Saving Pennies – Hoarding for Rich People

A penny saved is twice gained.

It is as useful to save money that you already have as it is to earn more. Granted this saying came about when materialism meant reusing objects, and not our current wasteful hoarding consumerism. The original form of this proverb used ‘got’ or ‘gained’ instead of ‘earned’. That is recorded as early as the 17th century, in George Herbert’s Outlandish Proverbs, circa 1633:

“A penny spar’d is twice got.”

Thomas Fuller’s, The History of the Worthies of England, circa 1661: “By the same proportion that a penny saved is a penny gained, the preserver of books is a Mate for the Compiler of them.” A book saved, is worth 2 books. Poor people can hoard as much rich people, but perhaps poor people hoard more economically worthless junk; even when there is intellectual wealth.

Enter our famous founding father, Ben Franklin.

“A penny saved is two-pence dear.”

– Poor Richard (Ben Franklin) circa 1750s

It was not until the 1800s, that we see the phrase worded as we commonly hear now, often attributed to Franklin.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Pall Mall Magazine, Sept. 1899


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