Saving money or taking loans might be common practices for us but they are also distinctly unexciting. In fact, there’s not much about finance that is noteworthy at all. In other places around the world, however, dealing with money has given rise to a range of interesting and unique practices. This infographic from Budget Direct illustrates and explores just some of these.
Like how in Kenya, Harambee (meaning “pull together”) sees communities who can’t normally get access to credit come together to pool their resources. This money is then used to invest in community projects like wells or school buildings or to provide capital for community start-ups.
It is the same sense of community that underpins Susu, which is practiced in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. It is common for groups to have monthly rounds where everyone contributes an amount of money to a pot and one person receives it all. This allows people to manage big-ticket expenses such as a new car or medical treatment. The rounds continue until everyone has received the pot and thus all the money has been paid back.
Money can also be used to teach valuable lessons, like in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries, where Zakat is practiced. This is one of the core tenets of Islam, whereby 2.5% of everyone’s wealth is given as charitable donations. This is to teach the value of humility and give recognition to those less fortunate.
In the US the system of giving kids an allowance is also about learning life lessons. By doing their chores to get their allowance and saving up their money for things they want, children learn about work and reward and the importance of financial prudence. If they spend everything they get on candy, then they’ll never be able to get that video game they want!
Though it mightn’t always seem like a conversation-worthy subject, money may be more interesting than you might think. How different cultures have adapted to their needs or used it to teach other lessons shows that even cash can have deeper cultural value.