“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”

“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”

I love this famous idiom by Benjamin Franklin because it sums up my new “job” in our household.  I am no longer helping to earn a living to add to the family budget but instead have been left the responsibility of “saving” a living.  Every penny not spent is another penny that is added to a savings account to be used for a greater purpose.

This week I was fortunate enough to snag a free Kindle book from Amazon titled “The American Frugal Housewife” by Lydia Maria Francis Child published in 1832.  Wow, how the world has changed when it comes to viewing a frugal home!  I haven’t had a lot of free time to read the entire book, but what I have devoured has really been eye-opening to say the least.  I love her opinion of what economy really is!

In early childhood, you lay the foundation of poverty or riches, in the habits you give your children.  Teach them to save everything, – not for their own use, for that would make them selfish – but for some use.

Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish.  This is true of avarice; but it is not so of economy.  The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous.  He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise, – he obeys a sudden impulse, more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does maybe doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain.  True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence; and where they are united respectability, prosperity and peace will follow. (pp. 136, 149)

Why are we in the process of trying to sell our nice, comfortable home and move out to 20-acres of nothingness?  Why are we cleaning out closets, cabinets, shelves etc. and selling as much as possible?  Why are we investing our time and energy in researching alternative water, electric, heating and cooling elements for the home we are in the process of building ourselves on that plot of nothingness?  The list goes on and on with questions the public might ask when they see the lifestyle the Tim Kinnard family has adopted.  The answer is this – we are doing all these things so we can live debt free therefore freeing our resources to then help those around us to the best of our ability and along the way teach our children the value of hard work and the joy of giving.

Book Description

“The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.”

Comments (2)

  • Lindsey Reply

    I just started reading that the other day, and I was surprised at how little has really changed since the 1830’s. Her advice is still relevant, and the people she used as her examples, were just the same as people today!

    May 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm
    • amykinnard Reply

      I know! Of course some of it had me laughing out loud like the part where she says, “Don’t be wasteful and only purchase vinegar by the gallon. Purchase it buy the barrel or at least by the half barrel.” Hahaha!

      May 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm

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