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As Poor Richard says, gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live expense is constant and certain; and “'tis easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel,” as Poor Richard says; so, “ rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt."
“Get what you can, and what you get hold;
as Poor Richard says; and when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure, you will no longer complain of bad times or the difficulty of paying taxes.
This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry and frugality and prudence, though excellent things, for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember Job suffered and was afterward prosperous.
And now, to conclude, “experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that;" for it is true, " we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct," as Poor Richard says. However, remember this : “they that won't be counseled can't be helped,” as Poor Richard says; and further, that " if you will not hear reason she'll surely rap your knuckles."
Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it and approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon. For the vendue opened and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions and their own fear of taxes. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my almanacs and digested all I had dropped on those topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it, and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,
* The philosopher's stone, so called, a mineral having the power of turning base metals into gold.
PLAN FOR SAVING ONE HUNDRED THOU.
FROM “ Poor RICHARD'S ALMANAC" 1756.
As I spent some weeks last winter in visiting my old acquaintance in the Jerseys, great complaints I heard for want of money, and that leave to make more paper bills could not be obtained. Friends and countrymen, my advice on this head shall cost you nothing; and if you will not be angry with me for giving it, I promise you not to be offended if you do not take it.
You spend yearly at least two hundred thousand pounds, it is said, in European, East Indian, and West Indian commodities. Suppose one-half of this expense to be in things absolutely necessary, the other half may be called superfluities, or, at best, conveniences, which, however, you might live without for one little year and not suffer exceedingly. Now, to save this half observe these few directions :
1. When you incline to have new clothes, look first well over the old ones and see if you cannot shift with them another year, either by scouring, mending, or even patching if necessary. Remember, a patch on your coat and money in your pocket is better and more creditable than a writ on your back and no money to take it off.
2. When you are inclined to buy chinaware, chintzes,
India silks, or any other of their flimsy, slight manufactures, I would not be so bad with you as to insist on your absolutely resolving against it; all I advise is to put it off (as you do your repentance) till another year, and this, in some respects, may prevent an occasion of repentance.
3. If you are now a drinker of punch, wine, or tea twice a day, for the ensuing year drink them but once a day. If you now drink them but once a day, do it but every other day. If you do it now but once a week, reduce the practice to once a fortnight. And if you do not exceed in quantity as you lessen the times, half your expense in these articles will be saved.
4. When you incline to drink rum, fill the glass half with water.
Thus at the year's end there will be a hundred thousand pounds more money in your country.
If paper money in ever so great a quantity could be made, no man could get any of it without giving something for it. But all he saves in this way will be his own for nothing and his country actually so much richer. Then the merchants' old and doubtful debts may be honestly paid off, and trading becomes surer thereafter, if not so extensive.
NECESSARY HINTS TO THOSE THAI
WOULD BE RICH.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1736.
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.
For six pounds a year you may have the use of one hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known prudence and honesty.
He that spends a groat a day idly spends idly above six pounds a year, which is the price for the use of one hundred pounds.
He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with another, wastes the privilege of using one hundred pounds each day.
He that idly loses five shillings' worth of time loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea.
He that loses five shillings not only loses that sum, but all the advantage that might be made by turning it in dealing, which by the time that a young man becomes old will amount to a considerable sum of money.
Again : he that sells upon credit asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it; therefore he that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys, and he that pays ready money