Despite trying economic times, savings clubs and stokvels continue to be popular with more people making use of them to set aside money for future expenses than four years ago.
The tough times are, however, evident in the reduction in amounts contributed by to stokvels by some higher-income households.
This is according to the latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor which was released this week showing that 61% of black households in South Africa are using these informal savings schemes, compared with 45% in 2014.
There is increasing membership across all income groups and ages, but the increase in stokvel membership is particularly marked among higher income households.
The vast majority of stokvel members (74%) describe their stokvel as a traditional rotating stokvel in which each member gets a turn to receive a lump sum from the contributions made at least once in the lifetime of the stokvel which is typically six months or a year, according to the monitor.
Only one in three stokvel members belong to an investment club, the survey found. Contributions to investment clubs usually take place monthly and the capital raised is used to fund an investment held over a longer period and which potentially earns members inflation-beating returns.
The average monthly (or equivalent) amount contributed to a stokvel or savings club is R711. However, the amounts contributed climb sharply as the household income increases. Households earning less than R6 000 a month contribute on average R372 each month while households earning R40 000 or more a month contribute on average R1 128 each month.