Financial Resilience Stories

All over the world, people build financial resilience in diverse ways.

Brixton Mint is collecting stories about how ordinary people manage their money - even if they don't have much.

Here are some of the stories we've heard.

Do you have a story yourself? Or do you have more to tell us about one of the stories here?

Tell us about it and we can put it on this page.


~~ Jamaica ~~

The Ben Johnson cupboard was a cupboard or a safe kept by Alayah’s mum. Alayah is a Jamaican and according to her, anytime her mum sends her to buy dry foodstuff like pasta for example, the mum will give her the money for the pasta and an additional money for one more pasta. That extra pasta gets thrown into the cupboard popularly known as Ben Johnson’s cupboard.  So the Ben Johnson cupboard was visited during occasions that there was no food or money at home to feed.

 About Ben Johnson

According to Jamaicans, Ben Johnson was an overseer for a plantation in the early 1990’s and was responsible for providing the farmhands with their wages. In most cases, their wages were pittances and barely enough to cover their living expenses for the week. As a result, many were broke before they received their next paycheck. However, they took comfort in the fact that they would get paid on Thursday Night, when Mr. Ben Johnson brought money to pay them their wages. Hence, the day in which they received their wages was Ben Johnson day.

The story goes on to say that when referring to the state of their financial affairs, those who were broke – but expected that to change soon would say “ This is Ben Johnson Day”, which means that there was no money available, and little food- if any; but, that would soon change as money was forthcoming. Therefore the BenJohnson cupboard is a symbol of hope and survival.


~~ Brixton, UK ~~

Anna uses a sealed tin money box which she describes as massive. She does her shopping using cash to control  her spending. According to Anna, each time she receives change from her shopping and it is a £2 coin, she throws it into her money box. In a good week Anna says she is able to throw in coins worth £12.

When the box is full she opens it with a tin cutter and takes it to the bank. She usually saves between £1500-£1600.


~~Brixton,  UK~~

A few of us put our monies together like the way credit unions are run and we encouraged our young ones to join. I think we need credit unions back in Lambeth and we should encourage our young ones to join instead of using their money to buy Nikes and designer wear.


~~ Ghana ~~

Ebenezer is a final year University student in Ghana. He is unemployed and responsible for his upkeep using the student loans he receives at the beginning of every semester. He calculates how much he spends on a day on either lunch or dinner for the whole semester and pays the bulk amount of money to the owner of the café in his University. In this way Ebenezer is assured of his lunch or dinner throughout the semester.


For the Cafe owner this provides money up front which she can use as capital, so she doesn't have to pay interest on a loan. she can buy what she needs now.

In return, the student also gets special treatment - perhaps a little bit more on his plate than a normal customer - two pieces of chicken!



My mum has seven good friends so together they make a group of eight friends. When any of the members is bereaved or has a big occasion to plan like a wedding etc, the friends come together and  contribute money to support the occasion. This means the burden of  an event is not borne by one person but is  supported by the entire group.


~~Brixton, UK~~

We are a group of friends who have a friendship club. We started by  fundraising to kick off. Now we have a savings club where individual menbers contribute monthly. Members can borrow money with a small fee.


~~London, UK~~

We are three brothers in London, and we started saving £30 a month last year. The savings came in really handy when we had to pay for our mum’s 80th birthday party. It was a great relief. Since then we have increased the amount to £50 a month to pay for any family emergency.



Nana sells fried fish three times a week in a big and busy market in Ghana. She has four labelled tin boxes for Fish, Oil, Gas and Equipment.  Anytime she comes from the market, she puts the amount she spent on each of the items in the labelled tin boxes. In this way she always has money for her main ingredients and is able to replace her equipment.