to attend a computer skills training course. She figures she needs to save her earnings for one year to have enough for the course registration and materials. Her father likes to play cards; when he wins, he likes to show off his success by giving the kids a little extra lunch money. When he loses, they can’t cover all of their expenses. Marie’s mother wants to prepare a special birthday meal for Marie’s little brother, but Marie’s mother is short on cash and knows that Marie has her savings in the house. She orders Marie to give her $10, which is almost half of her savings. Marie’s parents both believe that finances should be controlled by adults who are in the best position to balance the needs of everyone in the family.


Ricky is 18 and lucky enough to work with his older brother in his wholesale grain business. Although the work is seasonal, it does give him some income, especially at harvest time when they go on buying trips to farmers in many locations. Ricky is able to save some money from this income. When he is not working, Ricky hangs out with his friends in town. Two of them know where to buy stolen goods (watches, MP3 players, etc.) that they can sell on the street. With no work and no income, these guys see this as a good opportunity. They need money to buy the goods and try to convince Ricky to join them as he is the only person with any money saved. His friends say that in exchange for his investment, they will do all the selling, and thus take the risk of getting caught. To Ricky, it seems like easy money; but then again, his savings are the only money he has until his brother needs him again in a few months from now.
What if he loses it all?