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In hard times, Sidon's residents turn to collective saving schemes.

Summary: SIDON: A penny saved is a penny earned is an old saying repeated by many of Sidon's elderly residents. However, and with the rising cost of living, the proverb has started to catch on with many of the youth in the southern coastal city.Sidon's Lebanese and Palestinian residents are realizing more and more the importance of tightening their belts

SIDON: A penny saved is a penny earned is an old saying repeated by many of Sidon's elderly residents.

However, and with the rising cost of living, the proverb has started to catch on with many of the youth in the southern coastal city.

Sidon's Lebanese and Palestinian residents are realizing more and more the importance of tightening their belts and are making use of several methods to do just that.

The most traditional of these methods is to save with the help of a piggy bank.

However, a more collective saving technique is to save through an organization. The organization is formed of three to 10 people, and each month one person receives the savings. The organization operates on a rotational basis, but gives priority to emergency cases.

Othman, Ahmad, Naji and Ibrahim are part of such an organization and they all work as car washers.

They raised LL120,000 this October and intend to give the sum to Naji, as an exception, because his wife has recently given birth.

"He needs the money more," says Othman. "We have been doing this for four years and each member of the organization pays LL1,000 a day."

Another money-saving organization is that of the Sidon carpenters. However, some of its members are said to only join in the aim of enjoying New Year's Eve, when the collected money is used to hold a party.

Issam Baydoun doesn't agree with the practice, saying "some people have families and more important engagements."

Some locals are trying to kill two birds with one stone by joining the organization. A number of workers who gave up smoking a while back place the money that they would have spent on cigarettes in the organization's piggy bank.

Nabil Salameh explains that each member of the group dedicates LL5,000 to the organization, which adds up to almost LL4 million a year.

No interest rates are demanded at these money-saving organizations, and some students have even joined the activity.

Mohammad Mousawi is one of these students. "We try not to spend the money our parents give us and we only go out to eat once a month," he says.

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Article Details
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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Nov 10, 2010
Words:439
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