Approximately, more than 30 million people in 45 countries organize themselves in economic solidary groups.
With the financial crisis hitting Europe, many groups, especially in Spain, have started to save and support each other with the methodology of savings groups.
Group members are individuals living on low income or on social benefits, students, freelancers with fluctuating incomes, and migrants and newcomers without access to credits or bank loans.
There is also a growing number of people with a steady and good income who are looking for alternatives to save and invest in a more meaningful and independent way.
In the best case group members know each other beforehand – they are friends, acquaintances, members of a sports club, neighbours, colleagues or family. We also support you in getting together the right people. Furthermore, we have experienced that groups in wich host community members and newcomers join are very impactful and enriching.
The principle is very simple. There are some rules, agreements and an online management tool that simplifies tracking your savings and money movements.
Your group can decide how much assistance and advice you want and need from us. Upon request we explain the concept, answer questions or mentor your group from the beginning until you feel confident enough to do it by yourself.
If you prefer to try it on your own – just go for it! All tools and materials are free sources. Nevertheless we would be happy to hear sooner or later that your group existst – to be able to see the developments of the idea.
All group actions happen at the regular meeting where everyone needs to attend. The meetings should be held at least once a month.
All group members can decide individually and from meeting to meeting how much they want to put into the saving box.
Every member can bring forward their loan wishes. The maximum loan for each member is 4 times of his savings in the box. The group discusses the request openly, can voice approval or concern, offer ideas and advise.
Taking a loan
If the group agrees, the credit will be granted and disbursed.
Repaying a loan
Members with active loans will pay their monthly repayment rates. Interest may be charged according to the group’s rules.
Any transaction will be documented in a paper journal or in the online group-managing tool WINKOMUN NUMBERS.
Are you unhappy with your savings? Do you avoid asking for money from friends or family because you are afraid it will negatively influence your relationships? Do you sometimes pay more or lose money because you don’t have the needed amount at the right time? Do you let others control you money because it’s just too complicated and scary to do it yourself?
Savings groups can be a real alternative – an alternative to financial instability, limited leeway or to slumbering money in a bank account. Savings groups are a chance to empower yourself to reach an aspired economic and social level.
As a member of a savings group you are not alone in times of financial difficulties, you have your peers to support you. Talking about money is not a taboo and saving becomes easier and more enjoyable.
- empower people in financially precarious situations
- help people develop a habit of saving
- prevent people from piling up debts and sliding into desperate financial situations
- enable people to act independently and foster sustainable decisions at the right moment
- strengthen a new culture of sharing, exchanging ideas and of mutually supporting and consulting each other in decision making
- bring solidarity and trust to the world
No savings group without its rules! A clear set of instructions helps you to ensure that all members of the group share the same expectations and that everyone feels safe and assured within the group.
Here we provide you with a basic set of rules, which have proven to be effective. Use this document as a starting point for the discussion in your first group meeting and find your own rules. Many issues are negotiable!
Any questions left? Soon you’ll find some FAQs here – until then just send us an email.
As a savings group you have access to our materials and tools, which will help you manage your group. We have them in German, English, Spanish and Arabic. If you speak other languages in your group and you are able to translate, please contact us! We will be happy to support you wherever we can.
NUMBERS is an online tool, which was developed by the Spanish organization ACAF. It makes the organization of your Savings Group as easy as a walk in the park. To use it you need to register as a starter and create your group. Then you can sign in into NUMBERS. Here you can enter all activities such as deposits, disbursements, repayments, members attending and so on.Winkomun/Numbers