What Is A Susu (AKA SouSou) And How Does It Work?

What is a susu

What is a Susu and should you try it to help you build your savings account? Well, the journey of building and improving your savings can feel like a solo mission at times. Also, it can be difficult to strive to meet the goals you’ve set for yourself all on your own.

The process of saving can get tedious and sometimes calls for a new approach. Are you struggling to save the traditional way? If you’re looking for a better approach to reach your savings goals or need more accountability as you save, Susu savings is an option to explore.

But exactly what is a Susu and how do you start one? In this article, you will learn what is Susu, how they originated, and how to start one!

What is a Susu?

So, what is Susu? A Susu (AKA Sou-Sou or su-su) is a community-style savings practice. A group of people help each other achieve their savings goals by pooling their money together.

A popular savings practice in African, Caribbean and even some Asian cultures, a Susu encourages friends and family to build wealth together.

Each member contributes an equal amount of money at a set period of time. Then they receive the lump sum of every contribution at least once. As one of the oldest types of savings clubs, the Susu savings approach helps fund each person’s financial goals over time.   

The history of Susu

This may be a new term to you, however, Susu is not new or uncommon in many different cultures. Originating from West Africa, the practice of it derives from the Yoruba term “esusu".

Esusu details traditional forms of community contributions in African societies, where family and friends get together to contribute to one savings to accomplish the goals of each member of the group.

Often called by many names including Sou-Sou, asue, and su-su, Susu is practiced by many different cultures. In fact, the Caribbean, African and Asian countries around the world have practiced this savings approach.

Its practice was born out of the lack of access to traditional banks and savings accounts in many countries. Susu is a tradition many cultures still take part in. It fosters a sense of community-building, discipline, and accountability.

How does a Susu savings work?

A Susu is a rotational savings practice where a group of family members or friends contribute an equal amount of money, popularly known as a “hand,” on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis for a set of time.

So, one member of the group will get to collect the full lump sum each time until everyone gets their turn to disperse, known as a “draw'". The terms of the amount of each contribution, the length of time, and the schedule for who gets to disperse when is agreed on as a group.

For example, let's say a family of five starts a Susu, where each week for five weeks, each member of the family contributes $100. Each week, one family member collects the full $500, while every person puts in $100 again until the fifth and last week. Everyone contributes equally and gets the full amount once.

The pros and cons of a Susu savings

So, just like most things, there are a couple of pros and cons to this savings approach. Let's start with the benefits:

Pros of a Susu savings

A Susu is a savings approach that helps promote accountability in your savings journey. Being a part of a trusted group of people contributing to your goal helps you to practice saving while also helping others.

It brings communities together to promote savings and build wealth. The whole group benefits from contributing at the same time towards each other’s individual goals.

Cons of a Susu savings

Even though the practice of a Susu can help build towards saving for your financial goals in a practical, hands-on way, this savings method requires trust in the group and clear expectations for it to successfully work for everyone.

The group you choose is key to a successful Susu; being able to trust that each member will continue to contribute towards saving is the key factor.

Also, being a part of a Susu requires patience; each member of the group has to wait their turn. So, the cons are having to find trustworthy members and also having the patience to receive your funds.

How to make a Susu savings approach work for you

The practice of Susu is a traditional community savings approach that continues to work for many today. So, you can decide if a Susu savings is right for you with a few tips on how to make the system work:

1. Evaluate your saving goal and a timeline that works for you

Before deciding to join a Susu, decide what savings timeline you are comfortable with and the goal you’re looking to achieve. A Susu is a great way to save a good amount of money in a set amount of time in a supportive group.

Also, having a plan and evaluating the right timeline for you can help determine if the Susu savings approach is right for you.

2. Gather a supportive, trusting group to begin one

A Susu is only as successful and reliable as its group. Be mindful of who you choose to be a part of one. A traditional Susu typically includes close family or friends who you trust but can be made up of whomever you decide.

Ensure that you assemble a group you can trust to contribute regularly. If you are looking to join one, make sure the members of the group are reliable, supportive, and trusting.

3. Decide together on a contribution amount and timeline

The group would need to decide together the details of the Susu. The amount each person will contribute and how often everyone will contribute will need to be agreed on.

The group would need to pinpoint who would be the person in charge of collecting and distributing the money according to the schedule. Every decision about the Susu should be collaborative.

4. Stick to the Susu and your savings goal

A Susu is a commitment to yourself and others to save as a team for everyone’s benefit. Stick to the savings practice by contributing each time and on time for the full length of the Susu.

Remember your overall saving goal and your “why". Is it to pay off a small amount of debt, or to help build your emergency savings fund? This will help you continue to focus and save efficiently.

Give a Susu savings a try!

Now that you know "What is a Susu?" you can decide if it's the right method for you! A Susu savings approach is a great way to save and encourage others to save as a collective to reach your financial goals and help others do the same.

It promotes community wealth building and a savings approach that advances everyone in the group.

Each person contributes equally and receives an equal payment of the full savings to put towards their financial goals. Practice better savings by making a Susu savings approach work for you.

Scroll to Top