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Save money like a scout, be thrifty!

In 1896 in Matabeleland region of the then British colony of Southern Rhodesia was a British Chief of Staff to the General Fredrick Carrington during the Second Ndebele war. His name was Lord Robert Smyth Baden Powell, later to be popularly known as Lord Baden Powell or simply BP. To the uninitiated, this man is responsible for founding the Boy Scouting movement in 1908, which has become a world renowned movement of terrific spiritual, moral and physical impact on boys from all different walks of life.

By Adolf Chirimuta

The Boy Scout movement centres around the motto; “Be prepared” and a life-long pledge and promise for one to do their best to do their duty to God and their country, to help others at whatever cost and to uphold  the 12 Boy Scout laws.

As a young boy, I was a member of the 42nd troop of St Theresa Boy Scouts, the laws and promise were my pride and joy. Each of the laws taught me valuable life lessons and principles that I dearly cherish to this day, chief among them being Scouts law number nine; “A scout is thrifty”. According to wiktionary, thrift is defined as being given to, or evincing, thrift; characterised by economy and good management of property; sparing; frugal.

It entails the diligent and minimum use of any and every resource that is at one’s disposal, be it natural or financial resources. This scouts law goes on further to emphasise on one’s ability to earn justly so that they can pay their own way wherever possible, spend prudently, give wisely and save consistently. As with the rest of the movement’ laws, this one emanates from the motto of being prepared and the promise of helping others with one’s resources.

My endeavour is not to give a lesson on the scouting movement but to zero in on the timeless principle of thrift and generation of savings, I believe that this is the first key to the accumulation of wealth as I quote the words of one famous man, Theodore Roosevelt: “If you would be sure that you are beginning right, begin to save.”

As I committed to this principle and immediately desired to put it to work in my life as a boy I began to save my little brown one cent copper coins in a little transparent plastic bag. Some of you might recall the currency denomination I am talking about, it was worth quite a fortune in the mid-1990s and for me as a boy it was worth a whole lot more. The principle of thrift has long been part of my life as I had it indoctrinated at a very tender age. My Scout Master emphasised the need to open a savings bank account and I had my first one when I was just seven years old, “…kiddies bank, kiddies bank club, we’re the kiddy bankers…” so the jingle went.

Some of you might remember the advert, I remember it as if it was yesterday, and I still have the little green bank book to bear eternal testimony. I put this principle to work and it yielded tremendous results for me until of course I got overtaken by inflation. This principle taught me to save and better yet it taught me to be thrifty with all my other resources.

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