Small savings help in big way

For the thousands who do not get a Deepavali bonus at their workplace, the habit of saving comes to their aid during the festival.

They save small sums of money the year round to buy firecrackers, sweets, gold, silver, groceries and, sometimes, even alcohol, in what is popularly called the ‘Deepavali fund’.

Many of those who invest in such schemes are daily-wage labourers and domestic help who cannot spend a large sum of money in one go during the festival.

Ennore resident Vanitha J. Desappan, whose husband is a fisherman, saved Rs. 300 every month and bought almost two months’ worth of groceries. “Earlier, I used to save up to buy firecrackers. But this fund seems better as I can save on a month’s groceries. I got 20 items, including a 25 kg bag of rice,” she said.

Most Deepavali funds or ‘chits’ are for firecrackers, sweets and savouries. So much so that, according to firecracker manufacturers, around 70 per cent of their business is through fund investors. “Two months before Deepavali, we place orders with manufacturers in Sivakasi. The money we collect is lent out and the interest is our profit,” said a resident of north Chennai who runs a Deepavali fund.

S. Purushothaman, a civic body employee, said he deposited Rs. 1,000 every month in a similar fund.

Two days ago, he received several articles, including a 4-gram gold coin, a silver lamp and a one-kg packet of biriyani rice.

“Since my friends invested in the fund, which was managed by a colleague, I too decided to do the same. We were also given the option to deposit the money in a bank account,” he said.

But sometimes, there is a catch. It is estimated that 5 per cent of such funds go bad as the collectors are unable to return the investment, thus robbing many of their hard-earned money.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 12:33:05 AM |

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