Sheryl Lopez and friends with their #IponChallenge cans with the ‘save and shade’ template printed on them. Savers shade the box corresponding to the money they’re putting in the can. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Struggling to save? Some Filipinos in the UAE who have embarked on a saving challenge may inspire you.

The #IponChallenge (Ipon is savings in Tagalog) is becoming increasingly popular among UAE residents, especially Filipinos. The challenge made the rounds in social media in the Philippines and many took it in the beginning of the year.

The short-term savings scheme is motivating and fun for those who have yet to develop a savings habit, users say.

Users gave a twist to the old-school piggy bank method and used a “save and shade” template printed on a tin can. Through this, savers shade the box corresponding to the money they’re putting in the can as they hit their target.

Users can save as much as Dh53,000 or choose the target amount they want on the can.

Dada Mejia, a customer service representative, said she took the challenge to increase her savings. But the scheme fired up her entire office by surprise.

“A colleague was leaving the company so I gave the coin bank as a parting gift. My colleagues saw it and around 20 of them took the challenge and got their own coin banks. Even their family members ordered as well,” Mejia, who works in a logistics firm, told Gulf News.

Mejia said she and her colleagues update each other about their progress. The challenge works both ways: to beat others in saving the most money in the fastest way or to challenge oneself to start saving.

“It’s a form of forced savings. I allot a certain amount for savings every month and drop it in the can so I won’t be tempted to go shopping when there’s a sale in the mall.”

Sheryl Lopez, who sold the coin bank to Mejia, said people of other nationalities have also taken part. She has sold more than 60 cans, more than a dozen of it went to members of her church.

Lopez said the scheme encourages a change in a person’s behaviour. She herself is using the coin bank to save for her house renovation.

“On the can, you have to write your name, purpose for saving and date. This motivates the user to have a target and a time frame.”

Lala Sapla, who also distributes coin banks among friends, said she does it to help her compatriots.

“I got the idea from Peso Sense. I thought it would inspire our compatriots to save since many of us often prioritise our families and forget about saving for our future,” Sapla, who’s halfway through the challenge, said.

For Geraldine Serinas who started the challenge two weeks ago, the enthusiasm people have for #IponChallenge is contagious.

“My husband coaxed me into doing it. I’m already investing in stocks and we have a small business in the Philippines. But all of us have loose change that end up wasted or lost if not saved,” she said.

Sherry Panganiban, who started the challenge on Sunday, said the challenge promotes intentionality.

“This simple tool gives a boost to my savings. It’s helpful because you have a goal. It’s a baby step for those who haven’t started saving yet. It makes the task manageable, easy and fun,” said Panganiban who saves 50 per cent of her income.

How does the scheme work

The ‘save and shade’ method gives users the option to save according to the denomination of their choice: Dh1, Dh5, Dh10, until Dh1,000. Users may shade the corresponding amount after dropping the money in the can or jar.

If you don’t have a tin can, you can also save using a glass jar, print your own ‘save and shade’ template and stick it on the jar.